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Johannes Hahn (born 2 December 1957) is an Austrian politician who has served as European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations since November 2014. He previously served as European Commissioner for Regional Policy from 2010 to 2014 and as Austrian minister for science and research from 2007 to 2010.[1]

Johannes Hahn
European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations
Assumed office
1 November 2014
PresidentJean-Claude Juncker
Preceded byŠtefan Füle (Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy)
European Commissioner for Regional Policy
In office
9 February 2010 – 1 November 2014
PresidentJosé Manuel Barroso
Preceded byPaweł Samecki
Succeeded byCorina Crețu
Minister of Science and Research
In office
11 January 2007 – 30 September 2010
ChancellorAlfred Gusenbauer
Preceded byElisabeth Gehrer
Succeeded byReinhold Mitterlehner
Personal details
Johannes Hahn

(1957-12-02) 2 December 1957 (age 61)
Vienna, Austria
Political partyPeople's Party
Spouse(s)Marina Bleibtreu (divorced)
Alma materUniversity of Vienna

He is a member of the Austrian People's Party, part of the European People's Party.[2][3]


Early lifeEdit

Hahn studied at the University of Vienna and began his political career in the youth organisation of the Austrian People's Party (JVP), where he was chairman of the Vienna group from 1980 to 1985.

Hahn graduated with a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Vienna in 1987. In May 2007 media scholar Stefan Weber accused Hahn of copying numerous pages of his PhD thesis from other books without citing them correctly.[4] The suspected plagiarism was not confirmed by an expert committee from the University of Zurich that looked into the matter.[5] Other academics contested this evaluation.[6] The University of Vienna looked into the matter but decided not to start an examination procedure, saying that Hahn never presented "other people's intellectual property" as his own.[7] Renewed allegation emerged of plagiarism in February 2011, when Austrian Green MP Peter Pilz commissioned Stefan Weber to re-assess Hahn's PhD thesis.[8] End of May, the expert group published its findings, listing 76 cases of plagiarism, which together account for at least 17.2% of Hahn's 254-page doctoral thesis.[9] Hahn denied the charges and claimed they were "politically motivated, hardly surprising and not relevant."[10] In November 2011 the University of Vienna released a statement saying that in the university's opinion, Hahn's doctoral thesis wasn't plagiarism. The University of Vienna had asked the Austrian Agency for Research Integrity to examine Hahn's doctoral thesis. The agency based its verdict on reports by three external experts. Neither the Agency for Research Integrity nor the University of Vienna would reveal the identities of the external experts.[11]

From 1987 to 1989 Hahn worked as Secretary General of the Austrian Managers Association, and was active in the Austrian Federal Youth Council (ÖBJR) and the General Secretariat of the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP). In 1992 Hahn became Secretary of the Austrian People’s Party in Vienna and, in 1996, he became a member of the Vienna regional council, where he seated till 2003. In the same years (1997–2003) he served as a member of the supervisory board at Novomatic, an online gaming and casino management system firm, of which he was appointed CEO in 2003. From 2003 to 2007 Hahn was a member of the Vienna regional government (without portfolio). Since 2004 Hahn has been Chairman of the Austrian People's Party in Vienna and, as such, was the party frontrunner in the October 2005 regional elections in which an increase in votes for the ÖVP (and a slight loss in votes for the FPÖ) made the ÖVP the second strongest party in the regional parliament, with 18 seats.

Johannes Hahn has one son, born in 1988.

Minister of Science and ResearchEdit

Hahn in 2007

Johannes Hahn was sworn in as Minister of Science and Research on 11 January 2007 ("Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 October 2009. Retrieved 4 January 2010.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)), initially as part of the Austrian Federal Government under Gusenbauer until 2008, then from 2 December 2008 as part of the Faymann government, in which he also was Minister of Justice for an interim period until Judge Claudia Bandion-Ortner, who had been nominated by the ÖVP, could be sworn in on 15 January 2009.[12]

Amongst other things, in his work Hahn has placed a particular focus on improving public relations for people and institutions working in and around the fields of science and research. Numerous campaigns, events and projects have promoted “Children's University” projects, the "Sparkling Science" programme, the "Visibility Measures" to raise public awareness of the work done by women scientists, the fForte Coaching Programme, the “Long Night of Research”,[13] as well as various awards, such as the Wittgenstein Prize.[14] Hahn's aim has been to bring more researchers into the public eye as, for example, he publicly called upon the Austrian Academy of Sciences to "come out of their ivory tower".[15][16]

