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Spy Hunters Give All Clear to New Bulgarian Nominee

Date: 30.01.2010

A special committee for rooting out collaborators with Bulgaria's Communist-era secret services has given the all clear to the country's new European Commission nominee, Kristalina Georgieva.

The lustration body, popularly known as the Commission on Dossiers, ran a check on the candidate on Tuesday (26 January) following a request from the ruling centre-right Gerb party.

"We checked with all the institutions where the documents concerning the Bulgarian secret services are kept, and there was no information on her. We looked at the file and our decision is that she's clean," Ekaterina Boncheva, a member of the nine-person commission told EUobserver.

"As of today, this is the information - she didn't co-operate with the secret services."

Ms Boncheva said the commission received the letter of request from Gerb on Tuesday morning and was able to act quickly because the query concerned just one person.

Bulgaria's previous nominee for the EU commission post, Rumiana Jeleva, passed a similar test when she became the country's foreign minister. But the screening was not mandatory with respect to either candidate's eligibility for the EU post, Ms Boncheva explained.

"They did this to stop any allegations," Statul Karabashev, the spokesman for the Bulgarian delegation to the centre-right group in the EU parliament, the EPP, told this website.

"The government decided to have her go through this to put aside any rumours," Blagovest Benishev, the Bulgarian spokesman for the Socialist group in the EU parliament, said. "Even my MEPs are more or less confident in her [Ms Georgieva's] nomination."

MEPs in the development committee are set to hold a hearing with Ms Georgieva on 3 February to see if she is fit to become the new commissioner in charge of humanitarian aid.

Bulgaria's previous nominee, Ms Jeleva, resigned in a bitter dispute after Socialist, Liberal and Green MEPs accused her of incompetence and of lying on her financial declaration, a charge on which she was later cleared.

The 56-year-old Ms Georgieva is an economist who held a number of academic posts in Bulgaria and the US during the country's Communist period before joining the World Bank in 1993.

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