Kristalina Georgieva

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Kristalina Georgieva
Кристалина Георгиева
Kristalina Georgieva (7).jpg
European Commissioner for the Budget and Human Resources
Assumed office
1 November 2014
President Jean-Claude Juncker
Preceded by Jacek Dominik (Financial Programming and the Budget)
Maroš Šefčovič (Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration)
European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response
In office
9 February 2010 – 1 November 2014
President José Manuel Barroso
Preceded by Karel De Gucht (Development and Humanitarian Aid)
Succeeded by Neven Mimica (International Cooperation and Development)
Christos Stylianides (Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management)
Personal details
Born (1953-08-13) 13 August 1953 (age 65)
Sofia, Bulgaria
Political party Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria
Alma mater University of National and World Economy

Kristalina Ivanova Georgieva (Bulgarian: Кристалина Иванова Георгиева, born 13 August 1953 in Sofia[1]) is a Bulgarian economist and administrator, currently serving as European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources in the college of the Juncker Commission.[2][3][4] 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[5] and associated professor in the Economics Department of the University of National and World Economy in Bulgaria.[6]

Georgieva was named "European of the Year"[7] and "EU Commissioner of the Year"[8] 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.

Early life and education

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.[9]

She held a range of academic and consulting positions in Bulgaria and the U.S., 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.[10]

Georgieva is fluent in Bulgarian, English and Russian, and can also speak some French.[11]


Georgieva started her career at the World Bank Group 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, D.C. 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).[11] During that time, she worked on the Bank's governance reform and accompanying capital increase in the wake of the 2008 international financial crisis.[12]

In January 2010, Georgieva announced her intention to resign from this post in view of her nomination to the Commission of the European Union.[13]

Political career

European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection, 2010-2014

Nomination and confirmation

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.[2] 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."[14]

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.[15]

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.[16] Ivo Vajgl, a Liberal MEP, also praised her, saying: "let me compliment you on your peaceful manner and the confidence you are exuding today".[17] 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.[18]

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,[3] and she took office the following day.[4]


During her term in office as Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid, and Crisis Response, Georgieva oversaw the delivery of life saving assistance to nearly 500 million children, women and men affected by conflicts and natural disasters around the world.[19] Immediately after taking office, she took responsibility for coordinating the EU 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 of 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.

After taking office, Georgieva's presence in the field – in Haiti, Chile[20] and Pakistan[21] as a response to the natural disasters that have struck there; Sahel in relation to the ongoing food crisis threat;[22] Darfur as a way to tackle a forgotten conflict;[23] Kyrgyzstan as a reaction to a sudden onset conflict;[24] disasters within the EU such as the 2010 Romanian floods, the Hungarian industrial accident at Ajka, Hungary – along with timely and effective response to these crises, natural and man-made disasters has led to increased EU visibility.[25]

Amid the Southeast Europe floods in May 2014, Georgieva coordinated post-disaster assistance and helped prepare Serbia’s request for aid of as much as 1 billion euros ($1.4 billion) a year.[26]

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."[27]

Vice-President of the European Commission, 2014-present

In 2014, news media reported that the ambassadors of several Western EU countries early on indicated their countries’ support for Georgieva to be nominated for the incoming Juncker Commission, indicating that she might get the post of High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.[28] Her candidacy had been uncertain because of political infighting in Bulgaria. The socialist party wanted to block her because she is a member of the centre-right Gerb party, preferring Kristian Vigenin instead.[29] The collapse of the socialist government, however, cleared the path for her nomination. By August, Georgi Bliznashki, Bulgaria’s interim prime minister, announced her candidacy to replace Britain’s Catherine Ashton.[30]

Incoming European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker instead assigned the post of Vice-President for Budget and Human Resources to Georgieva. She is thus the most senior technocrat in the Juncker Commission, the only one of the seven vice-presidents never to have served as a national minister.[31] In her current capacity, she is in charge of reporting on how the budget of the European Union is spent to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Court of Auditors. Within months of taking her new position and amid skepticism about the European Union and its budget of around $159 billion reaching new heights, Georgieva was able to negotiate a several-billion-dollar budget increase for 2014.[32]

In May 2015, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Georgieva and Nazrin Shah of Perak as co-chairs of the High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing, an initiative aimed at preparing recommendations for the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit.[33] In recent years, Georgieva has been repeatedly mentioned a possible successor to Ban Ki-moon as United Nations Secretary-General.[34]

In June 2015, Georgieva announced the European Commission’s appointment of Jonathan Faull as head of a task force dealing with reforms demanded by Prime Minister David Cameron to keep the United Kingdom in the European Union.[35]

In October 2015, Georgieva announced that the European Commission’s legal services are preparing an overhaul of the European Anti-fraud Office (OLAF), after a damaging leak of internal correspondence revealed a bitter rift between the office and independent supervisory panel.[36]

Other activities


As recognition of her work and her efficient reaction to the humanitarian crises of the year, Commissioner Georgieva was named 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".[8] The winners are chosen on the basis of online voting,[who?] which is open until 31 October of each year.[7]

