José Manuel Barroso

For the Portuguese footballer, see José Barroso (footballer). For the Portuguese modern pentathlete, see Manuel Barroso.
This name uses Portuguese naming customs. The first or maternal family name is Durão and the second or paternal family name is Barroso.
José Manuel Barroso
President of the European Commission
In office
22 November 2004  31 October 2014
Vice President Margot Wallström
Cathy Ashton
Preceded by Romano Prodi
Succeeded by Jean-Claude Juncker
115th Prime Minister of Portugal
In office
6 April 2002  17 July 2004
President Jorge Sampaio
Preceded by António Guterres
Succeeded by Pedro Santana Lopes
President of the Social Democratic Party
In office
1 May 1999  12 November 2004
Deputy José Luís Arnaut
Preceded by Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa
Succeeded by Pedro Santana Lopes
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
12 November 1992  28 October 1995
Prime Minister Aníbal Cavaco Silva
Preceded by João de Deus Pinheiro
Succeeded by Jaime Gama
Secretary of State of External Affairs and Cooperation
In office
17 August 1987  12 November 1992
Prime Minister Aníbal Cavaco Silva
Preceded by Eduardo Azevedo Soares
Succeeded by José Briosa e Gala
Adjunct Secretary of State of the Minister of the Internal Administration
In office
6 November 1985  17 August 1987
Prime Minister Aníbal Cavaco Silva
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by José Branquinho Lobo
Personal details
Born José Manuel Durão Barroso
(1956-03-23) 23 March 1956
Porto, Portugal
Political party Communist Party (Before 1976)
Social Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Maria Margarida Sousa Uva
(m. 1980–2016); widowed
Children 3
Alma mater University of Lisbon
University of Geneva
Georgetown University

|signature = Barroso signature.svg |website = Official website
Official Media Gallery }} José Manuel Durão Barroso (ipa: [ʒuˈzɛ mɐˈnu̯ɛl duˈɾɐ̃u̯ bɐˈʁozu], born 23 March 1956) is a Portuguese politician who is the current non-executive chairman at Goldman Sachs International.[1] Previously he was the 11th President of the European Commission (2004–14) and the 115th Prime Minister of Portugal (2002–4).

Academic career

Durão Barroso (as he is known in Portugal[2]) graduated in Law from the Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbon and has an MSc in Economic and Social Sciences from the University of Geneva (Institut européen de l'université de Genève) in Switzerland. His academic career continued as an assistant professor in the Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbon. He did research for a PhD at Georgetown University and Georgetown's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service in Washington, D.C. but his CV does not list any doctoral degree (except honorary).[3] He is a 1998 graduate of the Georgetown Leadership Seminar.[4] Back in Lisbon, Barroso became director of the Department for International Relations at Lusíada University (Universidade Lusíada).

Barroso is now a policy fellow at the Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination at Princeton University[5] and the Frederick H. Schultz Class of 1951 Visiting Professor of International Economic Policy at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs Woodrow Wilson School, where he teaches with Wolfgang F. Danspeckgruber on the EU in International Affairs. Barroso also teaches at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies and at the University of Geneva.[6] At Católica Global School of Law, he teaches since 2015 the seminar on “The Dynamics of European Union Institutions”, for both LL.M. programmes – Law in a European and Global Context and International Business Law.

Early political career

Barroso's political activity began in his late teens, during the Estado Novo regime in Portugal, before the Carnation Revolution of 25 April 1974. In his university days, he was one of the leaders of the underground Maoist MRPP (Reorganising Movement of the Proletariat Party, later PCTP/MRPP, Communist Party of the Portuguese Workers/Revolutionary Movement of the Portuguese Proletariat). In an interview with the newspaper Expresso, he said that he had joined MRPP to fight the only other student body movement, also underground, which was controlled by the Portuguese Communist Party. Despite this justification there is a very famous political 1976 interview recorded by the Portuguese state-run television channel, RTP, in which Barroso, as a politically minded student during the post-Carnation Revolution turmoil known as PREC, criticises the bourgeois education system which "throws students against workers and workers against students."[7] In December 1980, Barroso joined the right-of-centre PPD (Democratic Popular Party, later PPD/PSD-Social Democratic Party), where he remains to the present day.

