Mariya Gabriel

Source: © Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

The EU’s research commissioner, Mariya Gabriel, has submitted her resignation and is leaving to help Bulgaria form a new coalition government. The European Commission announced her departure on 15 May, just days after she was selected by her party’s leader, Boyko Borisov, to be Bulgaria’s next prime minister and charged with establishing a government. Gabriel has served as the European commissioner for research, innovation, culture, education and youth since 2019.

Effective immediately, Commission executive vice president Margrethe Vestager and vice president Margaritis Schinas will temporarily oversee Gabriel’s portfolio. Vestager will be responsible for innovation and research, and Schinas will be in charge of education, culture and youth.

‘I am grateful in particular to Commissioner Gabriel for the excellent implementation of our flagship innovation programme Horizon Europe, for the strong push for innovation and start-ups through the European Innovation Council and for her personal engagement in making the European year of youth a success,’ said the Commission’s president, Ursula von der Leyen. She also thanked Gabriel for her ‘constructive and friendly contribution to the work of the college of commissioners’.

Last month, Gabriel met with UK science minister Michelle Donelan in Brussels to discuss UK association to Horizon Europe. That was amid renewed calls for the UK government to agree terms that will allow the country’s scientists to participate in major European research programmes like Horizon Europe. Negotiations are still ongoing.

Correction: The month of Gabriel’s departure was changed from March to May on 23 May 2023