During Hahn's term of office, all graduates of degree programmes at Fachhochschulen were given completely equal status to their university graduate counterparts in the civil service[17] and all students enrolled in Fachhochschule study programmes have been recognised as full members of the Austrian Students' Association (ÖH) since December 2007.[18] In April 2008, Hahn announced the first ever budget increase (average of 13.7 per cent more per university place) in the history of Austrian Fachhochschulen.[19]

One of Hahn's aims has been to raise public awareness of the great number of successful women in science and research in Austria by means of the so-called "Visibility Measures" which were launched in 2008 by the.[20] This included media training,[21] a film script competition on the topic of women scientists,[22][23] the fForte Coaching Programme[24][25][26] as well as the appointment of women scientists to management positions[27]

In co-operation with Austrian booksellers, Hahn launched an initiative in autumn 2007 to select the best scientific book of the year.[28][29][30][31] In 2008 Hahn created the "Award of Excellence" for the best doctoral theses in Austria, as a way of recognising the work of young scientists and making the public more aware of their activities. Each of them received 2,500 euro in prize money. Nominations for these awards were made by the vice-chancellors of Austrian universities.[32][33] Hahn has also continued the tradition of awarding the Wittgenstein Prize, a science prize with the highest money value in Austria (1.5 million euro), which attracts a great deal of media attention and is tied to research activities in the following six years.[34] The Long Night of Research[35] was re-introduced under Minister Hahn after an interval of several years as an important way to communicate enthusiasm for and information about research and to provide a platform on which researchers can show to the wider public their work and their commitment.[36][37]

With Hahn as Minister of Science Austria finally become, on 1 July 2008, the 14th member of the European Southern Observatory (ESO), which astronomers had been calling for Austria to join for over thirty years .[38] Hahn himself stated that joining ESO had been one of the most significant political decisions in the field of research for 20 years, from which not only astronomers but also physicists, mathematicians, software specialists and high-tech companies would benefit.[39] At the beginning of 2009, contracts had been formulated that will benefit Austrian scientists to the total amount of 5 million euro,[40] leading to a boom in the field of Austrian astronomy.[41]

Hahn also announced in May 2009, during a parliamentary sub-committee debate on the Austrian science and research budget for 2009 and 2010, that he wanted to end Austria'’s 50-year membership of CERN as of 2010 because the costs were too high (up to 70 per cent of the total Austrian resources available for membership of research associations go for the 16 million euro annual CERN membership fee).[42] Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann publicly spoke out against a withdrawal from CERN.[43] An actual withdrawal would have also required a decision of the National Council.[44]

In addition to support for applied and economically oriented research in the field of climate research, Hahn has called for more resources for basic and adaptation research in Austria, which should be independent of financial interests and thus be sustainable.[45]

Hahn with some students protesting, 2009

During Hahn’s term of office, student grants were increased in 2007 by 12 per cent (maximum monthly grant 679 euro). In 2008 the limit on the amount that anyone receiving a student grant could earn in addition to their grant was raised to 8000 euro; the parental income level was raised by 20 per cent; study grants for students with children were increased (i.e. by raising age limits and a supplementary payment of 720 euro for each child); there were improvements for disabled students, as well as mobility grants – a complete course of study abroad was financed for the first time. In 2009 there was an increase of 33 per cent in performance-related grants (i.e. a further 2 million euro, or 2,800 more grants).[46][47][48][49][50][51][52]

Following uncertainty regarding the Austrian Science Fund (FWF)[53] budget in spring 2009, in autumn of the same year Hahn proposed introducing legislation on research financing that would regulate by law the budget for state expenditure on research until 2020. Public expenditure on research and development would increase by 2.5 million to 5 million per year by 2020, thus building confidence and developing and consolidating Austria as a research location.[54] Hahn particularly emphasised the importance of making a combined effort on all fronts, including the integration of educational policy, since education and training constitute the main pre-requisites of a competitive research location.[55]

