Štefan Füle

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Štefan Füle
Stefan File.jpg
European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy
In office
9 February 2010 – 1 November 2014
PresidentJosé Manuel Barroso
Preceded byOlli Rehn (Enlargement)
Benita Ferrero-Waldner (Trade and Neighbourhood Policy)
Succeeded byJohannes Hahn (European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations)
Minister for European Affairs
In office
8 May 2009 – 30 November 2009
Prime MinisterJan Fischer
Preceded byAlexandr Vondra
Succeeded byJuraj Chmiel
Personal details
Born (1962-05-24) 24 May 1962 (age 59)
Sokolov, Czechoslovakia
(now Czech Republic)
Political partyCommunist Party of Czechoslovakia (1982–1989)
Social Democratic Party (1989–present)
Alma materCharles University
Moscow State Institute of International Relations

Štefan Füle (born 24 May 1962 in Sokolov) is a former Czech diplomat who served as the European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy from February 2010 until October 2014.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Füle was born on 24 May 1962 in Sokolov, then in Czechoslovakia.[1] He studied at the Charles University in Prague (1980–1981, two semesters at the Faculty of Philosophy) and the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (1981–1986).

Diplomatic career[edit]

He has held several positions within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Füle served as First Secretary of Permanent Mission of the Czech Republic (until 1993 Czechoslovakia) to the UN in New York City from 1990 to 1995. His next assignment was at the headquarters of the Ministry in Prague until 1998. Then he served as the Czech Ambassador to Lithuania (1998–2001),[2] also being the NATO contact point there. In 2000, Füle accepted the position of the First Deputy Minister of Defense but later returned to diplomatic work. He had served as the nation's Ambassador to the United Kingdom (2003–2005) before being appointed as the Permanent Representative of his country to NATO (11 July 2005 – 7 May 2009).[2]

European Commissioner[edit]

Füle served as the Minister for European Affairs in the caretaker government of Jan Fischer in 2009, and has served as the Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy under the second Barroso Commission since February 2010.


Fischer's government waited for political parties to agree on one candidate to become the next European Commissioner for the Czech Republic, but they were not able to agree on one name. Social Democrats nominated Vladimír Špidla and Civic Democrats endorsed Alexandr Vondra; Jan Švejnar and Pavel Svoboda were candidates of the minority Green Party and Christian Democrats, respectively. The Czech Republic was urged to announce a person's name by the President of the European Commission José Barroso. Prime Minister Jan Fischer was also offered the post but refused. There were rumors about Vladimír Dlouhý and Zdeněk Tůma being offered the post. Dlouhý was willing to accept the nomination and Tůma refused it. On 10 November 2009, the Cabinet made the decision of approving Füle's nomination.[3]


Füle has argued that "enlargement is the most important transformation instrument the EU has" and attributes the "difficult reforms" that brought about Central and Southeastern Europe's political and economic transformations to the fact that they were "tak[ing[ place within the wider enlargement strategy".[4]

He has been working hard to bring six of the EU's neighbors, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine, under its wing, but the anticipated summit in Vilnius, Lithuania in November 2013 only saw Georgia and Moldova initial association agreements, with Ukraine's last-minute cold feet a major disappointment.[5][6]

On 18 July 2014, Füle was present to hear the Parliament of Georgia unanimously vote (123-0, 27 abstained) to ratify its association agreement. Before the vote, Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili told Füle his country had formulated a "Georgia 2020 social-democratic development strategy", aimed at easing European integration.[7]

On Turkey's accession, Füle is optimistic in a long-term way: "Whenever I am asked if I could imagine Turkey in the EU, my answer is 'Yes, absolutely.' But it will be a different Turkey and it will be a different European Union".[4]

In 2015, news media reported that Füle was included in a Russian blacklist of prominent people from the European Union who are not allowed to enter the country.[8][9]

From the year 2016 Füle is a member of Prague Society for International Cooperation, a respected NGO whose main goals are networking and the development of a new generation of responsible, well-informed leaders and thinkers.[10]


  1. ^ a b "Štefan Füle > About > CV (last updated 16 October 2013)". European Commission. Archived from the original on 16 November 2006.
  2. ^ a b "Štefan Füle to be next EU commissioner". Radio Prague. 10 November 2009. Archived from the original on 16 November 2006. Retrieved 29 July 2010.
  3. ^ "Parties break stalemate over EU Commissioner as Füle chosen for job". Radio Prague. 10 November 2009. Archived from the original on 16 November 2006. Retrieved 29 July 2010.
  4. ^ a b Dempsey, Judy (28 November 2013). "The Transformative Power of EU Enlargement: An Interview With Štefan Füle". Carnegie Europe. Strategic Europe. Archived from the original on 16 November 2006.
  5. ^ "EU summit shows no sign of reviving Ukraine deal". BBC News. 29 November 2013. Archived from the original on 16 November 2006.
  6. ^ "The third Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius". European Commission. 2 December 2013. Archived from the original on 16 November 2006.
  7. ^ "Georgian parliament ratifies association agreement with EU", from Xinhua News Agency, vie GlobalPost.com
  8. ^ Laurence Norman (30 May 2015), Russia Produces Blacklist of EU People Banned From Entering Country Wall Street Journal.
  9. ^ European Union anger at Russian travel blacklist BBC News, 31 May 2015.
  10. ^ http://praguesociety.org/members

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Alexandr Vondra
Minister for European Affairs
Succeeded by
Juraj Chmiel
Preceded by
Vladimír Špidla
Czech European Commissioner
Succeeded by
Věra Jourová
Preceded by
Olli Rehn
as European Commissioner for Enlargement
European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy
Succeeded by
Johannes Hahn
as European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations
Preceded by
Benita Ferrero-Waldner
as European Commissioner for Trade and European Neighbourhood Policy