Jerzy Buzek

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Jerzy Buzek
Jerzy Buzek, 2010.JPG
President of the European Parliament
In office
14 July 2009 – 17 January 2012
Preceded by Hans-Gert Pöttering
Succeeded by Martin Schulz
Prime Minister of Poland
In office
31 October 1997 – 19 October 2001
President Aleksander Kwaśniewski
Deputy Longin Komołowski
Leszek Balcerowicz
Janusz Tomaszewski
Janusz Steinhoff
Preceded by Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz
Succeeded by Leszek Miller
Personal details
Born Jerzy Karol Buzek
(1940-07-03) 3 July 1940 (age 74)
Smilowitz, Germany
(now Smilovice, Czech Republic)
Political party Solidarity Electoral Action (Before 2001)
Civic Platform (2001–present)
Spouse(s) Ludgarda Buzek
Children Agata
Alma mater Silesian University of Technology
Religion Lutheranism
Signature

Jerzy Karol Buzek [ˈjɛʐɨ ˈbuzɛk] ( ) (born 3 July 1940) is a Polish engineer, academic lecturer and politician who was the ninth post-Cold War Prime Minister of Poland from 1997 to 2001. He has been a member of the European Parliament since 13 June 2004, and was President of the European Parliament between 2009 and 2012.[1] He is married to Ludgarda Buzek[2] and is the father of Polish actress Agata Buzek.

Early years[edit]

Jerzy Karol Buzek was born to a Lutheran family on 3 July 1940 in Śmiłowice (currently in the Czech Republic).[3] He was born into the prominent Buzek family, which participated in Polish politics in the Second Polish Republic during the interbellum. The family was part of the Polish community in Zaolzie.[4] Buzek's father was an engineer. After the Second World War, his family moved to Chorzów. He is a Lutheran.

Professional career[edit]

In 1963 Jerzy Buzek graduated from the Mechanics-and-Energy Division of the Silesian University of Technology, specialising in chemical engineering. He became a scientist in the Chemical Engineering Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Since 1997 he has been a professor of technical science. He is also an honorary doctor of the universities in Seoul and Dortmund.

From 1997 to 2001, Buzek was a coalition Prime Minister of Poland.

In 1998 he became the first laureate of the Grzegorz Palka Award and was nominated European of the Year by the European Union Business Chambers Forum.

In 1998 he was named 'Person of the Year' by the influential Polish political weekly Wprost. He won the award for a second time in 2009. On receiving the award again, as President of the European Parliament, he stressed that he was the first winner to be honoured for his work beyond the borders of Poland.[5]

He was the first Prime Minister of the 3rd Republic of Poland to serve a full term.

After losing the parliamentary elections in 2001, he stepped back from political life and focused more on his scientific work, becoming the prorector of Akademia Polonijna in Częstochowa and professor in the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of the Opole University of Technology in Opole.

His return to political life in 2004 saw him gain the largest popular vote in Poland as the member for Katowice to the European Parliament standing for the Civic Platform.

Whilst President of the European Parliament, on 30 March 2011, he was awarded an honorary fellowship of the IChemE at a meeting of the European Federation of Chemical Engineering (EFCE) in Brussels, Belgium.[6]

Political career[edit]

In the 1980s, Buzek was an activist of the democratic anti-communist movements, including the legal (1980–1981 and since 1989) and underground (1981–1989) Solidarity trade union and political movement in communist Poland. He was an active organiser of the trade union's regional and national underground authorities. He was also the chairman of the four national general meetings (1st, 4th, 5th and 6th) when the Solidarity movement was allowed to participate in the political process again.

Jerzy Buzek was a member of the Solidarity Electoral Action (AWS) and co-author of the AWS's economic program. After the 1997 elections he was elected to the Sejm, the lower house of the Polish Parliament, and was soon appointed Prime Minister of Poland. In 1999 he became the chairman of the AWS Social Movement (Ruch Społeczny AWS) and in 2001 he became the Chairman of the Solidarity Electoral Action coalition.

