The Slovenia Times

Former Court of Audit president candidate for EU Commissioner

Prime Minister Robert Golob (right) picks Tomaž Vesel (left) for candidate for EU commissioner. Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

Tomaž Vesel, the 56-year-old former president of the Court of Audit, has emerged as Slovenia's candidate for European commissioner. He has been nominated by the ruling Freedom Movement but is likely to get the required government endorsement given the party's dominant position in the coalition.

Announcing the news on 6 April, Prime Minister Robert Golob, the leader of the Freedom Movement, praised Vesel as a knowledgeable candidate who was willing to "risk his head" during "dark times", a reference to Vesel's last two years of serving as president when he often clashed with the previous, right-wing government.

Freedom can be promoted always and not just when the sun is shining, he said, adding that Vesel was proof nothing was impossible. Slovenians should not underestimate the role they should have in Brussels, and that is why it is so important who is sent there as commissioner.

Vesel said he was grateful for the opportunity, and if endorsed, he would not work for his own personal benefit. "Some may think that this is about privileges only, but there is also a lot of sacrifice, and I'm ready to give my all for the good of Slovenia and citizens of the EU," he said.

The announcement came as a surprise given that the party is yet to finalise its slate for the EU election, and that just days earlier several media reported that Marta Kos, a former senior member of the party, had refused an offer to head its ticket in exchange for EU an commissioner post.

Vesel however said that he and Golob had been discussing his bid for quite some time.

Among the portfolios Vesel would be interested in, he mentioned finance, competition and democracy.

Vesel is yet to reach out to the two junior coalition parties, but he assumes he will end up being the candidate of the entire coalition given that Freedom Movement ministers have a majority in the cabinet, which votes on the country's candidate for commissioners.

The junior coalition partners were caught by surprise, learning about the candidate from the media. Social Democrat leader Tanja Fajon expects the coalition to discuss this and come to a decision together. She also said it was sensible to wait until June since it is important the European Commission reflects people's democratic will as expressed in the EU elections. The Left intends to comment on the pick once the coalition discusses the issue.

Vesel, who has a degree in law from the Ljubljana Faculty of Law, served as the president of the country's Court of Audit between 2013 and 2022 after holding several jobs in the public sector, including at the Court of Audit.

After his stint there ended, he took a management job in the media conglomerate controlled by media tycoon Martin Odlazek.


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