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Jose Manuel Barroso

 

Jose Manuel Barroso

For the Portuguese modern pentathlete, see Manuel Barroso.

José Manuel Barroso
President of the European Commission
Incumbent
Assumed office
22 November 2004
Vice President Margot Wallström
Catherine Ashton
Council Herman Van Rompuy
Preceded by Romano Prodi
Prime Minister of Portugal
In office
6 April 2002 – 17 July 2004
President Jorge Sampaio
Preceded by António Guterres
Succeeded by Pedro Santana Lopes
Personal details
Born José Manuel Durão Barroso
(1956-03-23) 23 March 1956 (age 58)
Lisbon, Portugal
Political party National:
Portuguese Workers' Communist Party (Before 1976)
Social Democratic Party
(1976–present)
European:
European People's Party
Spouse(s) Maria Sousa Uva
Children Luís
Guilherme
Francisco
Alma mater University of Lisbon
European University Institute
University of Geneva
Georgetown University
Religion Roman Catholicism
Signature
Website Official Media Gallery
This name uses Portuguese naming customs. The first or maternal family name is Durão and the second or paternal family name is Barroso.

José Manuel Durão Barroso (Portuguese: [ʒuˈzɛ mɐnuˈɛɫ duˈɾɐ̃w bɐˈʁozu]; born 23 March 1956) is the 11th and current President of the European Commission and a Portuguese politician. He served as Prime Minister of Portugal from 6 April 2002 to 17 July 2004.

Academic career

Durão Barroso (as he is known in Portugal) graduated in Law from the Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbon and has an MSc in Economic and Social Sciences from the University of Geneva (Institut européen de l'université de Genève) in Switzerland. His academic career continued as an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbon. He did research for a PhD at Georgetown University and Georgetown's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service in Washington, D.C. but his CV does not list any doctoral degree (except honorary).[1] He is a 1998 graduate of the Georgetown Leadership Seminar.[2] Back in Lisbon, Barroso became Director of the Department for International Relations at Lusíada University (Universidade Lusíada). He received honorary degrees from many Universities listed under honorary degrees.

Early political career

Barroso's political activity began in his late teens, during the Estado Novo regime in Portugal, before the Carnation Revolution of 25 April 1974. In his college days, he was one of the leaders of the underground Maoist MRPP (Reorganising Movement of the Proletariat Party, later PCTP/MRPP, Communist Party of the Portuguese Workers/Revolutionary Movement of the Portuguese Proletariat). In an interview with the newspaper Expresso, he said that he had joined MRPP to fight the only other student body movement, also underground, which was controlled by the Portuguese Communist Party. Despite this justification there is a very famous political 1976 interview recorded by the Portuguese state-run television channel, RTP, in which Barroso, as a politically minded student during the post-Carnation Revolution turmoil known as PREC, criticises the bourgeois education system which "throws students against workers and workers against students."[3] In December 1980, Barroso joined the right-of-centre PPD (Democratic Popular Party, later PPD/PSD-Social Democratic Party), where he remains to the present day.

In 1985, under the PSD government of Aníbal Cavaco Silva (now President of Portugal), Barroso was named Under-Secretary of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs. In 1987 he became a member of the same government as he was elevated to Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (answering to the Minister of Foreign Affairs), a post he was to hold for the next five years. In this capacity he was the driving force behind the Bicesse Accords of 1990, which led to a temporary armistice in the Angolan Civil War between the ruling MPLA and the opposition UNITA. He also supported independence for East Timor, a former Portuguese colony, then a province of Indonesia by force. In 1992, Barroso was promoted to the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs, and served in this capacity until the defeat of the PSD in the 1995 general election.

Prime Minister of Portugal

In opposition, Barroso was elected to the Assembly of the Republic in 1995 as a representative for Lisbon. There, he became chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. In 1999 he was elected president of his political party, PSD, succeeding Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa (a professor of law), and thus became Leader of the Opposition. Parliamentary elections in 2002 gave the PSD enough seats to form a coalition government with the right-wing Portuguese People's Party, and Barroso subsequently became Prime Minister of Portugal on 6 April 2002.

As Prime Minister, facing a growing budget deficit, he made a number of difficult decisions and adopted strict reforms. He vowed to reduce public expenditure, which made him unpopular among leftists and public servants.. His purpose was to lower the public budget deficit to a 3% target (according to the demands of EU rules), and official data during the 2002–2004 period stated that the target was being attained. In March 2003, Barroso hosted U.S President George W. Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar in the Portuguese island of Terceira, in the Azores. The four leaders finalised the controversial US-led 2003 invasion of Iraq. Under Barroso's leadership, Portugal became part of the "coalition of the willing" for the invasion and occupation of Iraq, sending non-combat troops.

