|Name||José Manuel Durão Barroso|
, Lisbon , Portugal
|| March 23, 1956
Sep 17, 2009 08:04pm
Portuguese - Moderate-to-Conservative -
|Info||José Manuel Durão Barroso is a Portuguese politician. He served as Prime Minister of his country from 6 April 2002 until 29 June 2004, when he resigned to become President-designate of the European Commission. The appointment was formally endorsed by the European Parliament on July 22, and he was due to take over officially from Romano Prodi on 1 November 2004. However, this process was delayed due to problems regarding parliamentary approval of the Barroso Commission. |
He graduated in Law from the University of Lisbon and has an MSc in Economic and Social Sciences from the University of Geneva in Switzerland. His academic career continued as an Assistant Professor in the Law School of the University of Lisbon and in the Political Sciences Department of Georgetown University (Washington DC), where he did research for a Ph.D. Back in Lisbon, Durão Barroso became Director of the Department for International Relations in the Lusiada University.
Durão Barroso's political activity began in his college days, before the Carnation Revolution of 25 April 1974. He was one of the leaders of the PCTP-MRPP (Communist Party of the Portuguese Workers - Revolutionary Movement of the Portuguese Proletariat). In December 1980, however, Durão Barroso joined the right-of-centre Portuguese Social Democratic Party (PSD), where he remains to the present day.
In 1985, Durão Barroso joined the PSD government of Prime Minister Aníbal Cavaco Silva as Assistant Secretary of State at the Ministry of Internal Affairs. In 1987 he became Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, a post he was to hold for the next five years. In this capacity he was the main force behind the Bicesse Agreement of 1990, which led to a temporary armistice in Angola's civil war between the ruling MPLA and the opposition UNITA guerrillas of Jonas Savimbi. He also supported independence for East Timor, then a province of Indonesia. In 1992, Durão 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.
In opposition, Durão Barroso was elected in 1995 as a representative for Lisbon in the Assembly of the Republic where he became chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. In 1999 he was elected president of his own political party, the PSD, and thus became Leader of the Opposition. Parliamentary elections in 2002 gave the PSD enough seats to form a coalition government with the Portuguese People's Party, a right-wing party, and Durão Barroso consequently became Prime Minister of Portugal on 6 April. As Prime Minister, he made a number of controversial decisions. He supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which most Portuguese opposed, and was responsible for reducing public expenditure.
In June 2004, following his being proposed as a consensus candidate, the European Council appointed José Manuel Durão Barroso President-designate of the European Commission. The European Parliament endorsed him in the position by 413 votes to 251, with 44 blank ballots and three spoilt ones.
Among Durão Barroso's goals as President of the European Commission will be to revive public confidence in the Commission, which is widely regarded as having lost its sense of direction since the departure of Jacques Delors, who presided over it from 1985 to 1995 and who is widely regarded as its most dynamic and successful president ever. A major challenge for Durão Barroso will be the aftermath of the restructuring of the Commission; with the admission of ten new countries to the European Union, larger countries will no longer be allowed a second Commissioner, and it is proposed that voting rights will be distributed among member countries on a rotating basis - a major innovation. Durão Barroso is expected to be a cautious reformer, and is considered likely to champion the interests of Europe's smaller states. He has said that he opposes capping EU spending, from which Portugal benefits greatly. With major countries like France and Germany eager to reduce spending, however, it is thought that Durão Barroso may be forced to compromise.
José Durão Barroso is married to Margarida Sousa Uva, with whom he has three children.