Kuneva turns down MEP seat

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Unlike other commissioners who were elected as MEPs in the European elections recently, Bulgarian Commissioner Meglena Kuneva, responsible for consumer protection, said today (10 July) that she will complete her mandate in the EU executive and not take up her seat in the European Parliament, announced Dnevnik, EURACTIV’s partner in Bulgaria.

Speaking at a press conference in Sofia, Kuneva insisted that her decision was “above any personal ambitions and agenda” and its only aim was “to better serve Bulgaria”. She stressed that her country needed to have a commissioner in Brussels as several important reports are due for release in the coming months. 

On 22 July, the European Commission is due to publish its yearly report under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism. But Kuneva said that another important report – on the EU funding for Bulgaria – was due in autumn. 

Bulgaria lost some €220 million of EU funding when the latest report on the management of EU funds, exposing corruption and mismanagement, was published last year (EURACTIV 24/07/09). 

Kuneva met yesterday with Boyko Borissov, the winner of recent national elections, who had already indicated that he was not planning to back Kuneva for another mandate as commissioner (EURACTIV 07/07/09). Kuneva said she had “promised him support” and answered negatively when asked whether she had requested him to back her for another term in the EU executive. 

Kuneva also claimed that she would be more capable of delivering on her electoral promises, made during the EU election campaign, in her capacity as commissioner rather than MEP. 

Stanimir Ilchev, a journalist by profession who served as an observer to the European Parliament before Bulgaria’s first EU elections in 2007, will take Kuneva’s seat as an MEP. 

Both Polish Commissioner Danuta Hübner and her Belgian colleague Louis Michel, who were also elected as MEPs, have already taken up their seats. They are well-positioned to be named chairs of the regional development committee and EU-ACP delegation respectively. Luxembourg Commissioner Viviane Reding was also elected as an MEP, for the fourth time in a row, but is yet to announce her intentions. 

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