European Commissioner for Regional PolicyEdit

In November 2009 Hahn was nominated by the Austrian Federal Government to succeed Benita Ferrero-Waldner as member of the European Commission from Austria. President Barroso appointed him European Commissioner for Regional Policy.[56] Hahn's appointment to the European Commission meant that he had to resign his position as chairman of the Austrian People's Party in Vienna, as commissioners of Barroso Commission II are not allowed to hold political office nationally, although party membership is permitted.[57]

He was twice appointed Acting Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship in Viviane Reding's stead, from 19 April 2014 – 25 May 2014 while she was on electoral campaign leave for the 2014 elections to the European Parliament and from 1 July 2014 – 16 July 2014 after she took up her seat.[58][59]

Hahn during the Munich Security Conference 2018

During his term as European Commissioner for Regional Policy (February 2010-November 2014) Johannes Hahn implemented the most ambitious and comprehensive reform of EU Regional Policy so far. The main achievement of the reform is the transformation of Regional Policy from a subvention- into a genuine investment policy, closely linked with EU economic governance and macro-economic conditions. This allows e.g. to modify programmes to support key structural reforms. The reform refocuses investments in the real economy and on priority areas which create sustainable jobs and foster growth such as the low carbon economy, support for small and medium enterprises, innovation & research, education and training. The introduction of clearly defined conditions as well as a better evaluation system make sure that the principle of "better spending" is actually safeguarded. Countries and regions will have to announce upfront what objectives they intend to achieve with the available resources and identify precisely how they will measure progress towards those goals. This will allow better monitoring and more focused investments. Based on the new regulation, European regions have developed so called smart specialisation strategies to identify their particular strengths and potentials as the basis for investments. The adoption of smart specialisation strategy was an ex-ante conditionality for the approval of regional programs for the period 2014-2020. Despite cuts in the overall EU budget, EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn succeeded to keep the high level of financial support for strategic investments in the new period (2014-2020): Funding for regional and cohesion policy in 2014-2020 amounts to 351,8 billion Euro. Taking into account the national contribution of member states, and the leverage effect of financial instruments, the overall impact of investments is likely to be about 600 billion Euro. Parts of the reform were already implemented in the last year of the Barroso term. Thanks to increased flexibility, allowing reprogramming of structural funds, the reformed Cohesion Policy paid also an important role in overcoming coping with the economic crisis. Measures in this context were e.g. reallocation of unused funds for education, training and employment as well as for providing urgently needed liquidity for enterprises . The reform, endorsed by the Council and European Parliament with overwhelming majority and strongly supported also by stakeholders and the Committee of the Regions, established Hahn's reputation as a "forward looking, bold reformer". [60][61]

Despite cuts in the overall EU budget, EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn succeeded to keep the high level of financial support for strategic investments in the new period (2014-2020): Funding for regional and cohesion policy in 2014-2020 amounts to 351,8 bn EUR. The reform, endorsed by the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament with overwhelming majority and strongly supported also by stakeholders and the Committee of the Regions, established Hahn's reputation as a "forward looking, bold reformer". More detailed information on the fundamental reform of Regional Policy can be found here: Cohesion Policy Reform in 10 points [62] The Reform of Cohesion Policy [63]

European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement NegotiationsEdit

With Turkey's EU Minister Ömer Çelik, July 2017

In the new Juncker Commission, Hahn was nominated to oversee the Union's enlargement and neighbourhood policies, now managed by a single Directorate-General of the European Commission, DG NEAR.

In his new portfolio, Commissioner Hahn launched,[64] together with High Representative Federica Mogherini, a comprehensive reform of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), as mandated by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.[65]

As Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood, Hahn oversaw the Union's response to the Syrian and Libyan civil wars and the war in Ukraine. He also oversaw, together with his colleagues, the EU's emergency response to the refugee crisis along the Balkan route, and managed the relations with Turkey before and after the failed 2016 coup, including in terms of assistance to the Syrian refugees based on the EU-Turkey deal.