Jerzy Buzek's government[edit]

Between the years 1997–2001 he was the Prime Minister of Poland, first of the right-centrist AWS–Freedom Union coalition government until 2001, and then of the rightist AWS minority government. His cabinet's major achievements were four significant political and economic reforms: a new local government and administration division of Poland, reform of the pension system, reform of the educational system, and reform of the medical care system.[7] AWS was defeated in the Polish parliamentary election, 2001. Buzek resigned as the chairman of AWS Social Movement, and was replaced by Mieczysław Janowski.

Polish Member of the European Parliament[edit]

On 13 June 2004, in the European Parliament election, 2004, Jerzy Buzek was elected a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from the Silesian Voivodeship, basing his candidacy only on the popularity of his name and on direct contact with the voters. He received a record number of votes, 173,389 (22.14% of the total votes in the region). His current party affiliation is with the Civic Platform, the governing party in Poland, which is a member of the European People's Party.

In the 2004–2009 European Parliament, he was a member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, an alternate member of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, a member of the Delegation to the EU–Ukraine Parliamentary Cooperation Committee, and an alternate delegate for the delegation for relations with the countries of Central America. He served as rapporteur on the EU's 7th Framework Programme for Research and Development, a multi-billion euro spending programme for the years 2007–2013.

On 7 June 2009, in the European Parliament election, 2009, Buzek was re-elected as a Member of the European Parliament from the Silesian Voivodeship constituency. Just as in the previous election, Buzek received a record number of votes in Poland: 393,117 (over 42% of the total votes in the district).

President of the European Parliament[edit]

On 14 July 2009, Buzek was elected President of the European Parliament with 555 votes of the 644 votes cast, the largest majority ever,[8] becoming the first person from the former Eastern Bloc and the first former Prime Minister since Pierre Pflimlin to gain that position.[1] He succeeded the German Christian Democrat MEP, Hans-Gert Pöttering.[1] He pledged to make human rights and the promotion of the Eastern partnership two of his priorities during his term of office, which will last two and a half years until, due to a political deal, Social Democrat MEP Martin Schulz will take over.[1][not in citation given][9]

In his inaugural address in Strasbourg, Buzek stated that among the greatest challenges faced by the European parliament were the economic crisis, European solidarity, human rights and reform within the Parliament itself.[10] Buzek also stated he would be committed to reform of the European economy, tackling rising unemployment, energy security and climate change, strengthening European solidarity and integration and promoting equal opportunities for women. However, Buzek noted that the Lisbon Treaty would be a prerequisite to any change "(so that the Union can be) well-organised and effective".[11]

On 8 December 2009 Buzek was awarded by the Ministerpräsident of North Rhine-Westphalia, Dr. Jürgen Rüttgers, the annual "Staatspreis award". The prize was awarded in honor of his lifetime achievements and highlighted the European Parliament as a "motor of integration." Affirming his commitment to the Eastern Partnership and "those who do not have the possibility to participate in our European integration project", Buzek announced that the prize money would be donated to the European Humanities University (EHU), A Belarusian university in exile in Vilnius.[12]

The Lisbon Treaty, which came into force on 1 December 2009 shortly after Buzek assumed office, brought a conclusion to nearly a decade of internal discussions and greatly boosted the democratic powers of the European Parliament. From very early on Buzek has been a vocal supporter of the treaty as part of a wider push for greater political integration in Europe.[13] The rise in legislative powers under the treaty in fact represents almost a doubling in power.[14] Since its introduction Parliament has equal rights with the Council of Ministers over 40 new fields within the "co-decision" procedure, such as agriculture, energy security, immigration, justice and home affairs, health and structural funds.[14]

