Page last updated at 12:26 GMT, Wednesday, 13 January 2010

MEP doubts over Commission nominee Rumiana Jeleva

Bulgarian candidate Rumiana Jeleva
Ms Jeleva failed to convince some MEPs about her suitability

Bulgaria's candidate for a post in the new European Commission is under pressure to dispel concerns about her past ownership of a consultancy firm.

Euro MPs have asked Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and the European Parliament's legal service to look into the matter further.

The candidate, Rumiana Jeleva, faced tough questioning from MEPs on Tuesday. She denied any wrongdoing.

MEPs can veto the whole Commission if they oppose one of its members.

A Bulgarian liberal MEP, Antonyia Parvanova, disputed Ms Jeleva's declaration that she had ended her involvement with the Bulgarian firm Global Consult in 2007.

Ms Parvanova claims she was still managing the company until 2009.

Any undeclared financial interest would put Ms Jeleva in breach of European Union rules.

Ms Jeleva has been nominated to be EU Commissioner for International Co-operation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response.

"I have declared everything I was obliged to declare," she told MEPs. "I have nothing to hide."

Liberal MEP Andrew Duff was among those voicing concern. "It is fair to say there are serious doubts as to whether we would back her," he told Reuters news agency.

MEPs will vote on 26 January on the whole Commission. It cannot take office without the parliament's approval.

In 2004, Mr Barroso was forced to withdraw Italy's nominee for the post of justice commissioner, Rocco Buttiglione, because MEPs disliked his opposition to gay rights.

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