The European Parliament is poised to accept the new European Commission, following the resolution of a dispute involving the Bulgarian nominee.
Rumiana Jeleva withdrew her candidacy for the post of EU commissioner for humanitarian aid after fellow politicians accused her of incompetence and dubious business practices. Bulgaria has named World Bank official Kristalina Georgieva to replace her.
The parliament cannot veto an individual commissioner-designate, but can threaten to block the team as a whole if it has doubts about one or more nominees.
Resignation causes delay
European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek has received 25 of the 26 letters from the parliamentary committees which interviewed the nominees. He now awaits only the letter evaluating Jeleva's replacement, Kristalina Georgieva, whose confirmation hearing is not scheduled until February 3.
The dispute over Jeleva's qualifications derailed commission head Jose Manuel Barroso's goal of having his new cabinet up and running on February 1.
However, center-right European People's Party (EPP) group leader Joseph Daul expressed confidence about the nominees.
"I think (Barroso's) team is going to be approved with a very, very large majority," he told journalists at a press conference.
The EU Commission is appointed every five years and has regulatory, legislative and policy-shaping powers in the 27-nation European Union. The final vote of confidence is now scheduled for February 9 in Strasbourg.
Editor: Susan Houlton