|European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response|
9 February 2010
|President||José Manuel Barroso|
|Preceded by||Karel De Gucht (Development and Humanitarian Aid)|
13 August 1953 |
|Political party||Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria|
|Alma mater||University of National and World Economy|
Kristalina Ivanova Georgieva (Bulgarian: Кристалина Иванова Георгиева, born on 13 August 1953 in Sofia, Bulgaria) is a Bulgarian economist and administrator, currently serving as European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response in the second college of the Barroso Commission. Georgieva is affiliated on the European level with the European People's Party (EPP).
From 1993-2010, she served in a number of positions in the World Bank Group, eventually rising to become its Vice President and Corporate Secretary in March 2008. She has also served as a member of the board of trustees and associated professor in the Economics Department of the University of National and World Economy in Bulgaria.
Georgieva was named "European of the Year" and "EU Commissioner of the Year" as an acknowledgment of her work, in particular her handling of the humanitarian disasters in Haiti and Pakistan. Previously, she had been nominated among the candidates for the category "Commissioner of the Year", the prestigious award organized by the European Voice newspaper.
Kristalina Georgieva holds a PhD in Economics and an MA in Political Economy and Sociology from the University of National and World Economy in Sofia, Bulgaria. Her thesis was on “Environmental Protection Policy and Economic Growth in the USA”. She also did post-graduate research and studies in natural resource economics and environmental policy at the London School of Economics in the late 1980s and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
She held a range of academic and consulting positions in Bulgaria and the US, and has lectured on development topics in universities around the world, including the Australian National University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tsinghua University, Yale University, Harvard University, London School of Economics, the University of the South Pacific and others.
Kristalina Georgieva started her career at the World Bank in 1993 as an environmental economist for Europe and Central Asia. Following this, she served in various positions in the bank ultimately rising to become Director in the Environment Department in charge of World Bank environmental strategy, policies, and lending. From 2004–2007 she was the institution's Director and Resident Representative in the Russian Federation, based in Moscow.
She returned to Washington DC to become Director for Strategy and Operations, Sustainable Development. Her final position at the World Bank, Vice President and Corporate Secretary, conveyed lead responsibility for liaison with the members of the institution's Board of Executive Directors, representing the Bank's shareholders (the member country governments). In January 2010, she announced her intention to resign from this post in view of her nomination to the Commission of the European Union.
After the former Bulgarian nominee, Rumiana Jeleva, came under fire during the confirmation hearing from members of the European Parliament over both her competence for the post and allegations of gaps in her declaration of financial interests, she withdrew her bid. The Bulgarian government then proposed Kristalina Georgieva as their new candidate. On 21 January 2010 the European Commission President José Manuel Barroso met with Georgieva and expressed his approval, stating that "Mrs. Georgieva has solid international experience and knowledge with which she is going to contribute significantly in her capacity as a EU Commissioner."
The confirmation hearing of Georgieva took place at the European Parliament on 4 February 2010. She faced questions on her suitability for the international cooperation, humanitarian aid, and crisis response portfolio. Georgieva identified Haiti as a priority, especially the need to provide shelter and health services and to restore the functions and service of the government, so as to start work on reconstruction and long-term development. Other key issues raised in discussions with MEPs had been improving co-ordination within the EU (and within the Commission), and between humanitarian and military players in order to meet the dual challenge posed by expanding needs and shrinking budgets. The need to improve the effectiveness of EU actions and for better response capacity had also been stressed, together with the establishment of European Voluntary Humanitarian Corps.
Georgieva was given a warm response by MEPs, with Labour MEP Michael Cashman praising her "honesty and deep breadth of knowledge". She was applauded by committee members when she told British Conservative MEP Nirj Deva that she would stand up for the interests of the EU and be an independent mind. Ivo Vajgl, a Liberal MEP, also praised her, saying: "let me compliment you on your peaceful manner and the confidence you are exuding today". Her performance at the hearing was widely publicized in Bulgaria and broadcast live on many national media, where it was seen as question of restoration of national honor following Jeleva's unsuccessful hearing.
The second college of the Barroso Commission, including Georgieva, was approved by the European Parliament on 9 February 2010 by a vote of 488 to 137, with 72 abstentions, and she took office the following day.
Immediately after taking office, Georgieva took the responsibility for coordinating the European Union response to the humanitarian consequence of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. As result of her actions, the EU became the primary humanitarian donor in the devastated country. Following this initial baptism by fire, Georgieva has ensured EU's response in a number of crises and disasters that struck the world in 2010, including the earthquake in Chile and the floods in Pakistan.
Since taking office as Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid, and Crisis Response, her presence in the field – in Haiti, Chile and Pakistan as a response to the natural disasters that have struck there; Sahel in relation to the ongoing food crisis threat; Darfur as a way to tackle a forgotten conflict; Kyrgyzstan as a reaction to a sudden onset conflict; disasters within the EU such as the Romania floods, Hungary industrial accident at Ajka – along with timely and effective response to these crises, natural and man-made disasters has led to increased EU visibility.
Georgieva has also worked to ensure an EU response where disasters have struck within the Union itself – such as during the floods in Romania and Poland, and the industrial disaster involving red mud sludge in Ajka, Hungary.
She also has worked to ensure that longer term prevention and preparedness strategies are in place. In parallel with reacting to natural and man-made disasters, Georgieva has continued to make good progress on the three declared priorities of her mandate: building up EU’s disaster response capacity, creating the European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps foreseen in the Lisbon Treaty, and proceeding with the mid-term review of the European Union Humanitarian Aid Consensus Action plan. This work is expected to pave the way for future legislative proposals.
Georgieva, in discussing the situation in the Gaza Strip, said that she believes that the "humanitarian crisis...was artificially created because of the blockade". However, she also commented that the idea of a Gaza flotilla is not the correct action to take: "We are not in favor of attempts to help people in this way."
As recognition of her work and her efficient reaction to the humanitarian crises of the year, Commissioner Georgieva has been nominated and on 20 November was named as Commissioner of the Year in the "Europeans of the Year 2010" awards, organized by the influential European Voice newspaper, which also named her "European of the Year". The winners are chosen on the basis of online voting, which is open until 31 October of each year.
Kristalina Georgieva is married and has one child. She has been living in Washington DC, but is based in Brussels as of 2014[update]. Her hobbies include travelling, guitar playing, dancing and cooking exotic dishes.
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|Bulgarian European Commissioner
Karel De Gucht
as European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid
|European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response