Personal life

Kristalina Georgieva is married and has one child. She has been living in Washington, D.C., but is based in Brussels as of 2014. Her hobbies include travelling, guitar playing, dancing and cooking exotic dishes.[38]


  1. "Who is Kristalina Georgieva?". FOCUS News Agency. 19 January 2010. Retrieved 19 January 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Under-fire EU Commission nominee stands down". AFP. 19 January 2010. Retrieved 19 January 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 Miller, John W. (9 February 2010). "EU Approves New Commission". The Wall Street Journal/Associated Press. Retrieved 9 February 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 Toby Vogel (11 February 2010). "New team takes office". European Voice. Retrieved 12 February 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "УНСС : Структура : Съвет на настоятелите" (in Bulgarian). UNWE. Retrieved 19 January 2010. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "УНСС : Общоикономически факултет : Катедра Икономикс : Състав" (in Bulgarian). UNWE. Retrieved 19 January 2010. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 7.0 7.1 Georgieva named European of the Year,, 30 November 2010
  8. 8.0 8.1 Bulgaria's Georgieva Wins 'EU Commissioner of the Year' Award by EV,, 1 December 2010
  9. Lilov 2013, pp. 276-277.
  10. "The World Bank - News - Kristalina Georgieva". The World Bank Group. Retrieved 19 January 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Kristalina Georgieva CV" (PDF). European Union.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Secretary-General Appoints High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing United Nations Secretary-General, press release of 21 May 2015.
  13. "World Bank appoints Kristalina Georgieva as vice president". AFX News Limited. 22 February 2008. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 19 January 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Barroso Welcomes New Bulgarian EU Commissioner-Designate Georgieva". Novinite. 21 January 2010. Retrieved 21 January 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "MEPs quiz new Bulgarian candidate Kristalina Georgieva". European Parliament. 3 February 2010. Retrieved 4 February 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Democracy Live – European Parliament". BBC. 3 February 2010. Retrieved 4 February 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Joshua Chaffin (4 February 2010). "Bulgaria's nominee well-received by MEPs". Financial Times. Retrieved 4 February 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Коментари за изслушването на Кристалина Георгиева като кандидат-комисар - Портал ЕВРОПА". Retrieved 2014-07-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Secretary-General Appoints High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing United Nations Secretary-General, press release of 21 May 2015.
  20. "EUROPA - PRESS RELEASES - Press release - Visit of Commissioner Georgieva to Chile". Retrieved 2014-07-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. Reuters. "EU aid commissioner Kristalina Georgieva visits flood-hit Pakistan - Bulgaria abroad". The Sofia Echo. Retrieved 2014-07-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. M3 Web - (2010-06-03). "Fighting Hunger in Sahel (Article by EU Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva*) - - Sofia News Agency". Retrieved 2014-07-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. Thomson Reuters Foundation. "Thomson Reuters Foundation | News, Information and Connections for Action". Retrieved 2014-07-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. "EUROPA - PRESS RELEASES - Press release - Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva to meet with Kyrgyz authorities and beneficiaries of EU humanitarian assistance". European Union. 2014-05-13. Retrieved 2014-07-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. "Hungary accident: European team of five experts to start working on the ground on Monday". European Union. 10 October 2010. Retrieved 25 February 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. Gordana Filipovic (May 20, 2014), Serbia Appeals for Worldwide Assistance After Deadly Floods Bloomberg Business.
  27. "EU official: No restrictions – no Gaza crisis". 1995-06-20. Retrieved 2014-07-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  28. EU heavyweights advise Bulgaria to nominate Georgieva for Ashton’s job EurActiv, June 26, 2014.
  29. Andrew Gardner (August 5, 2014), Bulgaria returns Georgieva to Commission European Observer.
  30. Christian Oliver (August 6, 2014), Bulgarian commissioner nominated for EU foreign policy post Financial Times.
  31. Toby Vogel (October 2, 2014), Georgieva catches committee mood European Observer.
  32. Benjamin Oreskes (November 4, 2015), Georgieva’s UN job mission Politico Europe.
  33. Secretary-General Appoints High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing United Nations Secretary-General, press release of 21 May 2015.
  34. Salima Yacoubi Soussane (July 9, 2015), Will the next UN secretary general be a woman? The Guardian.
  35. Ian Wishart (June 24, 2015), European Commission Hands Key Job to Keep U.K. in EU to a Brit Bloomberg Business.
  36. Quentin Ariès and James Panichi (October 20, 2015), Commission weighs reform after anti-fraud office leaks Politico Europe.
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 37.3 Kristalina Georgieva: Declaration of interests European Commission.
  38. Lilov 2013, p. 276.
Lilov, Grigor (2013). Най-богатите българи (in български) (1st ed.). Sofia: „Кайлас” ЕООД. ISBN 978-954-92098-9-1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Meglena Kuneva
Bulgarian European Commissioner
Preceded by
Karel De Gucht
as European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid
European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response
Succeeded by
Neven Mimica
as European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development
Succeeded by
Christos Stylianides
as European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management
Preceded by
Jacek Dominik
as European Commissioner for Financial Programming and the Budget
European Commissioner for the Budget and Human Resources