Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev said his country takes on the role in the midst of "an era complicated by the global financial crisis and tectonic shifts taking place in the global order."
In this role, Kazakhstan will chair the negotiations on the European security dialogue within the OSCE which some countries continue to grant much importance to its framework for European security dialogue.
However, several OSCE member countries in the West say Kazakhstan does not qualify to hold the group's chairmanship because of its questionable democratic record, and that Mr Nazarbayev, who has served as president since Kazakhstan became independent after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, has been criticised for curbing political activities by the opposition and imposing heavy restrictions hampering the freedom of the nation's press.
Undeterred however, Kazakhstan says it will fully support efforts aimed at bringing the East and West together in order to develop better understanding of the key issues of the modern world.
Founded in July 1973, the OSCE is the world's largest security-oriented intergovernmental organisation, with a mandate that includes issues such as arms control, human rights, freedom of the press and ensuring free and fair elections.
It is an ad hoc organization formed under the United Nations Charter (Chap. VIII), and involves 56 participating States are from Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia and North America.
In a similar model to the European Council, it has a rotating chairmanship, although unlike the council the chairmanship changes annually rather than every six months.
Last year was the turn of Greece, and in 2011 the chairmanship will move on to Lithuania, then Ireland the following year.
These documents distributed were predominantly in Bulgarian (although some in German) - which meant very few of the parliamentarians present were able to read them.
German MEP Gabriele Zimmer intervened to condemn such distribution and said "we should suspend this hearing until we have a proper atmosphere." The session was not suspended but Parliamentary officials were instructed to take the papers back, but a number of people refused to hand them over generating an air of disorder and chaos.
But I've been doing some digging, and thanks largely to Google Language Tools (by no means perfect but a substantial help here), we can look closer at these documents, which are Mrs Jeleva's official declarations to the Bulgarian Court of Auditors, which she is by law required to do annually.
However, these still paint quite a confusing picture.
Her 2009 declaration (web) (pdf) for example, states "nothing to declare" on all accounts, stating that she owns no property and has no source of income of any kind.
The year previous, her submitted 2008 declaration (web) (pdf) records "refunds" from the European Parliament for an amount totalling €73,000 (item 7.3) as well as shares in the Global Consult firm amounting to some €2,500 (item 7.2). This figure similarly appears in her 2007 declaration (web) (pdf - item 7.3).
Also circulated in the meeting were Mrs Jeleva's financial declarations to the European Parliament.
One of them, filed on 20 June 2007, says that she is the manager of the Global Consult company.
Another, filed on 14 November 2007, says she has "nothing to declare" on all accounts, and the same goes for the years 2008 (filed 9 January 2009) and 2009 (filed 1 July).
So why is that interest stated on the Bulgarian records until 2008, not stated at all on the numerous European Parliament declarations after June 2007? What happened to that company?
It is indeed somewhat ironic that it would in fact be Mrs Jeleva (above) who would be responsible for taking the lead in the EU's 'Crisis Response' in her potential position as Commissioner for the newly-created International Co-operation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response portfolio. But instead Commission President José Manuel Barroso is the one who needs to resolve this crisis, and quick.
In the hearing and in reply to questions asked by Thijs Berman (S&D, NL) at the beginning of the meeting and later on by Michael Cashman (S&D, UK) and Judith Sargentini (Greens/EFA, NL), Mrs Jeleva was eventually forced to declare: "I don’t have anything to hide (...) I would like to point out that I have been a public person since 2007. I have declared everything I have been obliged to. Any allegations against my husband or myself are totally, completely unfounded."
But fellow Bulgarian MEP, Antonyia Parvanova, begged to differ. "What Madame Jeleva has said I am afraid is not the truth,” she said adding that she had seen the official Bulgarian documents showing that Mrs Jeleva had managed this company until 9 June 2009. [Note: any undeclared financial interest would put Jeleva in breach of European Parliament rules (as a former MEP) and European Commission rules (as a commissioner).]
Ms Parvanova then claimed that Mrs Jeleva still owned a 60% share in Global Consult, which has been sold and renamed in the meantime, again in contradiction with Bulgarian law.
The Commissioner-designate then did not do herself many favours by seeming to contradict herself in her response, saying she had anticipated the attacks but was unable to indicate the amount for which she had sold her shares in the company.
But it wasn't just on this delicate issue that MEPs remained unsatisfied with her answers. Indeed, it could be argued she failed to show sufficient knowledge of the policy area she had been assigned to.
