The Slovenia Times

Slovenia's New EU Commissioner Starts Term Upbeat



In an interview with the STA, Bulc was upbeat about starting her term, saying that her task in the first three months will be to meet with the representatives of expert committees in transport and set the priorities for her team, which will be led by Marjeta Jager of the Commission's Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport.

In choosing her team members, Bulc was picking experts who are ready for "open dialogue", have communication skills and are capable of coordinating different opinions to come to "joint, good solutions".

Commenting on her fellow commissioners, she says the "group is very pleasant and interesting, so I believe we will be able to cooperate successfully". The Commission will hold its first official meeting on Wednesday.

Regarding the new, bigger role of vice-presidents in the Commission, Bulc says it is not so much about hierarchy as it is about coordination of work to enable the Commission address the "serious challenges of modern world".

This system will enable the Commission to be coordinated on key strategic policies such as the energy union, where coordination will be required among many different areas.

This is also why the Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker wanted experienced politicians in the vice-presidential posts, believing they have the ability to look for joint solutions for the common good.

Despite being a political novice herself, Bulc believes she will bring useful personal, entrepreneurial as well as political skills to Juncker's team.

She says she immediately felt drawn to the area of transport she has been entrusted with, sensing "a kind of positive excitement at the opportunities it offers". She believes her urge to look for systemic solutions and innovations will be her most useful asset.

As for the Commission as a whole, its biggest challenge according to Bulc will be to set up mechanisms to help the European economy retain its leading role globally. But at the same time, it will need to incorporate social security and environment protection into its policies aimed at achieving that goal.

She believes balancing the three will also be a major challenge in transport, but she remains confident that it can be done, especially in the light of technological development.

"We can see that technology has been very helpful in all areas of transport, both in shipbuilding and aviation and in railway and road transport," she says about balancing economic goals with environment protection.

The upcoming international climate summit in Paris will show if Europe is capable of motivating other global players to follow suit, she believes.

Bulc herself plans to look for innovative solutions in transport management and change business models to make the system more efficient, transparent and green. She also sees many opportunities for social innovation within her task of managing the strategic project of the so-called smart cities.

"My co-workers and I want to create a vision of a modern city and infrastructure that can support and enable the development of present-day people."

Asked how Slovenia could put its geostrategic position into better use, Bulc replies that the EU wants all members to thrive, be dynamic and have their own development visions.

"Recently, the railway connection between China and Europe has been gaining importance, especially for cargo with high value added. In that respect, this part of Europe is strategically very important for transport."

Although EU commissioners must act independently from the states they are coming from, "we have to and want to be present also in the countries we are coming from...and invite and encourage local players to co-create and manifest EU policies," says Bulc, who is looking forward to cooperation with Slovenia.


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