The Slovenia Times

European Commission: Transport Portfolio Could be Opportunity for Slovenia



In a reshuffle following the withdrawal of Slovenia's former PM Alenka Bratušek as the designated Commission vice-president for the energy union, Juncker reassigned the post to Slovakia's Maroš Šefčovič, originally nominated as commissioner for transport and space.

Bulc, 50-year-old entrepreneur unknown in politics until becoming minister for development, strategic projects and cohesion earlier this year, was assigned only the transport portfolio, which is attributed to her lack of political experience, with Juncker yet to announce whom he will put in charge of space.

Nevertheless, PM Cerar welcomed the choice of portfolio assigned to Bulc by underscoring the relevance of transport in the efforts to boost Europe's growth and jobs and the increase in the funds earmarked for transport infrastructure in the EU's multi-year budgeting framework.

Bulc will take charge of "a very demanding and important field of the European Commission's work, vital for the entire EU as well as for our country, situated at a major European transport crossroads, an opportunity that we have not tapped to a sufficient extent so far", Cerar said.

However, save for his SMC party, virtually all other political players in the country were unanimous in voicing their regret that Slovenia has lost the post of a Commission vice-president, and that the portfolio assigned to Bulc was trimmed down.

The sentiment was echoed by Slovenian MEPs, who reproach the candidate for lack of political and leadership experience, even while acknowledging her personal qualities and expecting that she would perform better in hearing than Bratušek.

Both Bulc and Šefčovič are expected to undergo confirmation hearings before the corresponding committees of the European Parliament on Monday. The Slovenian candidate is to be heard by the Committee on Transport and Tourism, whose chair Michael Cramer (Greens) said she would be judged by her answers.

Bulc has already introduced herself to political groups in the European Parliament, which have indicated they are willing to give the new Slovenian nominee a fair hearing.

Head of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) Gianni Pittella met Bulc today and his impression was positive, according to his spokesman Jan Bernas.

He said the group would account for the fact the Bulc has less time to prepare for the hearing than other nominees. They do not expect miracles, but a decent performance, and they would assess her without prejudice, strictly but fairly like all the nominees so far.


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