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Frans Timmermans

Frans Timmermans
2018-12-09 SPD Europadelegiertenkonferenz Frans Timmermans IMG 2814-b.jpg
First Vice President of the European Commission
Assumed office
1 November 2014
PresidentJean-Claude Juncker
Ursula von der Leyen (elect)
Preceded byCatherine Ashton
Executive Vice President of the European Commission
Designate
Assumed office
1 November 2019
PresidentUrsula von der Leyen (elect)
Preceded byOffice Established
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
5 November 2012 – 17 October 2014
Prime MinisterMark Rutte
Preceded byUri Rosenthal
Succeeded byBert Koenders
State Secretary for Foreign Affairs
In office
22 February 2007 – 23 February 2010
Prime MinisterJan Peter Balkenende
Preceded byAtzo Nicolaï
Succeeded byBen Knapen
Member of the House of Representatives
In office
9 June 2010 – 5 November 2012
In office
6 May 1998 – 22 February 2007
European Commissioner for Better Regulation, Inter-Institutional Relations, Rule of Law and Charter of Fundamental Rights
Assumed office
1 November 2014
PresidentJean-Claude Juncker
Preceded byMaroš Šefčovič
Personal details
Born
Franciscus Cornelis Gerardus Maria Timmermans

(1961-05-06) 6 May 1961 (age 58)
Maastricht, Netherlands
Political partyLabour Party
Other political
affiliations
Party of European Socialists
Spouse(s)
Irene Timmermans (m. 2000)
Children4
EducationRadboud University (BA, MA)
Nancy 2 University (LLM, MA)

Franciscus Cornelis Gerardus Maria Timmermans (Dutch pronunciation: [frɑnˈsɪskʏs kɔrˈneːlɪs xeːˈrɑrdʏs frɑns ˈtɪmərˌmɑns];[1] born 6 May 1961) is a Dutch politician and diplomat nominated as Executive Vice President-Designate of the European Commission from 2019. He currently serves as First Vice-President and European Commissioner for Better Regulation, Interinstitutional Relations, the Rule of Law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights from 2014 to 2019. He was the lead candidate of the Party of European Socialists (PES) for President of the European Commission in the European election that was held in May 2019.

Timmermans previously served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2012 to 2014 in the Second Rutte cabinet and State Secretary for Foreign Affairs from 2007 to 2010 in the Fourth Balkenende cabinet, in charge of European Affairs. He was a member of the Dutch House of Representatives for the Labour Party from 1998 to 2007 and again 2010 to 2012. He was a civil servant in the Government of the Netherlands from 1987 to 1998, until he became active in politics.

Early life and education

Timmermans was born on 6 May 1961, in Maastricht, Limburg, to a Roman Catholic family.[2] He went to the Sint Stevens-Woluwe elementary school at Sint-Stevens-Woluwe in Belgium, before attending, from 1972, the private Saint George's English School in Rome. From 1975 until 1980 he attended the athenaeum Bernardinuscollege, in what became his hometown of Heerlen.

In 1980, Timmermans entered the Radboud University Nijmegen, where he graduated with an MA degree in French Literature in 1985. In 1984, he also enrolled at the Nancy-Université in Nancy, France, where he read European law, French Literature and History, obtaining LL.M. Eur and MA degrees in 1985. On 6 January 1986, he was conscripted in the Royal Netherlands Army as a private first class for the Dutch Military Intelligence and Security Service as a Russian Prisoner of War interrogator.

Aside from his native Dutch, Timmermans is fluent in English, French, German, Italian and Russian.[3][4][5]

Timmermans with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Russian President Vladimir Putin, 6 March 2013

Diplomatic career

On 1 August 1987, Timmermans was discharged from military service in the Royal Netherlands Army. Timmermans joined the Dutch Civil Service as an officer in the Integration Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in The Hague. On 1 July 1990, he was appointed Deputy Secretary of the Dutch Embassy in Moscow, Russia. On 1 September 1993, he returned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as Deputy Head of the Bureau for European Development Cooperation. On 15 March 1994, he left the Ministry of Foreign Affairs becoming Assistant to European Commissioner Hans van den Broek. Timmermans moved from this post a year later on 15 March 1995, to become Senior Advisor and Private Secretary to Max van der Stoel, the High Commissioner for National Minorities of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

Political career

Member of the House of Representatives

After the Dutch general election of 1998 Timmermans was elected a Member of the House of Representatives for the Labour Party and was installed as Member of the House of Representatives on 19 May 1998. He served as the Deputy Chairman of the Commission for Foreign Affairs from November 2001 until September 2002 when he became the Chairman of the Commission for Economic Affairs until 18 March 2003 when he again became the Deputy Chairman of the Commission for Foreign Affairs serving until 22 February 2007. Timmermans represented the House of Representatives, in the Convention on the Future of Europe from March 2002 until July 2003. Timmermans also served as a Member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe from 21 September 1998 until 22 February 2007. Timmermans was reelected to the House of Representatives after the Dutch general elections of 2002 and 2003.

