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Josep Borrell Fontelles (born 24 April 1947) is a Spanish politician. A member of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, he assumed office as Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation in June 2018.

Josep Borrell
181018 Borrell Spanje bij Blok 6498 (30468709687) (cropped).jpg
Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation
Assumed office
7 June 2018
Acting: Since 29 April 2019
Prime MinisterPedro Sánchez
Preceded byAlfonso Dastis
Foreign Affairs and Cooperation
President of the European Parliament
In office
20 July 2004 – 16 January 2007
Vice PresidentAlejo Vidal-Quadras Roca
Preceded byPat Cox
Succeeded byHans-Gert Pöttering
Leader of the Opposition
In office
24 April 1998 – 14 May 1999
MonarchJuan Carlos I
Prime MinisterJosé María Aznar
Preceded byJoaquín Almunia
Succeeded byJoaquín Almunia
Minister of Public Works and Environment
In office
12 March 1991 – 6 May 1996
Prime MinisterFelipe González
Preceded byJavier Sáenz de Cosculluela
Succeeded byRafael Arias-Salgado
Member of the European Parliament
In office
13 June 2004 – 7 June2009
Member of the Congress of Deputies
In office
6 June 1993 – 2 April 2004
City Councillor of Majadahonda
In office
19 April 1979 – 8 January 1983
Personal details
Born (1947-04-24) 24 April 1947 (age 72)
La Pobla de Segur, Spain
Political partySpanish Socialist Workers' Party
Spouse(s)Cristina Narbona
Alma materTechnical University of Madrid
Complutense University

He was the President of the European Parliament from 20 July 2004 until 16 January 2007.


Early life and careerEdit

Borrell was born on 24 April 1947 in the village of La Pobla de Segur, province of Lleida. He also grew up in the village, where his father owned a small bakery.[1] His grandfather on his father's side, migrant to Argentina, had managed a food shop in Mendoza, returning to Spain when the father of Borrell was 8 years old.[2]

His very basic education was supplemented by reading, but he was able to complete his secondary education in Lleida. He went to Barcelona to 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.

Borrell holds a Master's Degree in Operational Research from Stanford University in Palo Alto (California, USA), a Master's degree in Energy Economics from the French Institute of Petroleum in Paris (France), a PhD in Economics from the Complutense University of Madrid in Madrid (Spain) and is professor on leave of Business Mathematics. He worked for CEPSA for seven years. [1] In the summer of 1969 Borrell stayed at a kibbutz in 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.

Political careerEdit

Career in national politicsEdit

Borrell, Secretary of State of Finance, next to Eduardo Sotillos, Spokesman of the Government, in La Moncloa, 1984.

Borrell, who joined the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) in 1975,[3][4] started his political activity in the Socialist Grouping of Madrid-North along Luis Solana and Luis Carlos Croissier.[5] He presented as the number 5 in the PSOE list for the 1979 municipal election in Majadahonda,[6] becoming city councillor. Borrell, who also became a member of the 1979−1983 corporation of the Provincial Deputation of Madrid, managed the Financial Department of the provincial government body in the pre-autonomic period.[7][8]

In 1982 the new PSOE government of Felipe González appointed him to a post within the Ministry of Economy with responsibility for fiscal policy. In 1986 he was elected to the Congress of Deputies representing Barcelona and remained an MP until 2004.

In 1998 Borrell ran against PSOE's General Secretary Joaquin Almunia in a primary election intended to determine who the party would nominate as its prime ministerial candidate in the 2000 General Elections. In May 1999, a fraud investigation was launched into two officials who, several years earlier, Borrell had appointed to senior posts in the finance ministry. Though not involved in the inquiry into property purchases, Borrell resigned, saying he did not want the affair to damage his party’s chances in the upcoming local and general elections.[9] Also, he had to publicly deny rumors that he was a homosexual, while asserting his respect for homosexuals.[10]

In 2001, Borrell was appointed the Spanish parliament’s representative on the Convention on the Future of Europe.[11]

Member of the European Parliament, 2004–2009Edit

Borrell during the 2005 Ibero-American Summit in Salamanca.

In 2004 Prime Minister and PSOE's General Secretary José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero proposed Borrell to lead the Socialist Ticket in the 2004 European elections, managing to win the elections by a narrow margin.

Elected for the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE), Borrell sat with the Party of European Socialists group, and served as leader of the Spanish delegation.

In the presidential vote, out of 700 Members of the European Parliament (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).[12] He was the first newly elected MEP to hold the post since direct elections were held in 1979.[13] 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 Pöttering in the second part of the five-year term.[14]

In his capacity as President, Borrell also chaired the Parliament's temporary committee on policy challenges and budgetary means of the enlarged Union 2007-2013. From 2007 until leaving the Parliament in 2009,[15] he served as chairman of the Committee on Development. In addition to his committee assignments, he was a member of the Parliament's delegation to the ACP–EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly.

Academic career, 2010–2018Edit

Borrell was nominated President of the European University Institute on 12 December 2008, and assumed this position in January 2010. In 2012, he was forced to resign in the face of allegations of a conflict of interest.[16]

In 2012, the University of Lleida appointed Borrell to a professorship of competition and regional development sponsored by energy company Repsol.[17] He also held the Jean Monnet Chair at the Institute of International Studies at Complutense University of Madrid.