In 1985, under the PSD government of Aníbal Cavaco Silva, President of Portugal, Barroso was named Under-Secretary of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs. In 1987 he became a member of the same government as he was elevated to Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (answering to the Minister of Foreign Affairs), a post he was to hold for the next five years. In this capacity he was the driving force behind the Bicesse Accords of 1990, which led to a temporary armistice in the Angolan Civil War between the ruling MPLA and the opposition UNITA. He also supported independence for East Timor, a former Portuguese colony, then a province of Indonesia by force. In 1992, 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.

Prime Minister of Portugal

In opposition, Barroso was elected to the Assembly of the Republic in 1995 as a representative for Lisbon. There, he became chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. In 1999 he was elected president of his political party, PSD, succeeding Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa (a professor of law), and thus became Leader of the Opposition. Parliamentary elections in 2002 gave the PSD enough seats to form a coalition government with the right-wing Portuguese People's Party, and Barroso subsequently became Prime Minister of Portugal on 6 April 2002.

As Prime Minister, facing a growing budget deficit, he made a number of difficult decisions and adopted strict reforms. He vowed to reduce public expenditure, which made him unpopular among leftists and public servants.. His purpose was to lower the public budget deficit to a 3% target (according to the demands of EU rules), and official data during the 2002–2004 period stated that the target was being attained.

Barroso Azores March 2003

In March 2003, Barroso hosted U.S President George W. Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar in the Portuguese island of Terceira, in the Azores. The four leaders finalised the controversial US-led 2003 invasion of Iraq. Under Barroso's leadership, Portugal became part of the "coalition of the willing" for the invasion and occupation of Iraq, sending non-combat troops.

Barroso did not finish his term as he had been nominated as President of the European Commission on 5 July 2004. Barroso arranged with Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio to nominate Pedro Santana Lopes as a substitute Prime Minister of Portugal. Santana Lopes led the PSD/PP coalition for a few months until early 2005, when new elections were called. When the Portuguese Socialist Party won the elections it produced an estimation that by the end of the year the budget deficit would reach 6.1%,[8] which it used to criticise Barroso's and Santana Lopes's economic policies.

President of the European Commission

Main article: Barroso Commission
The "three European presidents", Jerzy Buzek (Parliament), José Manuel Barroso (Commission) and Herman Van Rompuy (European Council) during a press conference in 2011
José Manuel Barroso visits the ESO.

In 2004, the proposed European Constitution and now the Treaty of Lisbon included a provision that the choice of President must take into account the result of Parliamentary elections and the candidate supported by the victorious Europarty in particular. That provision was not in force in the nomination in 2004, but the centre-right European People's Party (EPP), who won the elections, pressured for a candidate from its own ranks. In the end, José Manuel Barroso, the EPP candidate, was chosen by the European Council.[9]

On the same basis, the EPP again endorsed Barroso for a second term during the 2009 European election campaign and, after the EPP again won the elections, was able to secure his nomination by the European Council on 17 June 2009. On 3 September 2009, Barroso unveiled his manifesto for his second term.[10] On 16 September 2009, Barroso was re-elected by the European Parliament for another five years.[11][12][13] Since he completed his second term he became only the second Commission president to serve two terms, after Jacques Delors. That Commission's term of office ran until 31 October 2014.[14]

During his first presidency, the following important issues were on the Commission's agenda:

One of his first tasks since being re-elected was a visit to Ireland to persuade Irish citizens to approve the Treaty of Lisbon in the country's second referendum due to be held the following month.[15] Barroso was greeted by Irish Minister for Defence Willie O'Dea and Peter Power, the Minister of State for Overseas Development, as he got off his plane at Shannon Airport on the morning of 19 September 2009 before briefly meeting with the joint committee of the Oireachtas and meeting and greeting people at functions in Limerick's City Hall, University of Limerick (UL) and the Savoy Hotel.[15] He told The Irish Times in an interview referenced internationally by Reuters that he had been asked if Ireland would split from the European Union.[16] He also launched a €14.8 million grant for former workers at Dell's Limerick plant, described as "conveniently opportune" by former Member of the European Parliament and anti-Lisbonite Patricia McKenna.[17]

