Andris Piebalgs (born 17 September 1957) is a Latvian politician and diplomat, currently serving as European Commissioner for Development at the European Commission. Between 2004 and 2010 he served as Commissioner for Energy.
Andris Piebalgs was born on 17 September 1957 in Valmiera, Latvia. Piebalgs is a graduate in Physics from the University of Latvia. Andris Piebalgs is an experienced Latvian politician who occupied key positions in both national and European political fields. Earlier in his career, while Latvia was still part of the Soviet Union, Andris Piebalgs worked as a teacher and was the Headmaster of the 1st Secondary School of Valmiera (1980-1990). He also served as Director of the Department in the Ministry of Education in Latvia. He was a member of Communist Party of Soviet Union from 1979.
In 1988, Latvian People's Front, an organisation that united more than 200 000 people, was established. Supporters of Latvian self-determination gained victory in the elections of the Latvian Parliament on 18 March 1990. It was the first time since the Soviet occupation that candidates from various political parties were allowed to take part. On 7 May 1990, Andris Piebalgs was appointed as Minister of Education in the new Government, and one year later, in August 1991, Latvia regained full independence. Andris Piebalgs' main task was then to put in place the first independent education system in Latvia.