Barroso did not finish his term as he had been nominated as President of the European Commission on 5 July 2004. Barroso arranged with Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio to nominate Pedro Santana Lopes as a substitute Prime Minister of Portugal. Santana Lopes led the PSD/PP coalition for a few months until early 2005, when new elections were called. When the Portuguese Socialist Party won the elections it produced an estimation that by the end of the year the budget deficit would reach 6.1%,[4] which it used to criticise Barroso's and Santana Lopes's economic policies.

President of the European Commission

File:Visit of José Manuel Barroso to the VLT.ogv

In 2004, the proposed European Constitution and now the Treaty of Lisbon included a provision that the choice of President must take into account the result of Parliamentary elections and the candidate supported by the victorious Europarty in particular. That provision was not in force in the nomination in 2004, but the centre-right European People's Party (EPP), who won the elections, pressured for a candidate from its own ranks. In the end, José Manuel Barroso, the EPP candidate, was chosen by the European Council.[5]

On the same basis, the EPP again endorsed Barroso for a second term during the 2009 European election campaign and, after the EPP again won the elections, was able to secure his nomination by the European Council on 17 June 2009. On 3 September 2009, Barroso unveiled his manifesto for his second term.[6] On 16 September 2009, Barroso was re-elected by the European Parliament for another five years.[7][8][9] If he completes his second term he will become only the second Commission president to serve two terms, after Jacques Delors.

During his first presidency, the following important issues were on the Commission's agenda:

One of his first tasks since being re-elected was a visit to Ireland to persuade Irish citizens to approve the Treaty of Lisbon in the country's second referendum due to be held the following month.[10] Barroso was greeted by Irish Minister for Defence Willie O'Dea and Peter Power, the Minister of State for Overseas Development, as he got off his plane at Shannon Airport on the morning of 19 September 2009 before briefly meeting with the joint committee of the Oireachtas and meeting and greeting people at functions in Limerick's City Hall, University of Limerick (UL) and the Savoy Hotel.[10] He told The Irish Times in an interview referenced internationally by Reuters that he had been asked if Ireland would split from the European Union.[11] He also launched a €14.8 million grant for former workers at Dell's Limerick plant, described as "conveniently opportune" by former Member of the European Parliament and anti-Lisbonite Patricia McKenna.[12]

On 12 September 2012 Barroso has called for the EU to evolve into a "federation of nation-states". Addressing the EU parliament in Strasbourg, Mr Barroso said such a move was necessary to combat the continent's economic crisis. He said he believed Greece would be able to stay in the eurozone if it stood by its commitments. Mr Barroso also set out plans for a single supervisory mechanism for all banks in the eurozone.[13]

Controversies

In 2005 Die Welt reported that Barroso had spent a week on the yacht of the Greek shipping billionaire Spiro Latsis. It emerged soon afterwards that this had occurred only a month before the Commission approved 10 million euros of Greek state aid for Latsis's shipping company – though the state aid decision had been taken by the previous European Commission before Barroso took up his post.[14] In response to this revelation, Nigel Farage MEP of the UK Independence Party persuaded around 75 MEPs from across the political spectrum to back a motion of no confidence in Barroso, so as to compel him to appear before the European Parliament to be questioned on the matter.[15] The motion was tabled on 12 May 2005, and Barroso appeared before Parliament as required at a debate on 26 May 2005.[16] The motion itself was heavily defeated.

In response to criticism for his choice of a less fuel efficient Volkswagen Touareg, amid EU legislation of targets drastically to reduce car CO2 emissions, Barroso dismissed this as "overzealous moralism".[17]

In April 2008, amid sharp food price rises and mounting food vs fuel concerns, Barroso insisted that biofuel use was "not significant" in pushing up food prices.[18] The following month, he announced a study that would look into the issue.[19] The backdoor approval of the GE potato, by President Barroso, has met a wave of strong opposition from EU member-states. The governments of Greece, Austria, Luxembourg, Italy, Hungary and France have all publicly announced that they will not allow the GE potato to be grown in their countries.

Barroso has expressed criticism of national governments arguing "Decisions taken by the most democratic institutions in the world are very often wrong."[20]

Personal life

José Manuel Durão Barroso is the son of Luís António Saraiva Barroso and his wife Maria Elisabete de Freitas Durão. In 1980 he married Maria Margarida Pinto Ribeiro de Sousa Uva, with whom he has three sons.

