Development Commissioner European Union
Andris Piebalgs is an experienced Latvian politician who occupied key positions in both national and European political fields. He was the European Commissioner for Energy during the first Barroso Commission, starting in 2004. In that capacity he led the development of a more competitive, sustainable and secure European energy system. Andris Piebalgs was instrumental in driving EU energy issues to the centre of EU policy-making. In recognition of his leadership in European energy policy he has received numerous awards including the Energy Efficiency Visionary Award for his “outstanding contributions to the advancement of energy efficiency” from the Energy Efficiency Global Forum in 2009.
Prior to joining the Commission, Andris Piebalgs pursued a political career and was also a high-ranking diplomat, helping Latvia to a play its role in the EU. Within Latvia, he has been deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance as well as Minister of Education. As a diplomat, he worked to resolve the sea border issue between Latvia and its neighbour, Estonia. He then led Latvia's accession negotiations into the EU. He began his career a teacher and then headmaster. He is a graduate in Physics from the University of Latvia.
Commissioner Piebalgs last visited Auckland in June 2012, to co-lead the EU side in the Pacific Islands Forum-European Union ministerial talks, which New Zealand hosted as chair of the Forum.