The European Parliament may be about to ask Barroso to reconsider one of the Commissioners-Designate. The Designate in question is the Bulgarian nominee, an EPP candidate from Bulgaria called Rumiana Jeleva. Her portfolio was to be International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response. Mrs. Jeleva went in front of the Development Committee yesterday and was asked a series of very difficult questions about her declaration of interests. The accusation levelled at her was that in her previous work as a Member of the European Parliament she had failed to declare that she was registered as the manager of a trading company called Global Consult. Mrs. Jeleva flatly denied these claims, stating “…I have declared everything… any accusations towards me… are unfounded.” Although the accusations weren’t unfounded, they were perhaps not quite as bad as they first appeared. It transpired that, though it was true that she was registered as manager for Global Consult, the company was entirely inactive during her time as an MEP.
But it turned out that this was anyway rather a moot point because once the discussion of Mrs. Jeleva’s financial interests was put to rest, she then failed to give satisfactory answers when questioned about her new portfolio. With a remit like International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, you expect a detailed understanding of the situation in places like the Congo and Afghanistan, but all Ms. Jeleva could do when questioned on these areas was give vague answers, using phrases like “work with the local players” and “call for people to do better”. The portfolio she has been given has such obvious potential for good, you really want someone you can trust will be able deploy the resources of the European Union in the most effective and beneficial way. Unfortunately Romania Jeleva did not instil that trust in me, or many of my colleagues.
The European Parliament has an oversight role for just this reason. We want to make sure that all Commissioners do their job well. Now the question becomes; what do we do about Rumiana Jeleva? The Parliament doesn’t have the right to reject one Designate, we would have to reject Barroso’s entire Commission. Barroso could give Mrs. Jeleva another portfolio, but perhaps she should consider stepping aside and allowing Bulgaria to nominate another Commissioner.