Undersecretary

After the Dutch general election of 2006 the Labour Party, Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) and the ChristianUnion (CU) formed a coalition agreement which resulted in the formation of the Cabinet Balkenende IV. Timmermans became Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs and was responsible for the co-ordination of government policy towards the European Union, and was conferred the diplomatic title of Minister of European Affairs during international visits. A major theme of his time as Undersecretary for European Affairs was to increase support for European integration. This was done both by seeking greater influence of citizens on European policies and by improving communication and public perception; besides citizens the aim was that education should have also be more involved with Europe. The Treaty of Lisbon was signed whilst he was Undersecretary, before which Timmermans and Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende successfully lobbied to secure a greater role for national parliaments in European Union decision-making processes. In February 2010, NATO officially requested the Netherlands to extend its military involvement in Task Force Uruzgan. The Labour Party strongly opposed the extension of the mission and on 23 February 2010 the Cabinet Balkenende IV fell after the Labour Party officially withdrew its support with all Labour Party Cabinet members resigning.

Return as a Member of the House of Representatives

Following the withdrawal of the Labour Party from the coalition government, the Cabinet Balkenende IV remained as a Demissionary Cabinet until the Dutch general election of 2010. Following a coalition agreement between the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (Vvd), Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) and the Party for Freedom (PVV), the Labour Party became the official opposition. Timmermans was returned to the House of Representatives, being installed on 17 June 2010. During his second term as a Member of the House of Representatives he served as Parliamentary Spokesman of the Labour Party for Foreign Affairs and European Affairs.

Minister of Foreign Affairs

Timmermans with President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, 7 January 2016

After the fall of the Cabinet Rutte I. The Dutch general election of 2012, resulted in the Labour Party and the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy forming a coalition agreement resulting in the formation of the Cabinet Rutte II, and Timmermans being appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs, taking office on 5 November 2012.

On 24 March and 25 March 2014 the Netherlands hosted the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit, Timmermans as Minister of Foreign Affairs was charged with welcoming all attending representatives.

In May 2014, Timmermans condemned Geert Wilders' anti-Islam sticker, saying that "The Netherlands cannot be held responsible for the adolescent behavior of a single parliamentarian."[6] Timmermans said that Saudi Arabia is "deeply offended by the sticker action."[7]

On 17 July 2014, passenger flight Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over Ukraine resulting in the deaths of 194 Dutch citizens. The next day Timmermans flew to Kiev to meet with President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk to discuss the matter, following which, on 21 July 2014, Timmermans addressed the United Nations Security Council in New York. Timmermans delivered an emotional speech which was widely praised by the international community. His speech called for Dutch Prime Minister Rutte and the International Community to help bring the victims home and start an investigation to make sure that those responsible are brought to justice. He states: "I call on the international community, on the Security Council, on anyone with influence on the situation on the ground: allow us to bring the victims’ remains home to their loved ones without any further delay. They deserve to be home." A statement in his speech about the careless way with which the local population was said to have treated the bodies of the victims appeared to be imprecise. Timmermans acknowledged this later on in a letter to the Dutch parliament.[8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16]

In August 2014, Timmermans called for an independent investigation into Israel's actions during the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict.[17]

European Commission (2014-2019)

7 July 2016 speech to EU Parliament by Timmermans (5 1/2 min.)

In September 2014, the Dutch Government nominated Frans Timmermans as its prospective member of the European Commission under President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker. On 1 November 2014, Timmermans took office as First Vice President in Juncker's European Commission, and served as President Juncker's first deputy and right-hand man. Timmermans' portfolio comprises Better Regulation, Inter-Institutional Relations, Rule of Law and Charter of Fundamental Rights.[18]

In May 2016, Timmermans said that Erdoğan's Turkey "has made impressive progress, particularly in recent weeks, on meeting the benchmarks of its visa liberalisation roadmap. There is still work to be done as a matter of urgency but if Turkey sustains the progress made, they can meet the remaining benchmarks."[19]

Timmermans repeatedly criticized Poland's judiciary reform,[20] saying that "these laws considerably increase the systemic threats to the rule of law in Poland."[21] In April 2019, the Commission had launched a new infringement proceedings against Poland over independence of judges. Timmermans said: "The new disciplinary regime undermines the judicial independence of Polish judges by not offering necessary guarantees to protect them from political control, as required by the Court of Justice of the European Union."[22]

Timmermans supported the mandatory migrant quotas within the EU. He said that people coming to the EU "are fellow human beings who, I think, deserve to seek refuge when they flee the barbarism that the jihadists are inflicting upon them."[23]

