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Frans Timmermans

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(1961-05-06) 6 May 1961 (age 54)
Maastricht, Netherlands

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Franciscus Cornelis Gerardus Maria "Frans" Timmermans (born 6 May 1961 in Maastricht) is a Dutch politician who currently serves as the First Vice-President of the European Commission and the European Commissioner for the portfolio of Better Regulation, Inter-Institutional Relations, Rule of Law and Charter of Fundamental Rights in the Juncker Commission from 1 November 2014.

Timmermans previously served in the Dutch Civil Service (1987–1998), as member of the House of Representatives for the Labour Party (1998–2007; 2010–2012), State Secretary for Foreign Affairs charged with European Affairs (2007–2010), and Minister of Foreign Affairs (2012–2014).

Early life and education

Frans Timmermans was born on 6 May 1961 in Maastricht in the Dutch province of Limburg to a Roman Catholic family.[1]

He went to the Sint Stevens-Woluwe elementary school at Sint-Stevens-Woluwe in Belgium, before attending, from 1972, the Lyceum Saint George's English School at Rome in Italy and from 1975 until 1980 the Athenaeum Bernardinuscollege in what became his hometown of Heerlen.

In 1980 Timmermans entered the Radboud University Nijmegen, graduating in 1985 with a Master of Arts degree in French literature. In 1984 he also enrolled at the Nancy-Université in Nancy, France, where he read European law, French literature and History, taking the degrees of Master of European Law and Master of Arts 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.

Politics

Diplomat and civil servant

On 1 August 1987 the day he 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. On 1 July 1990 he was appointed Deputy Secretary of the Dutch Embassy in Moscow in 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).

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 25 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.

State Secretary

After the Dutch general election of 2006 the Labour Party, Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) party and the ChristianUnion (CU) party formed a coalition agreement which resulted in the formation of the Cabinet Balkenende IV. Timmermans became State Secretary 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 State Secretary 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 State Secretary, 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 agreement, 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, Christian Democratic Appeal and the Party for Freedom (PVV) the Labour Party became the Opposition Party. 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

After the fall of the Cabinet Rutte I and the Dutch general election of 2012 the Labour Party and the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy formed 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 March 25, 2014 the Netherlands hosted the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit, Timmermans as Minister of Foreign Affairs was charged with welcoming all attending representatives.

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."[2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9]

European Commission

In September 2014 the Dutch Government nominated Frans Timmermans as its prospective member of the European Commission under President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker. As of 1 November 2014 Timmermans will take office as Vice-President of the European Commission in Juncker's European Commission, and will be 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.[10]

Family and personal life

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

Timmermans, a polyglot, speaks fluent English, German, French, Italian, and Russian,[11][12] in addition to his mother tongue (Dutch) and Limburgish.

Decorations

National honours
Ribbon bar Honour Date & Comment
80px Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau 17 March 2010[1]
Foreign honours
Ribbon bar Honour Date & Comment
80px Officer of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland 2006[1]
80px Golden Palm Decoration of Honour (Bulgaria) [1]
80px Commander of the Order For Merit (Romania) [1]
80px Knight of the Legion of Honour (France) 2007[1]
80px Grand Cross of the Order of the Southern Cross (Brazil) 2008[1]
80px 1st Class of the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana (Estonia) 2008[13]
80px Grand Cross of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas 2008[1]
80px Commander of the Order of the Polar Star (Sweden) 2009[1]
80px Grand Cross of the Order of Merit (Chile) 2009[1]

References

External links

16x16px Media related to Frans Timmermans at Wikimedia Commons

Political offices
Preceded by
Atzo Nicolaï
State Secretary 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
Catherine 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, Rule of Law and Charter of Fundamental Rights
2014–present
Preceded by
Martine Reicherts
as European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship

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