Maros Sefcovic: Inside European Commission chief’s career – from political views to Brexit

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Since last year, one of the European Commission’s most senior officials, Maros Sefcovic, has represented the EU in Brexit negotiations with the UK. In the past, Mr Sefcovic has expressed strong views on a number of issues and once ran for the presidency in his country of birth. But where has his career taken him so far?

Originally from Slovakia, Mr Sefcovic was born in the country’s capital, Bratislava, on July 24, 1966.

He enrolled at the University of Economics in his hometown in 1984 but left after one year to pursue a degree in Russia at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, where he studied from 1985 to 1990.

In 2000, Mr Sefcovic obtained a PhD in international law at Comenius University in Bratislava.

The subject of his dissertation thesis was sources of EU law and respective legislative procedures.

Is Mr Sefcovic a communist?

In the middle of his degree, Mr Sefcovic became a candidate for membership in the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia.

After the two-year candidacy period, he filed an application for party membership in May 1989.

During this time, he had to secure three approvals from other party members and embrace the opportunity to “deepen his knowledge of Marxism–Leninism”.

He became an official member of the party on June 1, 1989, after his application was approved.

However, it is not clear if Mr Sefcovic still holds these political beliefs to this day.

Where has he worked previously?

Mr Sefcovic began his working career as a diplomat for Slovakia, where he served in Zimbabwe and Canada.

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In addition, he was employed as the Slovakian ambassador to Israel between 1999 and 2002.

Then, in 2004, the 55-year-old was employed as the Permanent Representative of the Slovak Republic to the EU.

Mr Sefcovic held this position for around five years before he was elected the European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth.

After less than a year in the role, he became Vice-President (VP) for Interinstitutional Relations and Administration.

However, this time he would remain in the same job for four years until he was appointed VP of the European Commission for Energy Union.

Working under the Commission’s then president Jean-Claude Juncker, he helped countries from central, eastern and southeast Europe to become more self-reliant with regards to their energy consumption.

The Commission’s current President, Ursula von der Leyen, nominated Mr Sefcovic to his present job, in 2019, after she was elected to the role.

Today, he works as VP for interinstitutional relations and foresight and has been co-chairing and representing the EU in the Partnership Council established by the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement since June 2021.

From Thursday Mr Sefcovic is being hosted at the Chevening country retreat in Buckinghamshire for a two-day summit.

The occasion represents the first meeting to take place between himself and the Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who was handed Brexit negotiating responsibilities for the UK, last month.

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