New Bulgarian EU commissioner to take over digital portfolio

BRUSSELS, May 16 (Reuters) - Maria Gabriel, the new Bulgarian European Union commissioner, will take over responsibility for the bloc’s digital strategy, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in a statement on Tuesday.

European Parliament lawmaker Gabriel was nominated as an EU commissioner by the Bulgarian Prime Minister last week to replace Kristalina Georgieva, who became chief executive officer of the World Bank at the start of the year.

“Following our recent discussions, I would like you to be the Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society,” Juncker wrote in his mission letter for the new commissioner.

Gabriel will have a hearing in the European Parliament in the coming weeks before being confirmed.

Her portfolio will include responsibility for the bloc’s strategy to knock down national barriers in the online world and give European companies a better chance at competing against U.S. tech giants.

Guenther Oettinger was in charge of the EU’s digital strategy, but has moved to replace Georgieva as head of budget and human resources. (Reporting by Julia Fioretti; Editing by Mark Potter)