The candidate for the position of the EU’s first ever vice-president for energy union has been rejected by European lawmakers.
MEPs voted 112 against and 13 in favour of the appointment former Slovenian prime minister Alenka Bratušek, who had been selected by EU president-elect Jean Claude Junker.
The position of vice-president for energy union has been created in a restructuring of the European commission. Such a figure would coordinate the work of several commissioners, including the environment, maritime affairs and fisheries portfolios, set to Maltese politician Karmenu Vella.
Bratušek’s nomination had been questioned domestically and internationally. In Slovenia, she was criticised for having appointed herself as commissioner in the last days as prime minister after losing a general election in July.
She was also criticised for her performance during a European parliamentary hearing on 6 October, aimed at assessing her suitability for the role. Greenpeace EU energy policy director Franziska Achterberg said that Bratušek lacked “substance and initiative in her answers to MEP questions”.
“It’s difficult to imagine how she could take on such an important portfolio based on [her] vague and evasive performance [during the hearing],” she added.
Slovenia’s prime minister Miro Cerar said his Government would find a new candidate for the post, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Specialist European news outlet EurActiv reports Janez Potočnik, the outgoing commissioner for the environment, could be Cerar’s choice.