Mariya Gabriel was born on 20 May 1979 in Gotse Delchev, Bulgaria. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in ‘Bulgarian and French Philology’ at the Paisii Hilendarski University of Plovdiv (in 2001). She graduated with a Master’s degree in Comparative Politics and International Relations at the Doctoral Academy of Political Science, Bordeaux in 2003. From 2004 to 2008 she was a research assistant at the Bordeaux Institute of Political Studies, France.
Mariya Gabriel was elected three times as Member of the European Parliament – in 2009, 2014 and 2019. She engaged actively in the work of the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality. Between 2014 and 2017 she was Vice-Chair of the EPP Group in the European Parliament. She is a two-time winner of the prestigious MEP of the Year Award. She is the first Vice-President of the European People’s Party (EPP) and Vice-President of EPP Women.
From July 2017 until November 2019, Mariya Gabriel was European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society. Her main areas of work were on digital skills, the European Artificial Intelligence Strategy, the Digital Europe programme, the fight against disinformation and fake news, and high-performance computing technologies.
From December 2019 until 10 May 2023, Mariya Gabriel was European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth. Under her leadership the Horizon Europe, Erasmus+ and Creative Europe programmes achieved an unprecedented budget for the period 2021-2027 and put at the forefront new European initiatives, among which are the roll out of the European Universities Alliances, the New European Innovation Agenda, the role of young researchers in the European Research Area, unlocking the potential of the cultural and creative sectors in Europe, and the European Year of Youth 2022. She led the work on making the European Education Area a reality by 2025.
Mariya Gabriel has been the recipient of numerous European and international awards: the Annual Award of the Vienna Economic Forum "Partner of the Year 2020" for her contribution to economic development; the Technovisionaire Award for Excellence in Research, Technology, Innovation and Business; the ENTREPS International Board of Sustainable Businesses and Global Innovation Award; the “Tech.eu” leadership award in support of startups and the innovation ecosystems in Europe; the award “Donna é Innovazione”. In 2022, the leading news site EU-Startups.com ranked her among the ‘Top 100 most influential women in Europe in the startup and venture capital space’.