In late 2011 Buzek's presidency also endorsed the 'Sixpack' legislation on economic governance to tackle the growing Eurozone crisis. This was a follow-up on the earlier Stability and Growth Pact and the Euro Plus Pact intended as a means of optimising macroeconomic surveillance in Europe and avoiding crises in the eurozone in the future.[15] Welcoming the parliament's adoption of the legislation on 28 October 2011, Buzek stated: "The adoption of the six-pack by the whole European Parliament is good news for the European Union. We have a new economic rule-book. We have developed a powerful and resistant armour against any future crises. With the adoption of the six-pack, the EU significantly strengthens its budget discipline and moves towards a true economic governance. We can not turn the clock back, but the package will ensure that Member States budgets will be credible."[16]

One of Buzek’s major challenges as EP president was dealing with the allegations of corruption, illegal lobbying and mismanagement of public funds of which several members of the European Parliament have been accused in the wake of a cash-for-amendments scandal. On 7 July 2011, the Conference of Presidents approved the first ever code of conduct for MEPs and it was officially endorsed by the parliament on 1 December 2011.[17] The code sets out rules and principles that MEPs should follow in their dealings with outside parties in order to avoid conflicts of interest. "Increased powers of the European Parliament must be accompanied by an increased transparency and accountability on behalf of its members" Buzek has said of the code.[18] According to the code, MEPs have to provide clear declarations of their paid activities outside parliament, as well as the salary they receive. They also have to declare all other activities which might constitute a conflict of interest. The code contains an explicit ban on MEPs receiving payments or other rewards in exchange for influencing parliamentary decisions. It also sets out clear rules on the acceptance of gifts and on the issue of former MEPs working as lobbyists.[19]

Career timeline[edit]

Education[edit]

  • From 1997 to 2001: Professor of technical sciences, actively engaged in public work, Prime Minister of Poland;
  • Honorary doctorates of the Universities of Dortmund, Seoul, Süleyman Demirel University (Isparta);
  • University lecturer of long standing at Opole, Gliwice and Częstochowa, researcher at the Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Gliwice;
  • 1972: Research stay, on a British Council scholarship, at the University of Cambridge.

Career[edit]

