THE FORMER Slovak Ambassador to the European Union, Maroš Šefčovič, was appointed as the country’s new representative in the European Commission (EC) on September 23 and, if approved by EC President José Manuel Barroso, will join the College of Commissioners for just one month before the current mandate expires.
Šefčovič, who was nominated by the ruling Smer party to be ambassador in Brussels, will assume the EC’s portfolio on education, training, culture and youth. He replaces Ján Figeľ who has served as Slovakia’s first and only commissioner since its entry into the EU in 2004.
Figeľ resigned on September 21 after he was elected chairman of the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) political party a few days earlier.
The State Secretary of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Oľga Algayerová, believes Brussels will accept the Slovak government’s nominee, the SITA newswire reported.
Prime Minister Robert Fico said earlier that he would like the new appointee to serve not only until the end of the current EC term, but also in the next term. Algayerová said everything depends on the outcome of the Irish referendum on the Lisbon Treaty in early October. This will determine the next steps as well as Slovakia’s chances to reach its aspiration of acquiring responsibility for the EC’s energy portfolio.
“Šefčovič is a great diplomat with a lot of experience in the area of European policies but he has no special competencies in the energy sector,” Radovan Geist, the editor-in-chief of the EurActiv.sk portal told The Slovak Spectator, adding, however, that it is quite common for members of the College of Commissioners to be diplomats rather than experts in their field of responsibility.
28. Sep 2009 at 0:00 | Michaela Terenzani