Mariya Gabriel, an MEP and Bulgaria’s choice as its representative at the European Commission, will be given the digital economy and society portfolio, the Commission said this week.
The long-awaited nomination to the vacant digital Commissioner post was made on Tuesday, after Gabriel was interviewed by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
Born in 1979, Gabriel would become the youngest member of the Juncker Commission if confirmed by the European Parliament at a hearing that is likely to take place in the coming weeks.
Her role will be delivering the so-called digital single market, a centrepiece policy which includes support for connected cars, measures to make content accessible across EU national borders and initiatives to drive app creation, amongst many others.
The digital vacancy opened up after Bulgaria’s Kristalina Georgieva, who has been in charge of the budget and administrative portfolio since 2014, quit last October to take a job as CEO of the World Bank. Günther Oettinger, Germany’s EU representative and the then digital chief, was tapped by Juncker to take over her duties.
Gabriel does not have any digital experience on her CV. In Brussels, her main interests have been women's rights and gender equality and relations with African and Maghreb countries.
A lack of experience in domestic politics means Gabriel – an MEP since 2009 – is also less well known in Bulgaria than her predecessor, Georgieva.
For a while EU Research Commissioner Carlos Moedas was linked with the digital job, with Commission vice president Andrus Ansip at one point calling him the leading candidate.