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José Manuel Durão Barroso
José Manuel Barroso (cropped).jpg
Barroso in 2013
President of the European Commission
In office
22 November 2004 – 31 October 2014
Vice President Günter Verheugen
Franco Frattini
Antonio Tajani
Jacques Barrot
Siim Kallas
Viviane Reding
Joaquín Almunia
First Vice-President Margot Wallström
Catherine Ashton
Preceded by Romano Prodi
Succeeded by Jean-Claude Juncker
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
2 May 1999 – 30 June 2004
Secretary-General José Luís Arnaut
Preceded by Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa
Succeeded by Pedro Santana Lopes
Leader of the Opposition
In office
2 May 1999 – 6 April 2002
Prime Minister António Guterres
Preceded by Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa
Succeeded by Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues
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
Member of the Assembly of the Republic
In office
27 October 1995 – 22 November 2004
Constituency Lisbon
In office
13 August 1987 – 26 October 1995
Constituency Viseu
In office
4 November 1985 – 12 August 1987
Constituency Lisbon
Personal details
José Manuel Durão Barroso

(1956-03-23) 23 March 1956 (age 67)
Lisbon, Portugal
Political party Workers' Communist Party (Before 1976)
Social Democratic Party
Maria Margarida Sousa Uva
(m. 1980; died 2016)
Children 3
Alma mater University of Lisbon
University of Geneva
Georgetown University
Website Official website:
Official Media Gallery:

José Manuel Durão Barroso (Portuguese: Script error: No such module "IPA".; born 23 March 1956) is a Portuguese politician and university teacher, currently serving as non-executive chairman of Goldman Sachs International. He previously served as the 11th president of the European Commission and the 115th prime minister of Portugal.

Academic career

Durão Barroso (as he is known in Portugal) graduated in law from the Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbon. He subsequently obtained a Diploma in European Studies from the European University Institute, and received a MA degree with honours in both Political Science and Social Sciences from the University of Geneva in Switzerland. His academic career continued as an assistant professor in the Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbon. Barroso did PhD research 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). He is a 1998 graduate of the Georgetown Leadership Seminar. 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 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. At Católica Global School of Law, he has taught the seminar on "The Dynamics of European Union Institutions" since 2015, on two LL.M. programmes.

Prime minister of Portugal

While 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.

Bush, Barroso, Blair, Aznar at Azores
Barroso Azores (far left) in 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. On 30 January 2003, Barroso signed The letter of the eight supporting US. policy on Iraq.

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%, which it used to criticise Barroso's and Santana Lopes's economic policies.

President of the European Commission

Les trois présidents 2011-11-30
The "three European presidents", Jerzy Buzek (Parliament), José Manuel Barroso (Commission) and Herman Van Rompuy (European Council) during a press conference in 2011
Belgique - Bruxelles - Schuman - Berlaymont - 01
Headquarters of the European Commission in Brussels.

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.

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. On 16 September 2009, Barroso was re-elected by the European Parliament for another five years. 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.

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

  • Turkey applying for EU membership
  • The reform of the institutions (Treaty of Lisbon)
  • The Bolkestein directive, aimed at creating a single market for services within the EU
  • Lisbon Strategy
  • Galileo positioning system
  • Doha Development Agenda negotiations
  • European Institute of Innovation and Technology
  • An EU climate change package

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. 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. 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. 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.

On 12 September 2012 Barroso has called for the EU to evolve into a "federation of nation-states". Addressing the EU parliament in Strasbourg, 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.

Bush, Sarkozy and Barroso - Camp David (2008-10-18)
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. He ultimately decided to not take up his seat.

Other activities

G8 leaders watching football
British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel watching the 2012 UEFA Champions League Final with Barroso, US President Barack Obama, French President François Hollande and others during the G8 summit.

In July 2016, Barroso became the non-executive chairman of London-based Goldman Sachs International (GSI), the bank's largest subsidiary. He is also an adviser to the bank. At the time of his appointments, this position was regarded as quite controversial, and later led Barroso's successor Jean-Claude Juncker to launch an ethics investigation.

In 2020, Barroso was selected as chair of the board at GAVI, succeeding Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

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

  • International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity (led by Gordon Brown), Member (since 2015)
  • Bilderberg Meetings, Member of the Steering Committee (since 2014)
  • Chatham House, Member of the Panel of Senior Advisers
  • European Business Summit (EBS), Honorary Chairman of the Honorary Committee (since 2014)
  • Europaeum, Member of the Board of Trustees (since 2014)
  • European Movement International, Member of the Honorary Council
  • Kofi Annan Foundation, Member of the Electoral Integrity Initiative (EII) (since 2016)
  • Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings, Member of the Honorary Senate
  • Women Political Leaders Global Forum (WPL), Member of the Global Advisory Board
  • Sunhak Peace Prize Selection Committee, chair.

Personal life

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 August 2016, at the age of 60.

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


Barroso holds over twenty decorations, including.

