Róża Thun

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Róża von Thun und Hohenstein

Róża Thun
Member of the European Parliament
for Lesser Poland and Świętokrzyskie
Assumed office
14 July 2009
Personal details
Róża Maria Woźniakowska

(1954-04-13) 13 April 1954 (age 64)
Kraków, Poland
NationalityPoland Polish
Political partyCivic Platform
Spouse(s)Franz von Thun-Hohenstein
Alma materJagiellonian University

Róża Maria Thun [1] (née Woźniakowska, born 13 April 1954), is a Polish politician, more usually known as Róża Thun, than by her formal style of Countess.

Thun has served as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for Poland, representing Civic Platform since 2009, being returned to Brussels at the 2014 European elections.

Previously, Róża Thun was involved in two anti-communist organizations (the Student Committee of Solidarity and the Workers' Defence Committee) in the People's Republic of Poland. After the fall of Communism, she was the chairwoman of the Polish Robert Schuman Foundation, a non-governmental organization promoting European integration. Thun was also the head of the European Commission representation to Poland between 2005 and 2009. Since 2011 she has been Vice President of the European Movement International.

Von Thun und Hohenstein arms

Early life[edit]

She was born Róża Woźniakowska on 13 April 1954 at Kraków, Poland.[1][2] Her father, Jacek Woźniakowski, was a professor in the Catholic University of Lublin (who also served as Mayor of Kraków for 1990-1991).[2] Her mother was a biologist and an expert on the species of bats.[2]

Marriage and children[edit]

In 1981, she married Franz Graf von Thun und Hohenstein, an economist and a Count of the Holy Roman Empire of Austrian aristocratic descent.[3]

Her formal style by courtesy upon marriage became Rosa Gräfin von Thun und Hohenstein: Gräfin is the German equivalent rank to Countess.

The couple have four children: a son Christoph and three daughters Marynia, Sophie and Jadwiga.[2]

Political activities[edit]

Before the fall of communism in Poland[edit]

In 1979, Woźniakowska graduated from the Jagiellonian University with a Master's degree in English Philology.[1][2] She became a member, and later spokesperson, of the Student Committee of Solidarity in Kraków.[1] Between 1977 and 1980, she was active on the Workers' Defence Committee[1] (an organization aiding political prisoners and their families).

After 1989[edit]

Between 1992 and 2005, Thun was Director-General and Chairwoman of the Polish Robert Schuman Foundation (Polish: Polska Fundacja imienia Roberta Schumana),[1] a non-governmental organization promoting European integration.[2] From 1998 to 2000, she served on Warsaw City Council,[1] and from 2005 until 2009, she was the head of the European Commission Representation to Poland.[1]

European Parliament[edit]

Thun was elected a European Parliament Member (MEP) at the European elections of 2009. She won some 150,000 votes in the Lesser Poland and Świętokrzyskie constituency which she represents.[4] Although Thun stood on the Civic Platform parliamentary list, she only joined the party following her election.[4]

As an MEP, Thun is a member of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee, the EU-Delegation for relations with Israel and its delegation to the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly.[1]

Thun was a leading supporter of the European Parliament's Spinelli Group, formed in 2010 to reinvigorate the strive for federalisation of the European Union (EU). Other prominent supporters were: Jacques Delors, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Guy Verhofstadt, Andrew Duff, Elmar Brok.

Thun has been nominated for the prize of "best MEP" in 2011 and in 2013 by "The Parliament Magazine" in the Internal Market and Consumer Protection category. These prizes have been awarded since 2005, and nominations are made by European organizations, associations and institutions which monitor the workings of the EP. 3 names are shortlisted in each category, with MEPs voting for the winner.

Ryszard Czarnecki controversy[edit]

On 26 April 2009 – less than two months before the European elections – Ryszard Czarnecki, a Polish MEP for the Law and Justice Party, wrote a blog entry, describing Thun's "troubles" with the Polish National Electoral Commission.[5] According to Czarnecki, the Civic Platform intended to register her candidacy under the name of Róża Thun,[5] but the Commission refused, stating that according to the regulations, all candidates must appear under their full names on the ballot papers.[5] "And so, the voters will see Róża Maria Gräfin von Thun und Hohenstein in her full grace",[5] Czarnecki wrote. He further asserted that "a Gräfin with a German-sounding name might do harm to the Civic Platform".[6][7]

On 20 May 2009, it was revealed that Czarnecki himself would appear on the ballot sheets not under his assumed Polish name of Ryszard Henryk, but as Richard Henry, since he was born in the United Kingdom.[7][8] Czarnecki stated that his situation is different, as he didn't choose his names, while Thun chose her surname by marrying her husband.[8] Countess Thun retorted her name came out of love,[8] adding "I pity Richard Henry Czarnecki".[8]

Political positions[edit]

In November 2017, Thun joined a parliamentary majority by voting in favor of a resolution invoking Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union, thereby potentially stripping Poland of voting rights in the EU for violating the common values of the bloc, including the rule of law.[9] Shortly after, her political opponents had pictures of Thun and five other Polish politicians strung from a makeshift gallows in a public square in Katowice.[9]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Your MEPs: Róza Gräfin von THUN UND HOHENSTEIN". The European Parliament. Retrieved 9 July 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "O mnie". Róża Thun official website (in Polish). Retrieved 9 July 2010.
  3. ^ graf-thun.de
  4. ^ a b Kurska, Magdalena (17 July 2009). "Róża Thun wstąpiła do krakowskiej PO" [Róża Thun joins the Kraków Civic Platform]. Gazeta Wyborcza Kraków (in Polish).
  5. ^ a b c d Ryszard Czarnecki (26 April 2009). "Grafini von Hohenstein, czyli problem PO z PKW" [Gräfin von Hohenstein, or PO (Civic Platform) trouble with the PKW (National Electoral Commission)]. Ryszard Czarnecki's blog (in Polish). Retrieved 8 July 2010.
  6. ^ "Róża Thun w wyborach austriacką grafinią" [Róża Thun as an Austrian Grafin in the elections]. Dziennik (in Polish). 26 April 2009.
  7. ^ a b "Ryszard Czarnecki niejedno ma imię" [Ryszard Czarnecki of many names]. Interia.pl (in Polish). 20 May 2009. Retrieved 8 July 2010.
  8. ^ a b c d Grabek, Artur (20 May 2009). "Thun: Żal mi Richarda Henry Czarneckiego" [Thun: I pity Richard Henry Czarnecki]. Dziennik (in Polish).
  9. ^ a b Joanna Berendt (November 27, 2017), Protest Targeting Opposition Lawmakers Stirs Outrage in Poland New York Times.
  10. ^ "MEP Awards 2017 - Winners". MEP Awards. Dods Parliamentary Communications Ltd. Retrieved 8 May 2017.

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