In 2017, Borrell made a political comeback as one of the most outspoken opponents of Catalan secessionism, leading a large march in Barcelona in October of that year.[18]

Foreign Minister, 2018–presentEdit

Borrell (left) with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in April 2019

On 5 June 2018, it was revealed that Borrell will be appointed as the Foreign Minister in the government of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.[19]

Other positionsEdit

Corporate boards
  • Abengoa, Member of the Board of Directors (since 2009)[20]
Non-profit organizations


Personal lifeEdit

Since 1998, Borrell has been in a relationship with Cristina Narbona, ex-Environment Minister of Spain.[30] They married in July 2018. [31]


  1. ^ Martin Banks (July 14, 2004), Parliament’s head boy European Voice.
  2. ^ Pérez Oliva, Milagros (2 May 1998). "Un catalán del Pirineo que quiere conquistar España". El País.
  3. ^ "Borrell, tercer presidente español del PE". ABC. 20 July 2004.
  4. ^ "Un 55% de caras nuevas en la ejecutiva del PSOE". El País. 23 June 1997.
  5. ^ T. L; A. P V (31 May 2004). "Duelo de exministros". El Siglo de Europa (605).
  6. ^ Junta Electoral de Zona de San Lorenzo del Escorial: "Candidaturas". Boletín Oficial de la Provincia de Madrid (55): 4. 6 March 1979.
  7. ^ "Biografía de José Borrell". El Mundo. 14 May 1999.
  8. ^ Díez, Anabel (5 June 2018). "Josep Borrell, ministro de Exteriores". El País.
  9. ^ Martin Banks (July 14, 2004), Parliament’s head boy European Voice.
  10. ^ Borrell condena la homofobia y recuerda que se le intentó desacreditar calificándole de gay Archived 3 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine, Europa Press, 17 May 2006.
  11. ^ Martin Banks (July 14, 2004), Parliament’s head boy European Voice.
  12. ^ Borrell confirmed in top job European Voice, July 21, 2004.
  13. ^ Martin Banks (July 7, 2004), Newly elected Borrell set to land top Parliament position European Voice.
  14. ^ Dan Bilefsky (January 16, 2007), EU Parliament elects German conservative International Herald Tribune.
  15. ^ Dave Keating (April 25, 2012), Borrell forced to resign over energy interests European Voice.
  16. ^ Dave Keating (April 25, 2012), Borrell forced to resign over energy interests European Voice.
  17. ^ Dave Keating (April 25, 2012), Borrell forced to resign over energy interests European Voice.
  18. ^ Raphael Minder (June 6, 2018), Spain’s New Leader Forms Government With Almost Two-Thirds Women New York Times.
  19. ^
  20. ^ Dave Keating (April 25, 2012), Borrell forced to resign over energy interests European Voice.
  21. ^ Advisory Council European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed).
  22. ^ Board of Trustees European Movement International.
  23. ^ Board of Trustees Fundación Focus.
  24. ^ Advisory Council Graduate School for Global and International Studies, University of Salamanca.
  25. ^ Emeritus Board Reporters Without Borders (RWB).
  26. ^ Presidencia del Gobierno: "Real Decreto 994/1996, de 10 de mayo, por el que se concede la Gran Cruz de la Real y Muy Distinguida Orden de Carlos III a don José Borrell Fontelles" (PDF). Boletín Oficial del Estado (115): 16601. 11 May 1996. ISSN 0212-033X.
  27. ^ Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores: "Real Decreto 38/2000, de 14 de enero, por el que se concede la Gran Cruz de la Orden de Isabel la Católica a don Josep Borrell Fontelles" (PDF). Boletín Oficial del Estado (13): 1960. 15 January 2000. ISSN 0212-033X.
  28. ^ Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores y Cooperación: "Real Decreto 603/2007, de 4 de mayo, por el que se concede la Gran Cruz de la Orden del Mérito Civil a don Josep Borrell Fontelles" (PDF). Boletín Oficial del Estado (108): 19456. 5 May 2007. ISSN 0212-033X.
  29. ^ Ministerio de la Presidencia: "Real Decreto 675/2011, de 9 de mayo, por el que se concede la Medalla de la Orden del Mérito Constitucional a don Josep Borrell Fontelles" (PDF). Boletín Oficial del Estado (111): 47773. 10 May 2011. ISSN 0212-033X.
  30. ^ Cristina Narbona, El Mundo (in Spanish)
  31. ^ "Josep Borrell y Cristina Narbona se casan en secreto". El País. 23 November 2018.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
José Víctor Sevilla Segura
Secretary of State of Finance
Succeeded by
Antonio Zabalza
Preceded by
Javier Sáenz de Cosculluela
Minister of Public Works and Environment
Succeeded by
Rafael Arias-Salgado
Preceded by
Joaquín Almunia
Leader of the Opposition
Succeeded by
Joaquín Almunia
Preceded by
Pat Cox
President of the European Parliament
Succeeded by
Hans-Gert Pöttering
Preceded by
Alfonso Dastis
Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation
Party political offices
Preceded by
Juan Manuel Eguiagaray
Leader of the Socialist Group in the Congress of Deputies
Succeeded by
Luis Martínez Noval