Unsuccessful candidacy for the European Commission presidency

In October 2018, Frans Timmermans announced his candidacy for the office of President of the European Commission ahead of the 2019 European election. In December 2018, during the Congress of Lisbon, the Party of European Socialists acclaimed him as its candidate. He was formally nominated as the PES Common Candidate in Madrid in February 2019. Timmermans said he intended to challenge the dominance of the EPP by building a left coalition in the European Parliament.[24] However, in July 2019 the European Council almost unanimously proposed Ursula von der Leyen as the candidate, and she was subsequently elected by the European Parliament.[25]

European Commission (since 2019)

In 2019, President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen requested Frans Timmermans continue in his role as First Vice President while also designating him as one of the three new Executive Vice Presidents of the European Commission. As Executive Vice President Timmermans will be responsible for the European Green Deal.[26] Timmermans is also responsible for a European Green Deal and a European Climate Law in their first hundred days in office.[26]

Family and personal life

Timmermans has married twice, having two children in his first marriage, a daughter (born 1986) and a son (born 1989). Timmermans remarried in 2000 to Irene Timmermans; he and his second wife have a son (born 2004) and a daughter (born 2006).

Honours and decorations

Decorations

Honorary degrees

References

  1. ^ In isolation, Gerardus is pronounced [ɣeːˈrɑrdʏs].
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Drs. F.C.G.M. (Frans) Timmermans – Parlement & Politiek".
  3. ^ Stuttgarter Zeitung – "Frans Timmermans soll Super-Kommissar werden" (03.09.2014)
  4. ^ "Timmermans: si, je spreche multiple talen".
  5. ^ "Arme Frans". NU.
  6. ^ "Dutch send top diplomat to avert Saudi sanctions over anti-Islam stickers". Reuters. 21 May 2014.
  7. ^ "Wilders damage control forces minister to Saudi Arabia". NL Times. 27 May 2014.
  8. ^ "Hier de tekst van mijn speech in de VN... - Frans Timmermans - Facebook".
  9. ^ "U.N. Council, With Russia in Accord, Tells Insurgents to Open Wreckage Site". New York Times. July 21, 2014.
  10. ^ "Watch: Dutch foreign minister's powerful speech amid chaotic MH17 aftermath". Washington Post.
  11. ^ "Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans Gives Perfect Response To Horror Of MH17". The Huffington Post UK.
  12. ^ "Russia Backs UN Resolution for Access to Ukraine Plane Crash Site - News". The Moscow Times.
  13. ^ "Emotional Speech from NL Foreign Minister". IrishmanAbroad.com.
  14. ^ "Timmermans speech leads UN Security Council to condemn MH17 attack - NL Times". NL Times.
  15. ^ "Bill Clinton calls for tough response on MH17 and pays tribute to lost HIV researchers". Telegraph.co.uk. 23 July 2014.
  16. ^ "Mythen rond de MH17". Trouw (in Dutch). Retrieved 2018-07-24.
  17. ^ "Gaza is about Israel, not Jews: Timmermans". NL Times. 6 August 2014.
  18. ^ "Timmermans wordt eerste vice-president van de Europese Commissie". nrc.nl.
  19. ^ "European Commission backs visa-free travel for Turkey". The Irish Times. 4 May 2016.
  20. ^ "Comments on Frans Timmermans' article on Poland". Polska.pl. 12 December 2016.
  21. ^ "EU threatens Poland with sanctions as judiciary stand-off escalates". France 24. 19 July 2017.
  22. ^ "EU targets Poland, Romania with defence of judicial independence". Reuters. 3 April 2019.
  23. ^ "Commissioner and Czech minister argue over migration". EUobserver. 16 June 2017.
  24. ^ Timmermans lays ground for left coalition against EPP, 16 May 2019, politico.eu
  25. ^ "MEPs back von der Leyen as EU Commission head". 16 July 2019 – via www.bbc.com.
  26. ^ a b "Mission letter of Frans Timmermans" (PDF). 10 September 2019 – via ec.europa.eu.
  27. ^ Decretul nr. 1309/2006 privind conferirea Ordinului național Petru Merit în grad de Comandor
  28. ^ "Vabariigi President".
  29. ^ Frans Timmermans primește titlul de Doctor Honoris Causa al SNSPA

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Atzo Nicolaï
Undersecretary for European Affairs
2007–2010
Succeeded by
Ben Knapen
Preceded by
Uri Rosenthal
Minister of Foreign Affairs
2012–2014
Succeeded by
Bert Koenders
Preceded by
Neelie Kroes
Dutch European Commissioner
2014–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Cathy Ashton
First Vice President of the European Commission
2014–present
Preceded by
Maroš Šefčovič
as European Commissioner for Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration
European Commissioner for Better Regulation, Inter-Institutional Relations-European Climate Commission, Rule of Law and Charter of Fundamental Rights
2014–present
Preceded by
Martine Reicherts
as European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship