Rumiana Jeleva

Rumiana Jeleva
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
27 July 2009  27 January 2010
Prime Minister Boyko Borisov
Preceded by Ivailo Kalfin
Succeeded by Nikolay Mladenov
Personal details
Born (1969-04-18) 18 April 1969
Nova Zagora, Bulgaria
Political party Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria
Alma mater Sofia University
Magdeburg University

Rumiana Ruseva Jeleva Bulgarian: Румяна Русева Желева (born on April 18, 1969 in the town of Nova Zagora) was Bulgaria's minister of foreign affairs (July 2009 – January 2010), the third woman to hold this office after Irina Bokova and Nadezhda Mihailova. Jeleva was a key figure in the "GERB" political party which won the 2009 parliamentary elections. From 2007–2009 she served as Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and headed the Bulgarian delegation in the EPP Group. She was nominated by Prime Minister Boyko Borisov as Commissioner in the "Barroso II Commission" and was affiliated with the European People's Party (EPP).[1][2] However, an article in the German newspaper Die Welt accused her husband of links with the Russian mafia.[3]

Jeleva holds a B.A. in sociology from the University of Sofia (1995) and a PhD in sociology from Otto von Guericke University of Magdeburg (2003).[4]


The Bulgarian pronunciation of the name Jeleva is [ˈʒɛlɛvɐ], with the [ʒ]-sound of English pleasure (voiced palato-alveolar fricative). According to the current official standards for the Romanization of Bulgarian, her name should be transliterated as "Zheleva". Because of this confusion, some people erroneously pronounce the name with a y-sound, [j].

Failure in EC hearings and end of political career

Jeleva was Bulgaria's nominee for European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response. During her January 2010 confirmation hearing, she repeatedly failed to answer questions regarding allegations over her financial interests. She also failed to demonstrate sufficient competence in the areas she was to oversee.[5] Her defensive and seemingly arrogant attitude and her poor language skills further jeopardized her candidacy.[5] Facing a storm of disapproval at home, on January 19, 2010, Jeleva sent a letter of resignation to Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, stepping down as both commissioner-designate and Minister of Foreign Affairs, and putting an end to her political career.[6][7] She was replaced as commissioner-designate by Kristalina Georgieva and as Minister of Foreign Affairs by Nikolay Mladenov.

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Political offices
Preceded by
Ivaylo Kalfin
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Nikolay Mladenov
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