Maroš Šefčovič (Slovak pronunciation: [ˈmaɾɔʃ ˈʃɛftʃɔʋitʃ]; born 24 July 1966) is a Slovak diplomat and politician who stood for the office in the 2019 Slovak presidential election, which he lost against Zuzana Čaputová.
He has been member of the European Commission since 2009, previously serving as the European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth (2009–2010) and Vice-President of the European Commission for Interinstitutional Relations and Administration (2010–2014) and currently as the Vice-President of the European Commission for the Energy Union (since 2014).
Early life and studiesEdit
Born in Bratislava, Šefčovič originally enrolled at University of Economics in his hometown in 1984, but left the university after one year in order to pursue a degree in Russia at Moscow State Institute of International Relations, where he studied from 1985 to 1990.
In June 1987, Šefčovič became a candidate for membership in the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. After the two-year candidacy period during which he had to secure three approvals from other party members and which he embraced to "deepen his knowledge of Marxism–Leninism", he filed an application for party membership in May 1989. The party approved his application on 1 June 1989 and he became an official member.
Šefčovič is a former Slovak diplomat, who has served in Zimbabwe, Canada and as a Slovak ambassador to Israel (1999–2002). He was also Permanent Representative of the Slovak Republic to the European Union (2004–2009).
2009–2010: European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and YouthEdit
Šefčovič replaced Ján Figeľ as European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth on 1 October 2009.
2010–2014: Vice-President of the European Commission for Interinstitutional Relations and AdministrationEdit
Šefčovič's responsibilities included the administration of the Commission and management of some of the Commission's Internal Services; in particular consolidation of administrative reform, personnel and administration, European Schools and security. From 19 April 2014 to 25 May 2014, José Manuel Barroso was an Acting Commissioner in Šefčovič's stead while he was on electoral campaign leave for the 2014 elections to the European Parliament.
2014–present: Vice-President of the European Commission for Energy UnionEdit
Šefčovič was appointed Vice-President of the European Commission for Energy Union in 2014. In July 2015, he brokered an agreement between fifteen countries from central, eastern and southeast Europe to speed up the building of gas links, improve security of supply, reduce their reliance on Russia and develop a fully integrated energy market.
When digital single market Andrus Ansip stepped down from the European Commission to take up his seat in the European Parliament following the 2019 elections, the Commission's President Jean-Claude Juncker announced that Ansip's portfolio would be transferred to Šefčovič.
2019 Slovak presidential campaignEdit
In the first round of the election held on 16 March, Šefčovič received 18.66% of the vote and came in second place after Zuzana Čaputová, who received 40.57% of votes. They both qualified for the second round run-off, which took place on 30 March. Šefčovič was defeated by Čaputová, receiving 41.59% of the vote versus 58.41% of votes for his opponent.
During his presidential campaign, Šefčovič repeatedly spoke against any legislative changes which would improve the status of LGBT rights in Slovakia, strongly opposing both civil partnerships and same-sex adoptions. He dubbed his opponent Čaputová (who is in favour of both) as a candidate who is forcing a "new ultraliberal agenda" on Slovakia, comparing the second round of elections to a referendum on such an agenda, which he considered to be "in exact contradiction to traditional Christian values". He also stated that "we can not support any further steps towards civil unions or same-sex adoptions because these would go precisely against our traditional Christian values", calling this stance as his "very natural position" due to his Christianity. According to his opinion, discussions about "such experiments bring great unrest to society".
Šefčovič supported and welcomed the position of the Slovak parliament and government not to ratify the Istanbul Convention (aimed against violence against women and domestic violence), citing his concerns about so-called "gender ideology". Refusal to ratify the convention in his opinion confirmed that "Slovakia is built on respect to traditional values".
International relations and foreign policyEdit
Šefčovič also criticised his opponent Čaputová for her opinions on migrant crisis and related policies. He emphasised the importance of a speedy deportation policy, so that "people who do not have any business here are sent to their home countries as quickly as possible". Furthermore, he pointed out that "it has to be Slovaks who decide who comes to our country". Šefčovič has criticized Angela Merkel's actions in this area, labeling her "latest decisions which opened door to mass migration" as something that was not "thought-out very well".
In the matter of Russia–EU relations, Šefčovič emphasised that he does not consider Russia to by any kind of threat. He also criticised imposed sanctions, stating that people are suffering from them.
When asked about Venezuelan presidential crisis, Šefčovič refused to identify either Nicolás Maduro or Juan Guaidó as legitimate president, stating that "leaning on one or the other side might worsen the situation".
Šefčovič rejects the idea of EU federalization, saying he is "against creating European superstate" and considering the tax policy, autonomous migration policy and family law issues to be "red lines" which should not be crossed by the European Union.
Šefčovič is married and has three children.
Notes and referencesEdit
- "Šefčovičova prihláška do KSČ: Ešte v máji 1989 chcel aktívne budovať socializmus". dennikn.sk (in Slovak). N Press s.r.o. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
- Official C.V. on European Commission website, accessed on 12 September 2017
- Mandate Description on European Commission website, archived on 17.11.2014
- "Six commissioners head for EU election campaign trail". euobserver.com.
- "Maroš Šefčovič". European Commission. 1 September 2015.
- Maja Zuvela (July 10, 2015), European states agree to boost gas links, reduce reliance on Russia Reuters.
- Carmen Paun and Lili Bayer (July 8, 2019), Council rebuffs Juncker’s plan to leave commissioner seats vacant Politico Europe.
- "Šefčovič prijal ponuku Smeru, ohlásil kandidatúru na prezidenta". domov.sme.sk (in Slovak). Petit Press, a.s. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
- "Šefčovič útočil na Čaputovú od prvej minúty: Jej liberálna agenda sa nezhoduje s kresťanskými hodnotami". dennikn.sk (in Slovak). N Press s.r.o. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
- "EU centrist faces swing to right to secure Slovak poll victory". ft.com. Financial Times. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
- "Voľby prezidenta SR 2019 - diskusia s dvoma kandidátmi". rtvs.sk (in Slovak). Radio and Television of Slovakia. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
- "Čaputová a Šefčovič by Slovensko mafiánskym štátom nikdy nenazvali". tv.pravda.sk (in Slovak). P E R E X, a. s. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
- "Je problém, že mladí cítia skôr národne ako európsky, vravel Šefčovič". domov.sme.sk (in Slovak). Petit Press, a.s. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
- "Duel Čaputovej so Šefčovičom pred 2. kolom volieb". ta3.com (in Slovak). C.E.N. s.r.o. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
- "Ficov nezávislák: Šefčovič o Smerákoch aj o definícii slovenského zlodeja". plus7dni.pluska.sk (in Slovak). News and Media Holding, a.s. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
- "Newsfilter: Čaputová zahanbila Šefčoviča v zahraničných témach". dennikn.sk (in Slovak). N Press s.r.o. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
- "Čaputovú a Šefčoviča rozdeľuje zahraničná politika". etrend.sk (in Slovak). News and Media Holding a.s. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
- "Prezidentský kandidát Maroš Šefčovič". ta3.com (in Slovak). C.E.N. s.r.o. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
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