Ján Figeľ


Ján Figeľ

Infobox_Officeholder | name =Ján Figeľ


order =European Commissioner for Education, Training & Culture
term_start =22 November, 2004
term_end =
predecessor =Dalia Grybauskaitė
successor =Incumbent
order2 =Enterprise & Information Society
term_start2 =1 May, 2004
term_end2 =11 November, 2004
predecessor2 =Olli Rehn
successor2 =Günter Verheugen and Viviane Reding
birth_date =birth date and age|1960|01|20
birth_place =Vranov nad Topľou, Slovakia
profession =politician
party =Kresťanskodemokratické hnutie (EPP)|

Ján Figeľ (born 20 January 1960) is a Slovak politician, currently serving as European Commissioner for Education, Training, and Culture. His area of responsibility also covers sport, youth, and relations with civil society.

Early career

Born in Vranov nad Topľou, Figeľ studied power electronics at the Technical University of Košice for five years, beginning in 1978. From 1983 he worked as a research and development scientist for ZPA Prešov. He joined the conservative Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) in 1990 and was elected to the National Council of the Slovak Republic in 1992, serving on its Foreign Affairs Committee and becoming a member of Slovakia's delegation to the Council of Europe a year later.

In 1998 Figeľ left his parliamentary seat and was appointed State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Unlike most of his colleagues in the European Commission, he never rose to a cabinet-level position, but led Slovakia's accession negotiations with the European Union until 2003. He also represented the Slovak government in the European Convention which drafted the European Constitution. He returned to the National Council in 2002 where he chaired its Foreign Affairs Committee, stepping down in 2004 to take up his Commission post.

From 1995 to 2000 Figeľ lectured in international relations at Trnava University. He is married with four children.

European Commission

Figeľ served briefly in the Prodi Commission. From Slovakia's accession to the European Union on 1 May 2004 to the confirmation of the Barroso Commission later that year he jointly held the Enterprise and Information Society portfolio, sharing his role for most of that period with the Finnish appointee Olli Rehn, also new to the job. The Slovak government nominated Figeľ for the incoming Barroso Commission which took office on 22 November 2004. His appointment to the Education, Training, Culture and Multilingualism portfolio was regarded as something of a disappointment. Figeľ himself said that the role was not his "primary choice", but he accepted it "as a challenge".

From January 1, 2007, in the enlarged Barroso Commission after the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the European Union, responsibility for multilingualism is transferred to Commissioner for Multilingualism, Romanian Leonard Orban.

election hearing

Questioned by the European Parliament, Figeľ said that the goal of a true European labour market would require more investment in education, professional training, mobility, and simpler Europe-wide acknowledgment of qualifications. He said that the promotion of education was vital to the aims set out in the Lisbon Strategy.

He told MEPs that he would like all children in the EU to be taught at least two foreign languages at school, and also stressed his support for UNESCO.

Following his hearing Figeľ received broad but not especially enthusiastic support from MEPs, with the PES describing his performance as "basically satisfactory" and "enough to give him our support", but criticising him for "not distancing himself from the Conservative Christian position as the only cultural tradition."

External links

* [http://ec.europa.eu/commission_barroso/figel/index_en.htm Official website]


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