  • 1992–1997: Representative of Poland at the International Energy Agency – Programme of Greenhouse Gas Effect;
  • 1996: Organiser and chairman of an international network of 19 institutions working on energy and environmental protection;
  • Author of some 200 research papers, over a dozen rationalisations and three patents in the fields of environmental protection, power and process engineering;
  • 1981: Member of the independent, self-governing trade union 'NSZZ Solidarność', Chairman of the I National Congress of Delegates of 'Solidarność';
  • 1981: Active in the Solidarność underground structure;
  • 1997: Elected as a Member of the Polish Parliament;
  • As Prime Minister, in 1999, took Poland into NATO and prepared the country for integration into the European Union (including decentralisation of the State – consolidation of the role of local self-government);
  • In 1998, began accession negotiations;
  • 1999: Represented the Social Movement of Solidarity Electoral Action (AWS) in the PPE–DE;
  • 1999: Established the annual Pro Publico Bono prize for the best national civic initiatives;
  • Set up the Family Foundation together with his wife (1998), having gained greater understanding of the meaning of help for the needy after their experiences with the battle for the life of their own child.
  • 2012: Member of the International Honorary Council[20] of the European Academy of Diplomacy.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Euro parliament elects new leader". BBC News. 14 July 2009. Retrieved 14 July 2009. 
  2. ^ Buzek, Ludgarda. "BIP (Biuletyn Informacji Publicznej)". Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  3. ^ The Smilovice (German: Smilowitz, Polish: Śmiłowice) village lies in the region historically known as Austrian Silesia, more precisely the Zaolzie region. This territory was until 1918 part of Austria-Hungary (Austrian part), then from November 1918 part of Poland, then from 1920 part of Czechoslovakia. After the Munich Agreement in 1938 Czechoslovakia agreed to transfer the Zaolzie region to Poland, which, after the 1939 German invasion of Poland, was annexed by Germany. After World War II, it became again a part of Czechoslovakia and, since 1993, part of the Czech Republic. Buzek hails from the Polish minority in Zaolzie. At the time of his birth, it was officially named Smilowitz and was occupied by Germany as part of Landkreis Teschen.
  4. ^ Nowak, Włodzimierz (6 July 2009). "Nad Betlejem, nad Rolą kometa. Zaolziańska saga rodu Buzków". Gazeta Wyborcza. Retrieved 14 July 2009. 
  5. ^ "Jerzy Buzek Człowiekiem Roku tygodnika "Wprost" – Wiadomości – WP.PL". Wiadomosci.wp.pl. Retrieved 4 June 2011. 
  6. ^ "Sorry". Tcetoday.com. Retrieved 4 June 2011. 
  7. ^ Transition by Mario I. Bléjer, Marko Škreb. Google Books. Retrieved 4 June 2011. 
  8. ^ cs. "Jerzy Buzek – Biography of the President of the European Parliament : Jerzy Buzek". Europa (web portal). Retrieved 4 June 2011. 
  9. ^ Henson, Carolyn (14 July 2009). "UPDATE: EU Parliament Elects Ex-Polish PM Buzek As President * Article". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 14 July 2009. [dead link]
  10. ^ Buzek, Jerzy: "Inaugural speech by Jerzy Buzek following his election as President of the European Parliament", EP Press Release, 14 July 2009: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/president/en/press/speeches/sp-2009/sp-2009-July/speeches-2009-July-1.html, Retrieved: 2011-12-06
  11. ^ Buzek, Jerzy. "Inaugural speech by Jerzy Buzek following his election as President of the European Parliament", 14 July 2009 http://www.europarl.europa.eu/president/en/press/speeches/sp-2009/sp-2009-July/speeches-2009-July-1.html
  12. ^ Buzek, Jerzy: "President Buzek to receive prestigious prize from North Rhine-Westphalia – prize money to be donated to Belarusian University in exile", EP press release, 7 December 2009: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/president/de-en/press/press_release/2009/2009-November/press_release-2009-November-33.html;jsessionid=65C948AAA96808C44D5CB45A18E2F8C5, Retrieved: 2011-12-14
  13. ^ Buzek, Jerzy: "President Jerzy Buzek's speech at commemorative event marking the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon", 1 Dec 2009, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/president/en/press/speeches/sp-2009/sp-2009-November/speeches-2009-November-7.html, Retrieved: 2011-12-06
  14. ^ a b "European Parliament & The Lisbon Treaty", http://www.europarl.europa.eu/aboutparliament/en/0042423726/Parliament-and-the-Lisbon-Treaty.html Retrieved: 2011-12-06
  15. ^ eurotribune.eu, 2011-09-28: "The European Parliament adopts “six-pack” economic governance legislative package", http://www.eurotribune.eu/index.default.php/?p=20642, Retrieved: 2011-12-09
  16. ^ Buzek, Jerzy: "Six-pack on economic governance adopted", EP Press Release, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/president/en/press/press_release/2011/2011-September/press_release-2011-September-21.html, Retrieved: 2011-12-09
  17. ^ Pop, Valentina: "MEPs hope to restore public trust with ethics code", http://euobserver.com/18/114475, Retrieved 7 December 2011
  18. ^ Buzek, Jerzy: "Press Release – Buzek welcomes adoption of Code of Conduct for MEPs", http://www.europarl.europa.eu/president/en/press/press_release/2011/2011-November/press_release-2011-November-26.html, Retrieved 7 December 2011
  19. ^ "New code of conduct for MEPs approved", http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/pressroom/content/20111201IPR32927/html/New-code-of-conduct-for-MEPs-approved, Retrieved 7 December 2011
  20. ^ http://diplomats.pl/en/component/content/article/463.html

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz
Prime Minister of Poland
1997–2001
Succeeded by
Leszek Miller
Preceded by
Hans-Gert Pöttering
President of the European Parliament
2009–2012
Succeeded by
Martin Schulz
Academic offices
Preceded by
Yves Leterme
Speaker of the College of Europe Opening Ceremony
2009
Succeeded by
Angela Merkel