Kristalina Georgieva



Kristalina Georgieva was not even Bulgaria’s first choice to be European commissioner in 2010 – but she has impressed in the humanitarian aid brief and is being mooted as a potential High Representative.

Born in 1953 in Sofia, Georgieva has a long background in international affairs. She studied at the London School of Economics and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and has lectured on development in Australasia, the United States and China.

In 1993 she moved to the World Bank, becoming an environmental economist for Europe and Central Asia before rising through the ranks to take charge of the Bank’s environmental strategy, policies and lending. Following that, she became the Bank’s representative in Russia. From 2007 until her appointment as a commissioner she was Vice President and Corporate Secretary of the World Bank.

Georgieva impressed MEPs in her hearing as nominee to be commissioner. After the College won approval she immediately took responsibility for coordinating the EU’s response to the disastrous consequences of the earthquake in Haiti. Her presence there – and following subsequent humanitarian disasters in Chile, Pakistan, Sudan and Kyrgyzstan – was warmly welcomed and seems to have improved the visibility of EU aid.

Georgieva also made steps to improve the EU’s disaster response capacity and set up a European voluntary aid corps. Her successes were recognised at the end of 2010 when she was named both ‘Commissioner of the Year’ and ‘European of the Year’ in awards organised by European Voice.

She has won many plaudits in her role as commissioner and has the pedigree to run a big operation such as the European External Action Service. EU leaders and the European Parliament may decide it is now time for her to step up to a bigger role, either in Europe or at the United Nations, where she could become the institution’s first female Secretary-General.


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