European union

Biography of the President of the European Parliament

Josep Borrell Fontelles
 JJosep Borrell Fontelles was born on 24 April 1947 in a small town in the Catalonian Pyrenees. He left primary school at the age of 10 and up to the age of 16 he studied for his secondary-school leaving certificate at home, whilst working in the family bakery. He is divorced and he has two children.

Academic study and experience
  • Degree in aeronautical engineering from the Universidad Politécnica,
  • Doctorate in Economic Sciences from the Universidad Complutense, Madrid
  • Master's degree in Energy Economics from theInstitut français du Pétrole, Paris
  • Master's degree in Applied Mathematics from the University of Stanford (California)
  • Professorship in Economic Analysis within the Faculty of Economic Sciences at the Universidad Complutense, Madrid
  • Languages: Spanish, French, English, Catalan
Professional and political experience

Between 1972 and 1981 he worked as an engineeer with the Compañía Española de Petróleos and was elected as a trade-union representative.
  • 1979: elected as councillor in Spain's first democratic municipal elections
  • 1979-1982: Head of Finance within the Madrid Regional Government
  • 1982-1984: Secretary-General of the Budget in the first Gonzalez government
  • 1984-1991: Treasury Minister
  • 1991-1996: twice Minister for Public Works, Transport and the Environment
  • 1986-2004: Member of Congress for Barcelona
  • 1999-2004: chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on European Affairs
  • 2002-2003: member of the European Convention
On his return from the USA in 1974 he joined the Socialist Party (PSOE), within which he has held the following positions of responsibility:
  • 1992-2004: Member of the Partit dels Socialistes de Catalunya National Executive
  • 1997-2000: Member of the PSOE Federal Executive
  • In 1998 he won the PSOE's primary elections to become the party's candidate for the office of Prime Minister
  • 2004: Elected President of the European Parliament

Experience in European affairs

Throughout his political career, Josep Borrell has been very closely involved with the European Union's integration process and its institutions:
  • Initially as a Treasury Minister and subsequently as Minister for Public Works, he negotiated and administered the application of the Structural and Cohesion Funds.
  • During Spain's 1989 EU Presidency he chaired the Budget Council meetings and during its 1995 EU Presidency he chaired the Transport, Telecommunications and Environment Council meetings.
  • For a 10-year period (from Spain's accession in 1986 until the Socialist Party left government office in 1996) he represented the Spanish Government in the EU Budget, Transport, Telecommunications and Environment Councils of Ministers.
  • During Spain's 1996 EU Presidency he appeared before the relevant European Parliament committees as Minister for Public Works, Transport and the Environment.
  • From October 1999 to January 2004 he was chairman of the Joint Congress-Senate Committee on European Affairs.
  • He was head of the Spanish Parliament's delegation to the COSAC meetings held during the same period and he chaired COSAC during Spain's 2000 EU Presidency.
  • Representing the Spanish Parliament as a member of the Convention, he played an active role in the working parties on economic government, social Europe, external policy and defence, and in the think-tank on budget procedure.
  • He has published over 100 articles on European issues, he has given lectures and taught doctoral courses on European politics, and he recently published a book about his experiences at the Convention.
 At the recent European elections he headed the Socialist Party's list, which secured 43% of the vote and 25 MEPs. This result is the best which the Socialists have ever achieved in the European elections held in Spain and it is almost as good as the result which they achieved in Spain's most recent parliamentary elections.
Josep Borrell was the leader of the Spanish Socialist Delegation within the European Parliament until his election as President of the European Parliament on 20 July 2004.