Josep Borrell Fontelles (cat. Josep Borrell Fontelles) – Spanish politician, economist, engineer. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy from December 1, 2019. Member of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE), from July 20, 2004 to January 16, 2007 – President of the European Parliament.
Place of Birth. Education. Josep Borrell was born and raised in the village of Pobla de Segur (Catalonia, Spain) where his father owned a small bakery. At the age of 10, Josep left school and continued his studies by correspondence, working in the family bakery. Josep was able to complete his education in Lleida (Catalonia). After graduating with honors from high school, Borrell went to Barcelona to study accounting, but a year later, in 1965, he interrupted his studies for the specialty “aerospace engineering” at the Polytechnic University of Madrid, from which he graduated in 1969. While studying in Madrid, Borrell began to study economics at Complutense University. He trained in the USA and France, defended his doctoral dissertation. Borrell is called the most educated Spanish socialist.
Career. In 1972-1981 he worked as an engineer in the Spanish national oil company CEPSA, combined work with teaching at the University Complutense. He was elected one of the leaders of the trade unions.
Political career. He joined the Socialist Party in 1974. In 1979 he became the head of the financial department of the regional government of Madrid, in 1982 the new PSOE government, Felipe Gonzalez, appointed him to the post of Minister of Finance.
In 1986 he was elected to the Spanish Parliament from the province of Barcelona and until 2004 Josep Borrell remained a member of Parliament.
In 1998, he competed with PSOE general secretary Joaquín Almunia in the primary to determine which candidate the party would run in the 2000 general election. In 1999, under pressure from the PSOE, Borrell was forced to resign.
In 2004, Prime Minister and General Secretary of the PSOE, José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, invited Borrell to head the list of Socialist candidates in the European parliamentary elections. As a result, with a slight advantage, Borrell managed to win the election.
From January 2007 to January 2009 he was Chairman of the Development Committee. On December 12, 2008, Borrell was nominated for the presidency of the European University Institute, a position he took up in January 2010.
In the European Parliament presidential election, Borrell received an absolute majority (388 out of 700) in the first ballot. The other two candidates were Polish liberal Bronisław Geremek (208 votes) and French Communist Francis Wurtz (51 votes). As part of an agreement with the conservative faction in parliament (the European People’s Party), in the second half of the term, Borrell was replaced as president by the German conservative politician Hans Gert Pöttering (2007 – June 2009).
From June 7, 2018 to November 1, 2019 – Minister of Foreign Affairs in the government of Pedro Sanchez.
On July 2, 2019, the heads of state and government of the EU member states at an extraordinary summit nominated Josep Borrell for the post of High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. He took office on December 1, 2019.
Personal life. In the summer of 1969, he lived on a kibbutz in Israel, where he met his future wife, Frenchwoman Caroline Mayer. There are two children. They are currently divorced. Since 1998, Borrell has been in a relationship with Cristina Narbona, ex-Minister of the Environment of Spain.