José Manuel Barroso

José Manuel Barroso

President of the European Commission (2004-2014)

Speaker biography

José Manuel Barroso: President of the European Commission (2004-2014); Prime Minister of Portugal (2002-2004)

José Manuel Durão Barroso is the 11th President of the European Commission. From 2002 to 2004 he served as Prime Minister of Portugal.

José Manuel Barroso Lecture topics

  • Why Europe Matters
  • The Future of Europe

José Manuel Barroso (born 1956) graduated in Law from the Faculty of Law at the University of Lisbon and has an MSc in Economic and Social Sciences from the University of Geneva in Switzerland. He continued his academic career as an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Lisbon and did research for a PhD at Georgetown University in Washington D.C.. Back in Lisbon, Barroso became Director of the Department for International Relations at Lusíada University. He is also a 1998 graduate of the Georgetown Leadership Seminar.

His active political career began in 1985 when he was named Under-Secretary of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs under the PSD government of Aníbal Cavaco Silva. Barroso had joined the PPD/PSD-Social Democratic Party in 1980. In the same government he was elevated to Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation in 1987, a post he was to hold for the next five years. Following Barroso was promoted to the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs and served until the defeat of the PSD in the general election of 1995.

In opposition, José Manuel Barroso was elected to the Assembly of the Republic as a representative for Lisbon in 1995, and became chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. In 1999 he was elected president of the PSD party and thus became Leader of the Opposition. After the parliamentary elections in 2002 his party formed a coalition government with the Portuguese People’s Party and Barroso subsequently became Prime Minister of Portugal. As Prime Minister, facing a growing budget deficit, he made a number of difficult decisions and adopted strict reforms. Under his leadership, Portugal became part of the „coalition of the willing“ for the invasion and occupation of Iraq, sending non-combat troops.

On 5th July 2004 José Manuel Barroso had been nominated as President of the European Commission and therefore did not finish his term as Portugal’s Prime Minister. As the EPP candidate, Barroso was chosen by the European Council to become President of the European Commission. During the 2009 European election campaign he was again endorsed by the European People’s Party for a second term and on 16th September 2009 he was re-elected for another five years. He is only the second Commission president to serve two terms, after Jacques Delors.


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