- Ján Figeľ
Infobox_Officeholder | name =Ján Figeľ
European Commissioner for Education, Training & Culture
22 November, 2004
order2 =Enterprise & Information Society
1 May, 2004
11 November, 2004
Günter Verheugenand Viviane Reding
birth_date =birth date and age|1960|01|20
Vranov nad Topľou, Slovakia
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.
Vranov nad Topľou, Figeľ studied power electronicsat the Technical University of Košicefor five years, beginning in 1978. From 1983 he worked as a research and developmentscientist for ZPA Prešov. He joined the conservative Christian Democratic Movement(KDH) in 1990 and was elected to the National Council of the Slovak Republicin 1992, serving on its Foreign Affairs Committee and becoming a member of Slovakia's delegation to the Council of Europea year later.
In 1998 Figeľ left his parliamentary seat and was appointed
State Secretaryof 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 Unionuntil 2003. He also represented the Slovak government in the European Conventionwhich 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 relationsat TrnavaUniversity. He is married with four children.
Figeľ served briefly in the
Prodi Commission. From Slovakia's accession to the European Union on 1 May 2004to the confirmation of the Barroso Commissionlater 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".
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.
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."
* [http://ec.europa.eu/commission_barroso/figel/index_en.htm Official website]
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