Slovenia proposes little-known Bulc for EU Commission

A photo taken on September 18, 2014 shows Violeta Bulc, Development, Strategic Projects and Cohesion minister, in Ljubljana, Slovenia (AFP Photo/Jure Makovec)

Ljubljana (AFP) - Slovenia's government on Friday put forward a little-known deputy premier, Violeta Bulc, to be part of the EU Commission following the rejection of former prime minister Alenka Bratusek by the bloc's parliament.

"Bulc is a fitting person for the role having proved herself as one of the leaders of our SMC party... and for her strong decision-making and leadership qualities," Prime Minister Miro Cerar told journalists in Ljubljana.

Juncker's spokesman Margaritis Schinas said in Brussels that the portfolio that Bulc will be proposed for -- Bratusek was to have been EU vice president for energy union -- would be decided after Juncker interviews her next week.

Schinas added that the timetable to have Juncker's entire 28-member Commission in place by November 1 -- which was thrown into doubt by Bratusek's rejection on Wednesday -- "is very tight but we are working hard to reduce this risk".

"I think we need to be clear. Twenty-six hearings concluded positively.... We have the 27th which is still before us," he said.

Bulc, 50, one of three Slovenian deputy premiers, entered politics only last month after Cerar formed a government. She was appointed as minister without portfolio with responsibility for economic development.

Previously, she spent many years working as an adviser for companies on EU and regional development projects.

Bratusek, 44, had put forward her own name to be part of Juncker's proposed new EU Commission. But lawmakers in the EU parliament rejected her nomination, saying she was unqualified.

Cerar had to overcome major objections to put forward Bulc from his coalition partners, who instead backed European parliamentarian Tanja Fajon, whose candidature had also been supported by European conservatives and Socialists.