- Josep Borrell
name = Josep Borrell Fontelles
caption = Josep Borrell in in Salamanca, Castilla y León, 14 October 2005.
order = 26th
President of the European Parliament
11th of the Elected Parliament
July 20, 2004
January 16, 2007
birth_date = Birth date and age|1947|4|24
La Pobla de Segur, Spain
Spanish Socialist Workers Party Party of European Socialists
profession = Aeronautical engineer
Josep Borrell Fontelles (born
April 24, 1947) is a Spanish politician. He was President of the European Parliament from July 20, 2004until January 16, 2007. Elected for the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party(PSOE), he sits with the Party of European Socialistsgroup, and is the leader of the Spanish delegation. As of January 2007 he is chair of the Committee on Development.
In the presidential vote, out of 700 MEPs he received an absolute majority with 388 votes at the first ballot. The other two candidates were the Polish Liberal
Bronisław Geremek(208 votes) and the French communist Francis Wurtz(51 votes). As part of a deal with the conservative faction in the parliament, the EPP, he was succeeded as president of the parliament by the German conservative politician Hans-Gert Pötteringin the second part of this term, which is from 2007 to June 2009.
He was born and grew up in the village of
La Pobla de Segur, where his father owned a small bakery. His very basic education was supplemented by reading, but was able to complete his secondary in Lleida. He went to Barcelonato study industrial accounting, but left after a year in 1965 to go and study aeronautical engineering at the Technical University of Madrid(UPM), graduating in 1969. During this time he also began to study economic sciences at the Complutense University. In the summer of 1969 he stayed on a kibbutzin Israel, where he met his future French wife Carolina Mayeur, from whom he is now divorced. In 1975 he worked in Madrid as an engineer for the state petroleum company Campsa, joining PSOE in the same year even though it was an illegal party until February 1977. In 1979 he became a member of the Madrid Parliament until 1982 when the new PSOE government of Felipe Gonzálezappointed him to a post within the Ministry of Economy with responsibility for fiscal policy. In 1998 he ran against PSOE's General Secretary Joaquin Almuniain an primary electionintended to determine who the party would nominate as its prime ministerial candidate in the 2000 General Elections, but due to internal pressures within the PSOE, Borrell resigned from candidacy in 1999.He had to publicly deny rumors that he was a homosexual, while asserting his respect for homosexuals" [http://www.enkidumagazine.com/art/2006/010506/E_044_010506.htm Borrell condena la homofobia y recuerda que se le intentó desacreditar calificándole de gay] ", Europa Press, 17 May 2006.] .In 2004 Prime Minister and PSOE's General Secretary Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapateroproposed Borrell to lead the Socialist Ticket in the 2004 European Electionsmanaging to win the elections by a narrow margin.
Since 1998, Borrell has been in a relationship with
Cristina Narbona, ex-Environment Minister of Spain. [http://www.el-mundo.es/documentos/2004/04/espana/nuevogobierno/cristinanarbona.html Cristina Narbona] , "El Mundo" (in Spanish)]
September 28, 2006, Josep Borrell argued that there are Nordic countriesin the European Unionwhich have not experienced the rigours of war, demonstrating a lack of knowledge in history. Two of the three Nordic countries, which are also members of the EU, were involved in conflict during World War II. Finlandwas attacked by the Soviet Union, while Denmarksuffered from German occupation. Borrell was trying to defend the decision by the European Parliamentto acquire their premises in Strasbourg, and pointed out that much of the opposition came from people in countries which supposedly had not experienced war. His remarks drew sharp criticism in papers throughout the Nordic countries. The Swedish language newspaper " Hufvudstadsbladet" in Finland offered an open invitation to Borrell to visit the graves of war victims in Finland, while Finnish MEPs called Borrell's knowledge about European history "embarrassing". [cite news | first=Marianne | last=Björklund | title=Sverige imponerar inte på EU-parlamentets talman | date= 2006-10-04| publisher= Dagens Nyheter| language=Swedish | url=http://www.dn.se/DNet/jsp/polopoly.jsp?a=577611 | accessdate=2007-01-15]
The next day, Borrell claimed he was only referring to
Sweden, and apologized for offending people with his comments. This remark only served to worsen the criticism, with Danish, Norwegian and Finnish papers pointing out a lack of knowledge not only about history but also about geography.
* [http://www.europarl.eu.int/president/defaulten.htm?biography Official biography]
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