European Commissioner of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Tibor Navracsics

DownloadedFileTibor Navracsics serves as Commissioner of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport on the European Commission  formed under the presidency of Jean-Claude Juncker on November 1, 2014.

Navracsics was originally nominated to the post of Commissioner of Education, Culture, Youth and Citizenship, though European Commission President Juncker chose to divest Navracsics of the latter domain and assign him the responsibility to oversee issues related to sports instead (source in Hungarian).  

He previously filled the office of Minister of External Economy and Foreign Affairs in the new Orbán government constituted in June 2014 until resigning from this post in September of that year to assume his position on the European Commission.  

Navracsics was the Orbán government’s Minister of Public Administration and Justice from 2010 until 2014.

He served as Fidesz National Assembly representative from 2006 until October 2014, when he relinquished his mandate as a result of his appointment to the European Commission. 

Biography

Born and raised in the city of Veszprém (population 62,000, central Hungary), where he graduated from high school in 1984. Received degree from the Loránd Eötvös University School of Law and Political Sciences in Budapest in 1990.

Taught political science as an assistant professor at the Budapest University of Economic Sciences from 1993-1997 and as an associate professor at Loránd Eötvös University from 1997 to 2001. Earned a Ph.D. degree in political sciences from Loránd Eötvös University in 2000 following the approval of his dissertation “European Domestic Politics: Political Science Analysis of the European Union” (Európai belpolitika: az Európai Unió politikatudományi elemzése) (source in Hungarian). 

Served in the Prime Ministry during the first Orbán government from 1998 to 2002, first as director of the Communications Department, then as director of the Press and Information Department. 

Was chairman of Fidesz National Assembly caucus during entire 2006–2010 parliamentary cycle.

Of Croatian descent, speaks fluent Croatian.

Turns 50 years old in 2016. 

Notable Quotes

“We shall very soon see if the West defends us.” September 5, 2014, speaking about Russia in an interview with the German newspaper Die Welt (source in Hungarian). 

“The freedom and diversity of the media is of key importance for a democratic society. I regret that in Hungarian government, of which I am now no longer a member, has in the past occasionally failed to attribute sufficient importance to this important consideration.” Written response to further questions following Navracsics’s October 1, 2014 European Parliament committee hearing regarding his nomination as Commissioner of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (source in Hungarian).

“Hungarian public life, including political officials and journalists as well, simply writes and speaks about the other side in a language that is not just argumentation, but something that evokes much more devastating and vehement human emotions. This is why I find myself in a difficult situation when a Hungarian political text appears in either English or French. . . . In Hungarian we read it, shrug our shoulders and turn the page. However if we read this in a foreign language and recognize it as our own, it projects a very bad image of Hungarian domestic politics.” January 21, 2015, during interview with opposition website 444.hu (source in Hungarian). 

“Fault lines have already appeared on the outer walls as well.” February 20, 2015, referring to growing disunity within Fidesz during interview with pro-government weekly Válasz (source in Hungarian). 

Last updated: June 15, 2016. 

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