The Slovenia Times

Slovenian candidate for EU Commission picked by cabinet


The law on cooperation between the National Assembly and the government in EU affairs provides that the nominee for the Slovenian member of the European Commission is put forward by the government, based on a notification from relevant EU institutions.

The government refers the nomination to the National Assembly and the nominee undergoes a presentation on the EU Affairs Committee, which takes a vote on the nominee and forms an opinion with an explanation. However, the opinion is not binding on the government.

Once it has received the opinion and before submitting the nomination to the relevant EU institution, the government needs to formally notify the National Assembly of its proposal, which needs to include arguments for the choice.

Coalition parties have not started a discussion on potential candidates yet, but Brane Golubović, the head of the deputy faction of Prime Minister Marjan Šarec's LMŠ party, has indicated that such a debate could be held next week.

Golobović confirmed that the party, which won two seats in the European Parliament on Sunday, was considering naming a commissioner candidate. So are the Social Democrats (SD), who also won two seats but a higher share of the vote than its coalition partner, keen to bid for the post.

The procedure for the appointment of Slovenia's commissioner was not included into law until it was amended in April 2015, that is after the 2014 European elections.

The opposition party New Slovenia (NSi) filed a bill in early May proposing that the government should seek the endorsement of its candidate for the Commission from at least five of the eight Slovenian MEPs elected on Sunday. This would be followed by the nominee's presentation on the EU Affairs Committee.

The NSi-sponsored proposal was not welcomed by Prime Minister Marjan Šarec or his coalition.

Back in 2014 Slovenia submitted a list of three candidates to European Commission President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker: the outgoing Prime Minister Alenka Bratušek, outgoing Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec and SocDem MEP Tanja Fajon.

Juncker picked Bratušek, but she was forced to withdraw her bid after being rejected by two relevant committees of the European Parliament. The new Prime Minister Miro Cerar, whose party won the snap election in June 2014, then put forward Violeta Bulc, who went on to become the transport commissioner.

After each EU member country nominates its candidate for the European Commission, the nominees are heard by relevant committee of the European Parliament. The plenary then takes a vote on the line-up as a whole.

The hearings are expected to take place in late summer or early autumn if the European Parliament has endorsed the commission president before the summer recess. Candidates for the commission president are put forward by member countries with the goal being to agree on a candidate by the 20 June summit.


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