The Parliamentary elections held in Bulgaria on 02nd of April 2023 placed first with 69 seats out of 240 seats the GERB (Граждани за европейско развитие на България)-SDS (Съюз на демократичните сили). The GERB-SDS is a 2 party coalition from center right.


Mariya Gabriel, as a member of the GERB party had been proposed to be part of the new coalition and to join the government as Deputy Prime Minister of Bulgaria and Minister of Foreign Affairs. It was then impossible for her to cumulate mandates and on the 15th of May 2023 she decided to resign from her position as European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth.


Nominated as European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth on 01st of December, her role was quite broad as she was in charge to launch Horizon Europe. But shortly after starting this new position, she had to handle the COVID-19 Pandemic and diverted EU research money to develop a new vaccine. Some critics came also from the Beneficiaries of Horizon Europe as the publication of the new Framework Program had been delayed for 8 months due to the pandemics.

She also had to deal with the Russia´s war in Ukraine since 2022. She was one of the first to have a decisive reaction by deciding the Russian organization could not have access anymore to Horizon Europe and Erasmus +.


It was then necessary for Bulgaria to propose a new Commissioner and the choice was made on Mrs. Iliana Ivanova. On 28th of June 2023, The President of the European Commission proposed to the European Parliament and to the European Council to appoint Mrs. Ivanova as new Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth.


Mrs. Ivanova has an extended experience in the public administration and started to integrate the EU environment when she had been elected as Member of the European Parliament between 2009 and 2012. In 2013, she had been nominated as Member of the European Court of Auditor for the audit chamber II (Investment for cohesion, growth and inclusion) until her nomination.


After her successful hearing held on 05th of September 2023, the European Parliament approved her nomination (522 MEPs voted in favour, 27 against, 51 abstained) on 12th of September. The European Council officially appointed Mrs. Iliana Ivanova on 19th of September 2023.


If the mission by the President of the European Commission did not change from the one given to Mrs. Gabriel, Mrs. Ivanova has a very important challenge ahead her as she only has less than a year to leave her mark before the new Commission is elected.