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Slovenia's EU commissioner-designate Janez Lenarčič assigned the portfolio of crisis management

Janez Lenarčič, the Slovenian EU commissioner-designate, has been assigned the portfolio of crisis management in the next European Commission, as President-elect Ursula von der Leyen announced the distribution of posts.

Janez Lenarčič, the Slovenian EU Commissioner designate | Author Tamino Petelinšek, STA

As Von der Leyen announced, the job assigned to Lenarčič would correspond to the portfolio of humanitarian aid and crisis management in the outgoing commission, which has been the responsibility of the Cypriot Hristos Stilianides.

Lenarčič, so far Slovenia's ambassador to the EU, said that crisis management was a significant but demanding field of the EU's work, involving the saving of lives and helping people in need.

The department he will head is in charge of European civil protection and humanitarian aid, as part of which Lenarčič will have the role of the European coordinator for rapid response. He will be supported by the directorate general for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).

"The number of people in need of help keeps increasing world-wide due to the consequences of ever more dramatic climate change and violent conflicts," Lenarčič said, adding that growing humanitarian needs should be matched by proper and effectively applied funding.

He believes that the portfolio he was entrusted with addresses a vital part of the EU's response to topical global challenges, which call for sustainable, coordinated and innovative action by the EU and member countries.

Lenarčič understands the portfolio assignment as an acknowledgement of Slovenia's "strong tradition in providing humanitarian aid and civil protection".

Pm Marjan Šarec said the portfolio was good. "Crisis management includes humanitarian aid, civil protection - helping people in accidents and during crises. Slovenia is famous for having a good relief and protection system," he said.

"It reacts very well in crises that hit the population and others learn from us. I am confident the Slovenian commissioner will be able to contribute a lot in this field," Šarec added in a statement while visiting Russia.

Defence Minister Karl Erjavec, whose department covers civil protection and disaster relief, similarly said the Lenarčič portfolio was "important for Slovenia and the EU".

The commissioners-designate will undergo hearings before the European Parliamentary committees between 30 September and 8 October, after which the plenary is to take a vote on the line-up as a whole at a session running between 21 and 24 October.

Lenarčič said he would use his time over the next few weeks to prepare thoroughly for the hearing.

Five years ago, Slovenia's original commissioner nominee Alenka Bratušek failed to pass the committee hearing, so she withdrew her bid. The government then nominated Violeta Bulc, who went on to become transport commissioner.