24 November 2016 Johannes Hahn signed the agreement on financing the European Union Anti-Corruption Initiative in Ukraine.[66]



  1. ^ "Johannes Hahn, European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations". European Commission. 4 November 2014. Retrieved 18 February 2015.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "Barroso gets new EU Commission team", BBC News, 25 November 2009; Retrieved 28 November 2009
  3. ^ "Barroso II: 13 EPP Commissioners receive key portfolios"[permanent dead link], European People's Party, 27 November 2009; Retrieved 28 November 2009
  4. ^ Weber called it an "absolutely sloppy" work Abgeschrieben? Debatte über Hahns Doktorarbeit – Zitierregeln damals noch anders? Archived 11 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine ORF 24 May 2007.
  5. ^ Newspaper of the University of Vienna – online: Hahns Dissertation ist „nicht plagiatsverdächtig“. 11 June 2007. Retrieved 5 January 2010
  6. ^ According to Herbert Hrachovec, professor of philosophy at Vienna University, the Swiss experts only evaluated a small part of Hahn's dissertation. Die Begutachtungsfrist und der Minister Archived 29 September 2010 at the Wayback Machine Herbert Hrachovec. 14 August 2008, Retrieved 5 January 2010
    a) tabulation of critical sections [1] Archived 9 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine
    b) direct comparison of selected paragraphs of Hahn's work with those of the original authors: [2] Archived 2 March 2011 at the Wayback Machine, [3] Archived 2 March 2011 at the Wayback Machine
    In June 2009 Hrachovec published an evaluation of the first hundred pages of the paper and claimed that the paper contains dozens of uncited paragraphs, which question the assessability of the dissertation. Evalutation report regarding Hahn's dissertation by Herbert Hrachovec, html-document[permanent dead link] Herbert Hrachovec. 1 June 2009. Retrieved 5 January 2010
  7. ^ Nicht gerupft, sondern mit neuen Federn 27 October 2009. Retrieved 5 January 2010
  8. ^ Hahns Doktorarbeit wieder auf Prüfstand. In:, 22 February 2011, Retrieved 23 February 2011
  9. ^ Aigner, Lisa (23 May 2011). "Johannes Hahn hat sich Doktortitel 'erschlichen' [Johannes Hahn obtained doctor's degree by 'subreption']". (in German). Wien: Standard Verlagsgesellschaft m.b.H. Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  10. ^ Austrian commissioner faces plagiarism accusations. In:, 26 May 2011, Retrieved 27 May 2011
  11. ^ Schmidt, Katharina (4 November 2011). "Freispruch im Zweifel [Acquittal in Doubt]". Wiener Zeitung (in German). Republic of Austria.
  12. ^ EU's new regional chief: Europe can prove 'added value' Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  13. ^ Long night of research
  14. ^ "Wittgenstein Prize". Archived from the original on 9 February 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2010.
  15. ^ Raus aus dem Elfenbeinturm Der Standard. 30 June 2009.
  16. ^ Feuerwerke für die Forschung Der Standard. 5 February 2008
  17. ^ Beamte: FH-Absolventen Akademikern gleichgestellt Die Presse 5 July 2007.
  18. ^ ÖH-Wahl: Fachhochschulen feiern Premiere Die Presse 25 February 2009.
  19. ^ Bundesförderung: Mehr Geld für Fachhochschulen Die Presse 14 September 2008.
  20. ^ Ministry of Science and Research Archived 10 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ Wissenschaftlerin im Film: Nur mit strenger Frisur und Brille Die Presse 18 November 2008.
  22. ^ Drehbuchwettbewerb "Wissenschafterin im Film – Universität für Angewandte Kunst Wien. 17 March 2009.
  23. ^ Wissenschafterinnen sichtbar machen Archived 31 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine CeiberWeiber – Frauen Online Magazin. 14 May 2009.
  24. ^ fForte Coaching Programme
  25. ^ Coaching für Wissenschafterinnen Computerwelt. 16 June 2009.
  26. ^ Pressedienst Parlament – Hahn: Keine Einsparungen im Wissenschafts- und Forschungsbericht Sitzung des Wissenschaftsausschusses. 18 February 2009.