On 12 September 2012 Barroso has called for the EU to evolve into a "federation of nation-states". Addressing the EU parliament in Strasbourg, Mr Barroso said such a move was necessary to combat the continent's economic crisis. He said he believed Greece would be able to stay in the eurozone if it stood by its commitments. Mr Barroso also set out plans for a single supervisory mechanism for all banks in the eurozone.[18]

U.S. President George W. Bush, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Barroso in 2008

He was once appointed Acting Commissioner for Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration in Maroš Šefčovič's stead, from 19 April 2014 – 25 May 2014 while he was on electoral campaign leave for the 2014 elections to the European Parliament.[19] He ultimately decided to not take up his seat.


In 2005 Die Welt reported that Barroso had spent a week on the yacht of the Greek shipping billionaire Spiro Latsis. It emerged soon afterwards that this had occurred only a month before the Commission approved 10 million euros of Greek state aid for Latsis's shipping company – though the state aid decision had been taken by the previous European Commission before Barroso took up his post.[20] In response to this revelation, Nigel Farage MEP of the UK Independence Party persuaded around 75 MEPs from across the political spectrum to back a motion of no confidence in Barroso, so as to compel him to appear before the European Parliament to be questioned on the matter.[21] The motion was tabled on 12 May 2005, and Barroso appeared before Parliament as required at a debate on 26 May 2005.[22] The motion itself was heavily defeated.

In response to criticism for his choice of a less fuel efficient Volkswagen Touareg, amid EU legislation of targets drastically to reduce car CO2 emissions, Barroso dismissed this as "overzealous moralism".[23]

In April 2008, amid sharp food price rises and mounting food vs fuel concerns, Barroso insisted that biofuel use was "not significant" in pushing up food prices.[24] The following month, he announced a study that would look into the issue.[25] The backdoor approval of the GE potato, by President Barroso, has met a wave of strong opposition from EU member-states. The governments of Greece, Austria, Luxembourg, Italy, Hungary and France have all publicly announced that they will not allow the GE potato to be grown in their countries.

Barroso has expressed criticism of national governments arguing "Decisions taken by the most democratic institutions in the world are very often wrong."[26]

In December 2013 Barroso said that Europe was not the cause of the problems for Ireland; Ireland caused a problem for Europe. Following the bailout exit, in December 2013, the Irish government's bid to get backdated funding for the banking sector was rejected as the head of the European Commission blamed the Irish banks, regulators and government for the difficulties in the country. Barroso said the problems in the Irish banks caused a "major destabilisation" in the euro, rather than structural problems with the currency itself, "I am saying this because it would be wrong to give the impression that Europe has created a problem for Ireland and now Europe has to help Ireland. In fact, it was the banking sector in Ireland—it was one of the biggest problems in the world in terms of banking stability what happened in Ireland."[27]

Other activities

In July 2016, Barroso became non-executive chairman of London-based Goldman Sachs International (GSI), the bank’s largest subsidiary. He will also be an adviser to the bank.[28][29][30] This position has been regarded as quite controversial, and has led Barroso's successor Jean-Claude Juncker to launch an ethics investigation.[31]

In addition, Barroso has held several paid and unpaid positions, including:

Personal life

José Manuel Durão Barroso is the son of Luís António Saraiva Barroso and his wife Maria Elisabete de Freitas Durão. In 1980 he married Maria Margarida Pinto Ribeiro de Sousa Uva, with whom he has three sons. Sousa Uva died from uterine cancer in 2016, at the age of 60.

Apart from Portuguese, Barroso is fluent in French,[36] speaks Spanish and English and has taken a course to acquire a basic knowledge of German.[37]


Barroso holds over twenty decorations, including.[38]

Honorary degrees

See also


  3. José Manuel Barroso 2009 CV archived on 21 May from the original
  4. GLS Reunion 2005
  5. "José Manuel Durao Barroso: LISD Policy Fellow, Frederick H. Schultz Class of 1951 Visiting Professor of International Economic Policy". Princeton NJ: Liechtenstein Institute of Self-Determination. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  7. Barroso as a young, passionate Maoist student leader in 1976, RTP (1976),
  8. Portugal: ECONOMY Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, U.S. Department of State
  9. "Choosing a New EU Commission President". Deutsche Welle. 16 Jun 2004. Retrieved 27 Aug 2007.
  10. Ian Traynor in Brussels (3 Sep 2009). "José Manuel Barroso unveils manifesto for second term". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved 19 Sep 2009.
  11. David Charter in Strasbourg (17 Sep 2009). "José Manuel Barroso wins second term as European Commission President". The Times. UK. Retrieved 19 Sep 2009.
  12. "PN MEPs welcome election of José Manuel Barroso". The Malta Independent. 17 Sep 2009. Retrieved 19 Sep 2009.
  13. "EPP delighted with re-election of Barroso" European People's Party, 16 September 2009; accessed 29 November 2009
  15. 1 2 "No vote will affect confidence – Barroso". RTÉ. 19 Sep 2009. Retrieved 19 Sep 2009.
  16. Carmel Crimmins (19 Sep 2009). "EU's Barroso warns Ireland on commissioner right". Reuters. Retrieved 19 Sep 2009.
  17. "European grant for former Dell workers". RTÉ. 19 Sep 2009. Retrieved 19 Sep 2009.
  18. EU Commission chief Barroso calls for 'federation'
  19. EU Observer – Six Commissioners Head for EU Election Campaign Trail
  20. Castle, Stephen (26 May 2005). "Barroso survives confidence debate over free holiday with Greek tycoon". The Independent. London. Retrieved 8 Jun 2009.
  21. "". Bloomberg. 25 May 2005. Retrieved 8 Jun 2009.
  22. "Europe | Barroso rebuffs yacht questions". BBC News. 25 May 2005. Retrieved 8 Jun 2009.
  23. "Barroso bashed over gas guzzler". BBC News. 9 March 2007. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  24. Biofuels 'aggravating' food prices says Brown EUobserver, 10 April 2008
  25. Barroso orders study on biofuels/food link Transport & Environment, 14 May 2008
  26. "The EU is an antidote to democratic governments, argues President Barroso". Telegraph. London. 1 October 2010. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
  27. "EU chief Barroso: No backdated bank debt deal for Ireland". Irish Independent.
  28. Laura Noonan (July 8, 2016), Goldman Sachs hires former EU chief José Manuel Barroso Financial Times.
  29. Jean Quatremer (July 9, 2016), "Libération".
  30. "Goldman Sachs hires former EU chief Barroso". Reuters.
  31. "EU launches ethics probe into Barroso over Goldman job". RT.
  32. Gordon Brown appointed Chair of Education Financing Commission Office of Gordon and Sarah Brown, press release of 22 September 2015.
  33. Steering Committee Bilderberg Meetings.
  34. Senior leaders join Kofi Annan’s Electoral Integrity Initiative Kofi Annan Foundation, press release of 30 May 2016.
  35. Structure and Organisation: Board of Trustees UEFA Foundation for Children.
  36. Barroso pour une TVA réduite
  37. Barroso speaking French, Spanish, English and German Les vidéos du président Barroso, Commission européenne, Bruxelles
  38. CV with the list of decorations Official CV at
  39. Lithuanian Presidency, Lithuanian Orders searching form
  40. Invitados
  41. Honorary graduates | 2005/2006 University of Edinburgh
  42. Doktoraty Honoris Causa Warsaw School of Economics
  43. Ehrendoktorwürde: "José Manuel Barroso ist Mr. Europa" Informationsdienst Wissenschaft, 9 May 2009

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to José Manuel Durão Barroso.
Party political offices
Preceded by
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa
Leader of the Social Democratic Party
Succeeded by
Pedro Santana Lopes
Political offices
Preceded by
António Guterres
Prime Minister of Portugal
Succeeded by
Pedro Santana Lopes
Preceded by
António Vitorino
Portuguese European Commissioner
Succeeded by
Carlos Moedas
Preceded by
Romano Prodi
President of the European Commission
Succeeded by
Jean-Claude Juncker
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
David Cameron
Chair of the Group of Eight
Served alongside: Herman Van Rompuy
Succeeded by
Angela Merkel
Academic offices
Preceded by
Joschka Fischer
Convocation Speaker of the College of Europe
Succeeded by
Javier Solana
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