STA, 27 November 2019 - Janez Lenarčič, Slovenia's former ambassador to the EU who has taken over as crisis management commissioner, is a seasoned diplomat. He has served as ambassador to the OSCE, director of the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, secretary of Slovenia's permanent mission at the UN, and the PM's diplomatic adviser.
Lenarčič, who speaks English, French and Serbian, was born in Ljubljana on 6 November 1967. He graduated in international law in Ljubljana in 1992 and started working for the Foreign Ministry the same year.
Between 1994 and 1999 he worked with Slovenia's permanent mission at the UN, initially as the third and then as the first secretary. In 2000 he started serving as adviser to the foreign minister and the following year he became the diplomatic adviser to the prime minister, the late Janez Drnovšek.
In 2002 and 2003 Lenarčič worked as state secretary in the prime minister's office, to be appointed in 2003 the head of the Slovenian mission to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). During Slovenia's OSCE presidency in 2005 he headed the organisation's permanent council.
In 2006 he was appointed state secretary for European affairs, serving also during Slovenia's first presidency of the EU in 2008 during the centre-right government of Janez Janša. He was the head of the task force in charge of preparing Slovenia's EU presidency.
In July 2008 he was appointed the director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and confirmed for a second and final term at the same post in May 2011.
In September 2014 Lenarčič became state secretary in the office of the then Prime Minister Miro Cerar, where he was in charge of foreign and European affairs.
He served under Cerar's centre-left government until July 2016, when he took over as Slovenia's permanent representative to the EU.
Lenarčič decided to quit the Foreign Ministry after 19 years last month. He criticised a legal provision that financially penalises diplomats who suspend their status at the ministry to serve abroad and then return to the ministry for a period shorter than half of the duration of the absence.
Lenarčič is considered apolitical. In his opening address at the committee hearing in the European Parliament, Lenarčič listed improved crisis response, prevention and preparedness as his priorities. He also called on MEPs to support a 30% increase in the humanitarian aid budget for the next multi-year budget.