José Manuel Barroso

(b. 1956)

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European integration

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Constitution for Europe


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(b. 23 Mar. 1956).

President of the EU Commission, 2004–  Born in Lisbon, he studied law and European studies, before writing a doctorate on the impact of European integration on Portuguese politics. He lectured at Lisbon and Geneva Universities, and in 1985 entered the Portuguese parliament for the centre‐right Social Democratic Party. He advanced to become Minister for Foreign Affairs, and in 2002 he led his party to an election victory, becoming Prime Minister. Since Barroso had become prominent within the European People's Party, the EU party association of Christian Democrats, Barroso was proposed as Commission President by Merkel. As the European Parliament's majority party, the European People's Party had emphasized that they would only accept a President who reflected their majority, Barroso was duly appointed.

After the disappointment of the Prodi‐led Commission, Barroso was successful in drafting a response to French and Dutch rejection of the European Constitutional Treaty, which was agreed among EU leaders in 2007. Presiding over an enlarged commission of record size, he was surprisingly effective, not least by establishing good relations with the European Parliament, and cultivating excellent connections with a number of EU leaders, notably Angela Merkel.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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