She responded to most questions in only general terms, pledging to work in cooperation with other commissioners and the Parliament, to visit hotspots personally, and to prepare scenarios in advance. A standard tactic nonetheless but in response to one question, she unbelievably showed her ignorance of the current state the Gulf of Aden (a global hotspot situated between Yemen and Somalia where attacks by pirates have multiplied and Bulgarian nationals among others are being held hostage) saying how she wishes to view and inspect such areas for herself, and to reassure herself about the "communication between field expertise and the local authorities contributing to relief efforts by allowing full and open access to the professional aid workers."
Later on in another round of questioning, she was pressed to comment on the humanitarian situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, to which she answered that it was for a lower-ranking official to know such details, adding she was not applying for the position of director-general. Oops...
But at least she was a little realistic, stating an early contender for the understatement of the year award with: "I can assure you that I will not solve the whole problem in Gaza."
“How good are you at dealing with 27, or it could be any number, that don't believe what you are saying?" enquired Bill Newton Dunn (ALDE, UK) while Hannes Swoboda (S&D, AT) said in a statement “I don’t give a final judgement because we have to decide as a group, of course as a whole, but for the Socialists and Democrats, for the moment, it is a no, that is for the moment.”
Compatriot Ivaylo Kalfin (S&D, BG), who served as his country's foreign minister before Mrs Jeleva took over in 2009, said "I don't feel like commenting. It was shameful. Jeleva did not do well."
"She spoke in bad English, and did not give good answers. She told outright lies about the conflict of interest issue," he was quoted by Novinite as saying on national radio.
But it was Dutch Green MEP Mrs Sargentini, a staunch opponent in her questioning during the hearing, who was most outspoken afterwards saying Mrs Jeleva's performance on policy issues was very poor.
"If I was the Bulgarian government, I would immediately nominate somebody else," she said.
Critics have pointed to her lack of policy experience and her apparently relatively poor English language skills (although fluent in German), which will no doubt be important since all designates (expect Ms Jeleva) declare themselves fluent in English...
It is perhaps with these considerations in mind that her original allocation to the consumer protection dossier was revised to instead nominate her for the entirely new portfolio of International Co-operation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response - which is certainly seen as one of the least important dossiers on offer.
And if that wasn't enough, reports in the European press have brought to light allegations of her husband having connections with organised crime (the respected German paper Die Welt even referred to her recently as the "gangster bride") and her past position as the owner and/or manager of a trading company called Global Consult and another called Auto Spa, which she is alleged to have not declared.
Bulgarian legislation stipulates that the MEPs are not entitled to conduct any other sort of paid activities in addition to their work in Brussels, and the debate into a potential conflict of interest raged upon her election to the Parliament as an MEP in 2007.
Sensing that MEPs will look to delve into these undeclared financial interests and her personal and family background, Commission president José Manuel Barroso has apparently taken the unprecedented step of sending a letter to MEPs telling them that any accusations levelled against the Bulgarian EU commissioner nominee must be backed up by proof.
"Anyone accusing anyone of any wrongdoing should of course present corresponding evidence, as in our democratic societies the rule of law implies that the accuser should prove accusations," he writes in the letter.
"All the commissioner-designates' declaration of interests have been looked at carefully in terms of respect for the terms of the Code of Conduct. Ms Jeleva confirmed to me that her declaration, like those of other commissioners, respects the Code."
Speaking ahead of the hearings in a press conference on Monday morning, Andrew Duff MEP (ALDE, UK) said that "we are all conscious of the press speculation, especially in the German press, on the family's business concerns. And I am certain that the hearing of her is to be focussed upon some of those issues."
Mr Duff, who is charged with overseeing how the hearings are carried out, also said that MEPs would not hesitate to ask Mr Barroso for more information if they felt that a candidate was not forthcoming enough.
With the Parliament only permitted by the Treaties the opportunity to vote on the entire Commission and not on each individual candidate, Mr Barroso will be keen to ensure each candidate is to Parliament's satisfaction.
It will therefore be interesting to see how Ms Jeleva's Hearing goes this afternoon and to what extent members will interrogate her on these matters in light of Mr Barroso's letter.
To watch the proceedings yourself, click here. (Hearing runs from 3.30-6.30pm GMT).
But cast your mind back to the events of six years ago (2004), when after pressure applied by MEPs before its final vote ultimately led to two changes in the line-up of Commissioners and one proposed candidate having his designated portfolio changed. An undoubted victory for the Parliament.
(It is worth noting here that one candidate due to appear this afternoon - the Brit Catherine Ashton (left) - is safe in her role after being named the EU High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy - see previous blog.)
Parliament will hold its final vote on Mr Barroso's new team on 26th January at an especially convened plenary session in Brussels.
So there remains plenty of time for drama to unfold... and 2010 has only just begun!
See the timetable for the hearing here (pdf).