Commission : Vassiliou to Take on Education, Languages, Culture & Youth Portfolio

Article excerpt

The current EU HealthaCommissioner Androulla Vassiliou (Cyprus) is expected to take over the education, culture and youth portfolio from Jan Figel (Slovakia) and is to add multilingualism to this portfolio.

After studying law and international relations in London, Vassiliou, born in 1943, worked as a lawyer and legal advisor to the Bank of Cyprus before becoming First Lady in her country at the time of the election of George Vassiliou in 1988. As a member of the Chamber of Representatives representing the movement of the United Democrats from 1996 to 2006, she was actively involved in the process of harmonisation of Cypriot legislation with the acquis communautaire within the Committee on European Affairs. Vassiliou was vice-president of the European Liberal Democrats and Reform Party (ELDR) from 2001 to 2006. She was appointed as the EU's Health Commissioner in April 2008 after the resignation of Markos Kyprianou.

IMPORTANCE OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING

Vassiliou is due to be responsible for multilingualism as well as for education, training, culture and youth. In his mission letter, Commission President Barroso recommends shaping the right framework for skills as a "crucial component of the crisis's exit strategy and a key driver of our EU2020 vision. We should ensure that our EU education and training systems are fully in line with the needs of our society and our labour markets". Vassiliou will also be responsible for promoting cooperation between education, innovation and research policies in order to assure further development of the knowledge triangle concept. …