Prior to moving to Brussels, Jan Figel served in the Slovak foreign ministry and held a seat in the country's parliament.
Jan Figel is among the few incoming EU commissioners who hasn't served at the cabinet level in his home country. Currently Figel, born on Jan. 20, 1960, is the head of the foreign relations committee of the Slovak Republic's national council. He has been a member of parliament since 1992, although he took a short break between 1998 and 2002, during which time he worked as a state secretary in the Slovak Foreign Ministry.
On the European political stage, Figel also worked as the deputy chairman of the committee for agriculture and chairman if the international economic relations subcommittee on the Council of Europe - a position he held between January 1995 and October 1998.
From 1983 to 1987, Figel studied at the polytechnic university in Kosice and finished his studies with a master's degree. In 1994 he complete exchange semesters abroad in Antwerp and Washington, D.C.