  27. ^ Sabine Ladstaetter, from Carinthia, was appointed the new director of the Austrian Archaeological Institute (ÖAI) and Irene Forstner-Mueller was appointed head of the Institute's Cairo branch and its excavations. Sabine Ladstätter und Irene Forstner-Müller für Österreichs Archäologie – Das Wirtschaftsmagazin für Frauen. 1 October 2009.
  28. ^ the best scientific book of the year
  29. ^ Gesucht: das beste Wissenschaftsbuch des Jahres ORF. 1 February 2008.
  30. ^ Die Idee zur Aktion – Woche des Wissens . Retrieved 13 December 2009. Archived 10 May 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  31. ^ Die Jury – Woche des Wissens . Retrieved 13 December 2009.[dead link]
  32. ^ Award of Excellence für 36 Dissertationen Der Standard. 2 December 2009.
  33. ^ Neue Auszeichnung für Dissertationen Die Presse. 10 September 2009.
  34. ^ Zwei Weltspitzenforscher Der Standard. 19 October 2009.
  35. ^ Long Night of Research
  36. ^ Dritte lange Nacht der Forschung bricht alle Rekorde APA-OTS. 2 November 2009.
  37. ^ Rekordbesuch bei Langer Nacht der Forschung Der Standard. 8 November 2009.
  38. ^ Astronomie: In den Süde, zu den Sternen Die Presse 23 April 2008.
  39. ^ Wissenschafter freuen sich über ESO-Beitritt Die Presse 24 April 2009.
  40. ^ Hochleistungsrechner für Wiener Astronomen Der Standard 21 January 2009.
  41. ^ Der Blick nach oben boomt Der Standard 2 July 2008.
  42. ^ press release 7 May 2009.
  43. ^ Faymann sagt Nein zum Ausstieg. Retrieved 18 May 2009
  44. ^ Die Presse: Österreich steigt beim CERN aus (letzter Absatz). 7 May 2009. Retrieved 25 October 2009.
  45. ^ Klimaschutz: Mehr Grundlagenforschung gefordert Die Presse. 21 August 2009.
  46. ^ Reaktionen: ÖH zufrieden – Für SPÖ und Opposition zu wenig Der Standard 13 July 2007.
  47. ^ Studienbeihilfen werden erhöht Der Standard 13 December 2007.
  48. ^ Wissenschaftsminister präsentiert Modell: Absage an Blasmusik & Co Der Standard 2008-02-10.
  49. ^ Wir fördern jährlich 300 neue Plätze Der Standard 19 December 2008.
  50. ^ ÖH Uni Graz: Regelung rechtswidrig Der Standard 6 February 2009.
  51. ^ Mehr Studienbeihilfe-Bezieher ab Herbst 2008 Die Presse 2007-10-22.
  52. ^ Höhere Stipendien und Studienchecker Die Presse 28 September 2008.
  53. ^ Austrian Science Fund (FWF)
  54. ^ Hahn: Forschung ist ein scheues Reh Der Standard 2009-08-27.
  55. ^ Hahn wünscht sich breite Diskussion über Forschungsstrategie Der Standard 20 May 2009.
  56. ^ Austria nominates johannes Hahn as commissioner Archived 1 November 2009 at the Wayback Machine Europolitics. 28 October 2009.
  57. ^ EU: Hahn darf nicht Wiener ÖVP leiten Kurier 28 October 2009.
  58. ^ EU Observer – Six Commissioners Head for EU Election Campaign Trail
  59. ^ KUNA – Barroso announces caretaker replacements following resignation of 4 EU Commissioners
  60. ^ Cohesion Policy Reform in 10 points
  61. ^ The Reform of Cohesion Policy
  62. ^ Cohesion Policy Reform in 10 points European Commission. 19 November 2013.
  63. ^ The Reform of Cohesion Policy European Commission. 2014.
  64. ^ Press Release: The EU launches a consultation on the future of its relations with neighbouring countries. European Commission. 4 March 2015.
  65. ^ Mission Letter to Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations European Commission. 1 November 2014.
  66. ^ "Ukraine and the EU to intensify and expand cooperation in the struggle against corruption and energy sphere". Official website of the President of Ukraine. 24 November 2016. Archived from the original on 17 May 2017. Retrieved 17 May 2018.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Benita Ferrero-Waldner
Austrian European Commissioner
Preceded by
Paweł Samecki
European Commissioner for Regional Policy
Succeeded by
Corina Crețu
Preceded by
Štefan Füle
as European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy
European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations