Věra Jourová

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Věra Jourová
Věra Jourová.jpg
Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency
Assumed office
1 December 2019
PresidentUrsula von der Leyen
Preceded by7 European Commissioners
European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality
In office
1 November 2014 – 30 November 2019
PresidentJean-Claude Juncker
Preceded byMartine Reicherts (Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship)
Neven Mimica (Consumer Protection)
Succeeded byDidier Reynders (Justice)
Helena Dalli (Equality)
15th Minister of Regional Development
In office
29 January 2014 – 8 October 2014
Prime MinisterBohuslav Sobotka
Preceded byFrantišek Lukl
Succeeded byKarla Šlechtová
Member of the Chamber of Deputies
In office
26 October 2013 – 21 October 2014
Personal details
Born (1964-08-18) 18 August 1964 (age 55)
Třebíč, Czechoslovakia
(now Czech Republic)
Political partyEuropean Democratic Party (2008–2010)
ANO 2011 (2012–present)
Other political
affiliations
Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party
Children2
EducationCharles University

Věra Jourová (Czech pronunciation: [ˈvjɛra 'jourovaː]; born 18 August 1964) is a Czech politician and lawyer who has been the Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency since 1 December 2019[1] and previously served as the European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality from 2014 to 2019.[2] She has also served as the Czech Minister for Regional Development and Member of the Chamber of Deputies (MP) between 2013 and 2014.

In 2019, Time magazine ranked Jourová in a list of 100 most influential people of the year. Reason for that was her share on passing and implementing General Data Protection Regulation and new privacy rights as European Commissioner.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Jourová grew up in Třebíč, a small town in which her parents, a kindergarten teacher and caterer, ran a folk troupe. She studied cultural anthropology in Prague, while raising two children. Upon graduation, she returned to work in Třebíč’s local council.[4]

Career in the public sector[edit]

Jourová served as secretary and spokesperson of the Municipal Office of Třebíč, Vysočina Region, Czech Republic, from 1995 until 2000 and as Head of the Department of Regional Development for the Vysočina Region from 2001 to 2003. She entered national politics when she was tapped to work as Deputy Head of the Ministry of Regional Development, where she led the European Integration Section until March 2006. Her responsibilities included leading the Czech team that negotiated EU funds with the European Commission and European Investment Bank as well as managing EU funds in the Czech Republic.[5]

In October 2006, Jourová was accused of accepting a 2 million bribe from Ladislav Péťa, mayor of Budišov, South Moravia, for securing EU subsidies to the reconstruction of the Budišov Chateau.[6] Although she was fully exonerated, she spent more than a month in pre-trial detention, which "brought divorce and anguish to her family".[7] Her prosecution was halted in mid-2008, when the police came forward and said that the bribery had never happened.[6]

Between 2006 and 2013, Jourová was an independent consultant providing advice on EU matters to the Czech Republic, Romania, Germany, Belarus, Latvia, Estonia, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, and Moldova.[5]

Political career[edit]

Career in national politics[edit]

Jourová has been a member of the ANO political party since 2012, and since 2013, she has been the movement's deputy chairwoman. She was elected as a Member of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament in October 2013, and became Minister for Regional Development in January 2014 in the government of Bohuslav Sobotka.[8] Her popularity ratings remained consistently high, helping to drive the party to second place in the 2013 national elections and to victory in the 2014 European elections.[4]

Member of the European Commission, 2014–present[edit]

Jourová testifies before the European Parliament in 2019 for confirmation as Vice-President and Commissioner for Values and Transparency

In July 2014, the three parties in the Czech government agreed that the country’s next European commissioner should be Jourová.[9] At the time, there was speculation she would vie for the important posts of European Commissioner for Regional Policy or the European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services.[9]

After an EU Parliament hearing she was confirmed as the European Union's Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality as a part of the Juncker Commission.[2] The Corporate Europe Observatory "expressed serious doubts" about her possible conflicts of interest due to her ties with ANO Chairman Andrej Babiš, who is also the Czech Finance Minister and a billionaire businessman.[6][10] Her party, ANO, belongs to the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe in the European Parliament.

Her responsibilities include gender equality, judicial cooperation within the EU, and privacy concerns, including concluding negotiations on a comprehensive EU-U.S. Safe Harbor Agreement and working with the Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip to pass "EU data protection reform and by modernis[e] and simplify[] consumer rules for online and digital purchases".[11] In addition, her portfolio includes "overseeing remuneration rules across the City of London, enforcing EU pay curbs and bonus caps", something that was explicitly carved out of Jonathan Hill's portfolio as Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union "amid concerns that members of the European Parliament will try to veto his appointment".[7] In 2018, Jourová was put in charge of drafting rules to assess the independence and functioning of a country’s judicial system as a condition for receiving funds from the budget of the European Union.[12]

Jourová said that Germany acted "according to the rules" regarding Spain's extradition request for Catalan president Carles Puigdemont.[13]

Following the 2019 European elections, Babiš nominated Jourová for a second term in the European Commission.[14]

Jourová has voiced concerns regarding the rule of law in Poland.[15]

Controversy[edit]

In early 2019, Romanian authorities launched a criminal probe into Jourová and Frans Timmermans over alleged false claims made in a European Commission report on the rule of law in Romania.[16] At the time, the Commission responded that authorities in Romania had “no jurisdiction whatsoever” over EU officials carrying out official functions.[16]

Some MEPs have expressed concern over Jourova's affiliation to controversial billionaire-turned politician Andrej Babiš and his political movement ANO.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Věra Jourová". European Commission. 2019-10-24. Retrieved 2019-12-08.
  2. ^ a b Velinger, Jan (8 October 2014). "Jourová approved for European commissioner post". Radio Prague.
  3. ^ "Vera Jourova: The 100 Most Influential People of 2019". TIME. Retrieved 2019-09-14.
  4. ^ a b Andrew Gardner (April 1, 2015), Věra Jourová: Feisty commissioner European Voice.
  5. ^ a b Jourová, Věra. "Curriculum Vitae (as of January 1, 2014)" (PDF). Elections2014.eu. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  6. ^ a b c "New Czech EU Commissioner Jourová emphasizes her independence". Prague Post. 29 September 2014.
  7. ^ a b Alex Barker; Duncan Robinson; Sam Fleming; George Parker (26 September 2014). "Věra Jourová: Rapid rise from a Czech jail for EU bank pay chief". Financial Times.
  8. ^ "Minister of Regional Development", mmr.cz, retrieved 27 May 2014
  9. ^ a b Andrew Gardner (July 21, 2014), Czechs choose Věra Jourová for European commissioner European Voice.
  10. ^ "More prospective commissioners with questions to answer"
  11. ^ Juncker, Jean-Claude. "Mission Letter: Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality (10 September 2014)" (PDF). European Commission.
  12. ^ Mehreen Khan (January 22, 2018), Brussels faces clash with Poland over budget link to rule of law Financial Times.
  13. ^ "European Commission defends Germany's handling of Puigdemont case". El Nacional.cat. 11 April 2018.
  14. ^ Lily Bayer (July 29, 2019), Věra Jourová nominated for second term in European Commission Politico Europe.
  15. ^ "Polish judiciary changes are a 'destruction': EU commissioner". Reuters. 8 February 2020.
  16. ^ a b Michael Peel and Valerie Hopkins (February 21, 2019), Brussels battles Bucharest over commissioner probe Financial Times.
  17. ^ "European Voice suggests EC nominee Jourová got off to good start but fell short". Czech Radio. 2 October 2014.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Štefan Füle
Czech European Commissioner
2014–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Martine Reicherts
as European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship
European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality
2014–present
Preceded by
Neven Mimica
as European Commissioner for Consumer Protection