Frans Timmermans

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Frans Timmermans
Frans Timmermans 2013.jpg
First Vice-President of the European Commission
Assumed office
1 November 2014
President Jean-Claude Juncker
Preceded by Catherine Ashton
European Commissioner for Better Regulation, Interinstitutional Relations, the Rule of Law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights
Assumed office
1 November 2014
President Jean-Claude Juncker
Preceded by Maroš Šefčovič (Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration)
Martine Reicherts (Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship)
Minister for Foreign Affairs
In office
5 November 2012 – 17 October 2014
Prime Minister Mark Rutte
Preceded by Uri Rosenthal
Succeeded by Bert Koenders
State Secretary for European Affairs
In office
22 February 2007 – 23 February 2010
Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende
Preceded by Atzo Nicolaï
Succeeded by Ben Knapen
Member of the House of Representatives
In office
6 May 1998 – 22 February 2007
In office
9 June 2010 – 5 November 2012
Personal details
Born Franciscus Cornelis Gerardus Maria Timmermans
(1961-05-06) 6 May 1961 (age 57)
Maastricht, Netherlands
Political party Labour Party
Spouse(s)
Irene Timmermans (m. 2000)
Children 4
Alma mater Radboud University
Nancy 2 University

Franciscus Cornelis Gerardus Maria Timmermans (Dutch pronunciation: [frɑnˈsɪskʏs kɔrˈneːlɪs xeːˈrɑrdʏs frɑns ˈtɪmərˌmɑns];[1] born 6 May 1961) is a Dutch politician and diplomat serving as the First Vice-President of the European Commission and European Commissioner for Better Regulation, Interinstitutional Relations, the Rule of Law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights since 2014. He previously served as Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2012 to 2014 and State Secretary for European Affairs from 2007 to 2010. He was a member of the House of Representatives from 1998 to 2007 and 2010 to 2012.

He is a member of the Labour Party, part of the Party of European Socialists. Timmermans was a Dutch civil servant in the Government of the Netherlands from 1987 to 1998, until he became active in politics.

Early life and education[edit]

Timmermans was born on 6 May 1961, in Maastricht, in the Dutch province of 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 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 languages Limburgish and Dutch, Timmermans is fluent in Italian, Russian, French, German, and English.[3][4][5]

Politics[edit]

Diplomat and civil servant[edit]

On 1 August 1987, 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, 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).

Member of the House of Representatives[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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.

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 Parliamenl. [6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13] [14]

European Commission[edit]

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. As of 1 November 2014, Timmermans took office as First Vice President 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.[15]

Family and personal life[edit]

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).

Decorations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ In isolation, Gerardus is pronounced [ɣeːˈrɑrdʏs].
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "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. ^ "Hier de tekst van mijn speech in de VN... - Frans Timmermans - Facebook".
  7. ^ "U.N. Council, With Russia in Accord, Tells Insurgents to Open Wreckage Site". New York Times. July 21, 2014.
  8. ^ "Watch: Dutch foreign minister's powerful speech amid chaotic MH17 aftermath". Washington Post.
  9. ^ "Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans Gives Perfect Response To Horror Of MH17". The Huffington Post UK.
  10. ^ "Russia Backs UN Resolution for Access to Ukraine Plane Crash Site - News". The Moscow Times.
  11. ^ "Emotional Speech from NL Foreign Minister". IrishmanAbroad.com.
  12. ^ "Timmermans speech leads UN Security Council to condemn MH17 attack - NL Times". NL Times.
  13. ^ "Bill Clinton calls for tough response on MH17 and pays tribute to lost HIV researchers". Telegraph.co.uk. 23 July 2014.
  14. ^ "Mythen rond de MH17". Trouw (in Dutch). Retrieved 2018-07-24.
  15. ^ "Timmermans wordt eerste vice-president van de Europese Commissie". nrc.nl.
  16. ^ "Vabariigi President".

External links[edit]

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, Rule of Law and Charter of Fundamental Rights
2014–present
Preceded by
Martine Reicherts
as European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship