Friendless candidate for top EU energy job heads for exit

Alenka Bratusek doomed after disastrous hearing; controversial climate candidate Miguel Arias Canete set to be approved

Alenka Bratusek, former prime minister of Slovenia, has withdrawn from the EU energy union job (Pic: Slovenian government)

hea Alenka Bratusek, former prime minister of Slovenia, has withdrawn from the EU energy union job
(Pic: Slovenian government)

By Megan Darby

The nominee to lead Europe’s “energy union” is set for rejection after a disastrous performance in front of MEPs on Monday.

Former Slovenian prime minister Alenka Bratusek denied reports she had withdrawn her candidacy.

“Today’s rumors of my resignation are fiction,” she said in a Facebook message, before accusing her fellow Slovenians of conspiring against her.

Green MEP Bas Eikhout, who tweeted the rumour earlier in the day, said he had got it from European Parliament sources responsible for organising the votes and the Slovenian government.

Breaking! Bratusek withdrew. At 18.30h the joint committees of environment and industry will vote on Canete.

— Bas Eickhout (@BasEickhout) October 8, 2014

 

Before the resignation rumour had emerged, Brussels-watchers were already speculating on Bratusek’s possible replacement, after it became clear yesterday she had little backing for the appointment.

She was criticised for vague answers in Monday’s hearing and faced allegations she had put herself forward for the role without the support of her home country.

Slovakia’s Maros Sefcovic and current Slovenian commissioner Janez Potocnik have been suggested as possible subsitutes.

The nominee for energy and climate action commissioner, Miguel Arias Canete, is also controversial but considered likely to be approved in a vote this evening.

Bratusek’s withdrawal means European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker must appoint another Slovenian to his 27-strong team.

This is expected to either be serving environment commissioner Janez Potocnik, who has already completed two terms in the commission, or MEP Tanja Fajon.

Fajon is not considered qualified for the “energy union” vice president job and would likely be offered a more junior role.

Potocnik, on the other hand, would be welcomed as VP by greens but not the energy sector, according to analysis by European Voice.

 

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