  • Grand Cross of the Order of Christ (Portugal) in 1996;
  • Winner of the Casa da Imprensa prize in the area of politics in 1992
  • Named Global Leader for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum in 1993
  • Chosen Personality of the Year in 1991 and 2004 by the Foreign Press Association in Portugal
  • Given "Medalla de la Universidad de Alcala de Henares" and "Medalla de Oro de la Ciudad de Zamora", Spain, 2005
  • Golden Medal: The Bell Celebration – Message to the United Europe, from the Ferdinan Martinengo Company, Slovakia, 2006
  • EFR-Business Week Award from Erasmus University Rotterdam, 2006.
  • Honorary Citizen of Rio de Janeiro, June 2006.
  • "European of the Year" award by European Voice newspaper, November 2006.
  • Awarded Honorary HEC diploma, Paris, December 2006.
  • Special Prize, Business Centre Club, Poland, February 2007; Gold Medal of the city of Lamego, Portugal, April 2007;
  • Transatlantic Leadership Prize, European Institute, Washington DC, April 2007;
  • Grand Cross of the Order of Vytautas the Great (Lithuania, 06/2007)
  • Honorary Citizen of Delphi and Golden Medal of the "Amfiktyons", Delphi, Greece, July 2007;
  • Academic Title EBAPE – FGV, for the relevant contribution and services towards the study and practice in Administration – Getulio Vargas Foundation, Rio de Janeiro, August 2007
  • Conde de Barcelona International Prize from the Conde de Barcelona Foundation, Barcelona, November 2007.
  • Honorary Medal and Honorary Diploma of the City of Nicosia, Nicosia, January 2008.
  • Honorary Member, Academia Portuguesa da História, Lisbon, March 2008.
  • State Medal "Stara Planina" I Degree, Bulgaria, March 2008.
  • "Prémio Rotary da Paz", Rotary International Distrito 1960 Portugal, Lisbon, April 2008; "Chave de Honra da Cidade de Lisboa", Lisbon, May 2008.
  • Confraria Queijo S. Jorge, Acores, May 2008.
  • Ciudadino Andino Honorifico, Lima, Peru, May 2008.
  • "Transatlantic Business Award", American Chamber of Commerce to the European Union, Brussels, May 2008.
  • Confraria vinho do Porto, Porto, June 2008.
  • Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana, First Class, Tallinn, February 2009.
  • Gold Medal of the Royal Institute of European Studies, Royal Institute of European Studies Madrid, March 2009.
  • Gold Medal of the Hellenic Parliament, Athens, April 2009.
  • Medal of Honour and Benefaction of the City of Athens, Athens, April 2009.
  • European Excellence Award, by the Government Council of the Community of Madrid, May 2009.
  • Prix European of the Year, The European Movement in Denmark, Copenhagen, May 2009.
  • Grand Cross of the Order of Orange-Nassau.
  • Laureate of the Quadriga Prize 2009 – United for the Better, Berlin, October 2009
  • Collar of the "Order pro merito Melitensi" [Civilian Class], the Order of Malta, Rome, May 2010.
  • Medal of Merit from the Federação das Associações Portuguesas e Luso-brasileiras, Brazil, July 2010.
  • "Man of the Year 2009 of Central and Eastern Europe", Krynica, September 2010.
  • Great Collar of the Order of Timor-Leste, Brussels, October 2010.
  • Golden Victoria "European of the Year 2010" award by the Union of German Magazine Publishers VDZ, Berlin, November 2010.
  • Collier of the Fondation du Mérite européen, Luxembourg, November 2010.
  • the "Steiger" Award 2011, Bochum, Germany, March 2011.
  • Charles V Prize, awarded by the Fundación Academia Europea de Yuste, Spain, 2013
  • Gold Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Public Discourse, the College Historical Society (CHS) of Trinity College Dublin.
  • Gold Medal of the Jean Monnet Foundation for Europe, in 2014.

Honorary degrees

  • Honorary Degree from Roger Williams University, Rhode Island, 2005
  • Honorary Degree in Humanities from Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
  • Honorary Degree in Political Science from the University of Genoa, Italy, 2006
  • Honorary Degree in Law from Kobe University, Japan, April 2006.
  • Honorary Doctorate in Social and Human Sciences from Candido Mendes University, Rio de Janeiro, June 2006.
  • Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science, University of Edinburgh, November 2006.
  • Honorary Degree from the Economics Faculty of the "La Sapienza" University of Rome, January 2007
  • Honorary doctorate at Warsaw School of Economics, Warsaw, November 2007.
  • Doctor Honoris Causa degree at the Pontifical Catholic University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, March 2008.
  • Honorary degree of Doctor of Laws, University of Liverpool, July 2008;
  • "Prémio Política e Responsabilidade Social", Fundação Luso-Brasileira, Lisbon, October 2008.
  • Honorary Degree of Doctor, Université Nice Sophia Antipolis, Nice, November 2008.
  • Doctor Honoris Causa, Tomas Bata University, Zlin, Czech Republic, April 2009.
  • Honorary doctorate of the Chemnitz University of Technology, Chemnitz, May 2009.
  • Honorary doctorate of Public and International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh, US, September 2009.
  • Doctor Honoris Causa, Estácio de Sá University, Rio de Janeiro, July 2010.
  • Doctorate Honoris Causa, Łódź University, Poland, October 2010.
  • Doctorate Honoris Causa, University of Geneva, October 2010.
  • Doctorate Honoris Causa, University of Bucharest, November 2010.
  • Honorary Doctorate, Baku State University, Azerbaijan, January 2011.
  • Honorary Doctorate, Luiss Guido Carli University, Rome, March 2011.
  • Honorary Doctorate, Ghent University, March 2011.
  • Doctorate Honoris Causa, West University of Timișoara, January 2016.

See also

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