“As a Commissioner I would ensure that we make the 2004 enlargement a success story and that an EU of 25 member states will continue to prosper and develop. One of the main challenges for the next Commission is to increase knowledge and combat ignorance of the EU and its vocation. I would consider it my mandate to bring the EU closer to the citizens and I would see as my particular responsibility to build bridges between the Commission work in Brussels and the people of Slovenia. I want to work for a Commission that is close to the citizens and their needs”, said Dr. Janez Potocnik after his nomination as Memberdesignate of the European Commission 2004 – 2009 on July 28. On 1st November he will succeed Philippe Busquin as Commissioner for science and research.

Dr. Potocnik was born in 1958 and graduated with honours from the Faculty of Economics at the University of Ljubljana. He continued his studies at the same University where he did his Master’s degree in 1989 and a Ph.D. degree in 1993. For several years (1989-1993), he worked as a researcher at the Institute of Economic Research in Ljubljana. In July 1994, he was appointed Director of the Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development of the Republic of Slovenia, then a part of the Ministry of Economic Relations and Development. In April 1998, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia appointed Dr. Potocnik Head of Negotiating Team for Accession of the Republic of Slovenia to the European Union. From June 2000 to December 2000, he was also the acting director of Government Office for European Affairs. In June 2001, he was appointed a Minister Councillor at the Office of the Prime Minister.

Since 1991 Dr. Potocnik has also been an assistant professor at the Faculty of Law at the University of Ljubljana, where he lectures on statistics. On 24 January 2002, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia appointed Dr. Potocnik the Minister without portfolio responsible for European Affairs. After resigning from this post, in April 2004 he became member of the European Commission.