Fri. Jul 19th, 2024
EU Commissioner-designate Iliana Ivanova. Source: EU Parliament

The Industry, Research and Energy, and Culture and Education committees questioned Iliana Ivanova, Bulgarian candidate for innovation, research, culture, education and youth.

Ms Ivanova was nominated to replace Mariya Gabriel, who resigned on 15 May to become Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister of Bulgaria.

During her introductory speech, Commissioner-designate Iliana Ivanova presented her priorities to invest in research and innovation in the EU, boosting skills, promoting the cohesive role of culture and empowering youth. The EU is a scientific powerhouse, she underlined, however the landscape remains “fragmented” and investments are below the target of 3% of GDP and behind global competitors. She vowed to do the utmost to support the Horizon Europe programme as a tool to ensure that Europe can be “a trailblazer at global level” and attract more resources, including through partnerships, and to facilitate access to funding for SMEs.

In order for the EU to reach its full potential, the Commissioner-designate said it is essential to invest more in having diverse talent, skills and education. She called for programmes to be made available to partner countries, for targeted initiatives to increase gender inclusion, including in sport, and completing the EU Education Area. Ms Ivanova also stressed that sport is an important asset for EU cohesion as well as a tool to support European values and the mental health of young people.

Questions by MEPs

MEPs posed several questions on how to improve Horizon Europe, its budget, efficiency and transparency, and how it should be adapted to new challenges without jeopardizing existing priorities. MEPs also asked how member states and regions could be helped to achieve better results within the programme, and how to ensure that the allocated funding fully benefits taxpayers.

Members also asked the Commissioner-designate to improve gender equality, in particular in sport. Other MEPs called for ways to be found to incentivise member states to reach the 3% research target.

Academic freedom in Europe, the proposed cuts to the Creative Europe budget and current gaps in the access to EU mobility programmes due to costs were also raised by MEPs. They questioned the Commissioner-designate on plans to retain young research talent in Europe, ways to address racism and xenophobia in Europe via tools of education as well as on red tape preventing access to the EU’s education and culture programmes.

You can watch the full hearing again here.

Press point

At the end of the hearing, Sabine VERHEYEN, Chair of the Committee on Culture and Education, and Cristian-Silviu BUŞOI, Chair of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, held a press point outside the meeting room: watch it here.

Next steps

Based on the committees’ recommendations and the assessment by the Conference of Committee Chairs, the Conference of Presidents will conduct the final evaluation on 6 September and decide whether to close the hearing process and hold a vote during the September plenary session.

EPP Group: Ivanova showed she is excellent and well-qualified

05.09.2023 12:09

The EPP Group fully supports the nomination of Iliana Ivanova as the new European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth.

Speaking after Ivanova’s parliamentary hearing today, Christian Ehler MEP, the EPP Group’s Spokesman on Industry, Research and Energy, said: “Her strong and knowledgeable performance today showed again that Ms Ivanova is an excellent and well-qualified candidate.”

“We need a Commissioner that understands research, innovation and the intricacies of the implementation of the Union budget. Ms Ivanova has it all and therefore I am confident that she can effectively execute the responsibilities of the Commissioner responsible for the largest public research programme in the world. We are looking forward to working with her”, continued Ehler.

Tomasz Frankowski MEP, the EPP Group’s Spokesman on Culture and Education, stated: “After today’s hearing, I am convinced that Iliana Ivanova is the right person for this job. Our MEPs asked her very specific questions on key programmes such as Erasmus Plus, Creative Europe or the European Solidarity Corps and I have to say that Ms Ivanova not only gave very good, detailed and comprehensive answers, but she also showed a broad long-term vision for her work and actions as a future Commissioner in the areas of education, culture, youth and sport. I am looking forward to cooperating with Iliana Ivanova and her team in order to advance even further our priorities and works before the end of the term.”

Ivanova was heard today by Parliament’s joint Committees on Industry, Research and Energy and on Culture and Education. For the final confirmation of Ivanova as a new Commissioner, Parliament needs to hold a plenary vote, which will most likely take place next week in Strasbourg.
Note to editors

The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 177 Members from all EU Member States

Source – EPP Group

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