Kristalina Georgieva first joined the World Bank in 1993 and became the CEO in 2017. (Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

World Bank CEO Emerges as Contender to Lead Next EU Commission

(Bloomberg) -- European Union leaders raised the possibility of making Bulgaria’s Kristalina Georgieva, the chief executive officer of the World Bank, the next president of the EU Commission, two people familiar with the discussions said.

The position is one of three top roles up for grabs in the coming months, alongside the presidencies of the European Central Bank and the European Council. With governments engaged in intense horsetrading to fill the positions, leaders discussed potential names at a summit in Sibiu, Romania last week, with Georgieva emerging as a strong contender for the commission role, the people said.

World Bank CEO Emerges as Contender to Lead Next EU Commission

The process will step up a gear after elections to the European Parliament next week and leaders will start to narrow down their options at another summit scheduled for May 28 in Brussels.

Georgieva is a former vice-president of the commission and was budget commissioner between 2014 and 2016 when she oversaw the first reduction in the EU’s multiannual budget. She first joined the World Bank in 1993 and took up her current position in 2017. Since April she’s served under bank president David Malpass, a Donald Trump nominee who’s attacked the bank’s lending to developing countries. A World Bank spokesperson said the institution doesn’t engage in speculation about its staff.

Europe’s Center-Right

Like the current commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, Georgieva is a member of the center-right alliance forecast to win most seats in the European Parliament elections and that could prove a boost to her candidacy.

She would also check a lot of other boxes for the role. Many EU governments think that at least one of the jobs should go to a woman for the first time and are pushing for eastern Europe to be represented. Her appointment would give France and Germany, the EU’s two most powerful countries, more leeway to fill at least one of the other two positions.

Also at the Sibiu summit, European Soclialists nominated Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to negotiate on their behalf after the election, El Correo reported. Sanchez is the group’s biggest player after his victory in last month’s general election.

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