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Jeleva, the new crisis response commissioner (portrait)

(BRUSSELS2) As announced Friday by José-Manuel Barroso president of the European Commission, Rumiana Jeleva will be in charge of the portfolio of “International cooperation, humanitarian aid and crisis response“, a portfolio that corresponds to the crisis management that we were calling for (1).
It brings together Humanitarian Aid (DG Echo) – which was in the last commission co-managed with Development – ​​and the new
Civil Protection post – arising from the new competence created by the Lisbon Treaty – (the unit which dealt with this issue and which was housed in DG Environment will be integrated into DG Echo). Along with Enlargement and Development, he is part of the “External Relations” group of commissioners coordinated by the High Representative, C. Ashton.

Without being of primordial importance, this portfolio has a high media value (we must remember how the Italian Bonino was able to give it a certain luster). Jeleva – if she pays a little attention – can quickly become one of the best-known commissioners.

Born in 1969 (April 18), in Nova Zagora, a town in southern Bulgaria, Rumiana Jeleva studied in Burgas (in the German language High School which she finished in 1988) then at the University of Sofia in social pedagogy and sociology (1994 and 1995). She completed this training with courses in industrial sociology and economics at the University of Bielefeld and the Free University of Berlin (1994, 2000-2001), and finished with a PhD obtained in 2003 at the Otto von Guericke University of Magdeburg. (Germany), theme of his thesis: “Socio-Interpretative Models of Entrepreneurs in the Economics of Transition”. While working. “I have been working since I was 15” she told Bulgarian journalists.

Associate researcher at the University of Sofia in sociology, at the “sociology of work and social policy” laboratory (2005), she also manages the NGO “New Social Practices” responsible for developing social projects (2004-2007) and a consultancy company, specialized in social matters “Global Consult Ltd” (2006-2007). In this capacity, she participates in several UNDP and Phare projects on the development of initiatives on the labor market, social inclusion and youth. She also held several positions on administrative or supervisory boards: at the national investment fund “Labor” (1995-1998), at the company Plastimo JSC in Samokov (1997-1998) and Eztour JSC in Pravets (1997). -1998).

Elected in 2007 to the European Parliament, on the list of the Conservative GERB Party, she sits on the Regional Development Committee (substitute for the Employment Committee). She is notably EP rapporteur on the United Nations convention on disabled people and the task force on undeclared work. Re-elected in 1999, she chose the Foreign Affairs Committee. Not for a long time. In July 2009, she was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs in the government of Boyko Borisov (GERB) and returned to Sofia. Not diplomatic at first, she got used to it. “ It's true. It is not easy. she confides in an interview with the Bulgarian daily Troud. " It is true that I was much more active in university circles and in international projects financed by the UN, the World Bank or the European Union, than I am in political circles. This professional experience, my very strong intuition (which is never wrong) and my education are three elements on which I rely. »

In the fall of 2009, his name quickly appeared to replace Kuneva at the European Commission. Initially, she was more interested in the “Enlargement and neighborhood policy” position. “ For me, not all areas are created equal. I will therefore not be a European commissioner at all costs “, she said in early November. " This coincides with the national interests of Bulgaria – it is important for us that the Balkan and Black Sea region is a region of security and prosperity.. » she explained in an interview in the daily “24 Tchassa”. However, it seemed difficult to entrust this position to a Bulgarian due to possible difficulties on certain “Balkan” files, particularly with Macedonia, and possible conflicts of interest.

(1) Read A European Commissioner responsible for crisis management? An idea to explore

(photo credit: facebook of Jeleva)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).