Apart from Portuguese, Barroso is fluent in French,[21] speaks Spanish and English and has taken a course to acquire a basic knowledge of German.[22]

Honours

Barroso holds over twenty decorations, including.[23]

  • Portugal's Gra-Cruz da Ordem Militar de Cristo in 1996;
  • Winner of the Casa da Imprensa prize in the area of politics in 1992
  • Named Global Leader for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum in 1993
  • Chosen Personality of the Year in 1991 and 2004 by the Foreign Press Association in Portugal
  • Given “Medalla de la Universidad de Alcala de Henares” and “Medalla de Oro de la Ciudad de Zamora”, Spain, 2005
  • Golden Medal: The Bell Celebration – Message to the United Europe, from the Ferdinan Martinengo Company, Slovakia, 2006
  • EFR-Business Week Award from Erasmus University Rotterdam, 2006.
  • Honorary Citizen of Rio de Janeiro, June 2006.
  • "European of the Year" award by European Voice newspaper, November 2006.
  • Awarded Honorary HEC diploma, Paris, December 2006.
  • Special Prize, Business Centre Club, Poland, February 2007; Gold Medal of the city of Lamego, Portugal, April 2007;
  • Transatlantic Leadership Prize, European Institute, Washington DC, April 2007;
  • Grand Cross of the Order of Vytautas the Great (Lithuania, 06/2007)[24]
  • Honorary Citizen of Delphi and Golden Medal of the "Amfiktyons", Delphi, Greece, July 2007;
  • Academic Title EBAPE – FGV, for the relevant contribution and services towards the study and practice in Administration - Getulio Vargas Foundation, Rio de Janeiro, August 2007
  • Conde de Barcelona International Prize from the Conde de Barcelona Foundation, Barcelona, November 2007.
  • Honorary Medal and Honorary Diploma of the City of Nicosia, Nicosia, January 2008.
  • Honorary Member, Academia Portuguesa da História, Lisbon, March 2008.
  • State Medal "Stara Planina" I Degree, Bulgaria, March 2008.
  • "Prémio Rotary da Paz", Rotary International Distrito 1960 Portugal, Lisbon, April 2008; "Chave de Honra da Cidade de Lisboa", Lisbon, May 2008.
  • Confraria Queijo S. Jorge, Acores, May 2008.
  • Ciudadino Andino Honorifico, Lima, Peru, May 2008.
  • "Transatlantic Business Award", American Chamber of Commerce to the European Union, Brussels, May 2008.
  • Confraria vinho do Porto, Porto, June 2008.
  • Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana, First Class, Tallinn, February 2009.
  • Gold Medal of the Royal Institute of European Studies, Royal Institute of European Studies Madrid, March 2009.
  • Gold Medal of the Hellenic Parliament, Athens, April 2009.
  • Medal of Honour and Benefaction of the City of Athens, Athens, April 2009.
  • European Excellence Award, by the Government Council of the Community of Madrid, May 2009.
  • Prix European of the Year, The European Movement in Denmark, Copenhagen, May 2009.
  • Grand Cross of the Order of Vytautas the Great, Vilnius, June 2009.
  • Laureate of the Quadriga Prize 2009 - United for the Better, Berlin, October 2009
  • Collar of the "Order pro merito Melitensi" [Civilian Class], the Order of Malta, Rome, May 2010.
  • Medal of Merit from the Federação das Associações Portuguesas e Luso-brasileiras, Brazil, July 2010.
  • "Man of the Year 2009 of Central and Eastern Europe", Krynica, September 2010.
  • Great Collar of the Order of Timor-Leste, Brussels, October 2010.
  • Golden Victoria "European of the Year 2010" award by the Union of German Magazine Publishers VDZ, Berlin, November 2010.
  • Collar of the European Merit Foundation, Luxembourg, November 2010.
  • the "Steiger" Award 2011, Bochum, Germany, March 2011.
  • Gold Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Public Discourse, the College Historical Society (CHS) of Trinity College, Dublin.

Honorary Degrees

See also

Notes

External links

  • President José Manuel Barroso – Official Media Gallery
  • European Commission – President José Manuel Barroso
  • tellBarroso.eu – a web service for telling Barroso: "What can Europe do for you?"
Party political offices
Preceded by
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa
Leader of the Social Democratic Party
1999–2004
Succeeded by
Pedro Santana Lopes
Political offices
Preceded by
António Guterres
Prime Minister of Portugal
2002–2004
Succeeded by
Pedro Santana Lopes
Preceded by
António Vitorino
Portuguese European Commissioner
2004–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Romano Prodi
President of the European Commission
2004–present
Academic offices
Preceded by
Joschka Fischer
Speaker of the College of Europe Opening Ceremony
2004
Succeeded by
Javier Solana

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