- In 2014, Antonio Tajani was elected First Vice-President of the European Parliament on the first ballot, receiving 452 votes from across many political groups. His current portfolio covers interreligious dialogue, conciliation, security, the LUX prize and relations with Latin America.
- He has been a Member of the European Parliament since 1994. In 2014, he was elected with more than 120,000 preference votes.
- He was a member of the Convention on the Future of Europe.
- Since 2002, Mr Tajani has been one of the 10 Vice-Presidents of the European People’s Party.
Studies and career:
- Born in Rome on 4 August 1953, Antonio Tajani is the son of an Italian army officer and a Latin and Greek professor. He lived in France for five years, where he and his family accompanied his father to NATO command.
- He holds a degree in Law from La Sapienza University, Rome.
- Before choosing to dedicate his life to politics, Mr Tajani was an Officer in the Italian Air Force. After attending a specialised air defence course at Borgo Piave di Latina, he joined the NATO Air Defence Environment.
- Mr Tajani was also a professional journalist for more than twenty years. He began as a presenter of news programmes on Rai Radio 1 (Italian public television) before Indro Montanelli, the most recognised and revered Italian journalist of the 20th century, asked him to work for the newspaper “Il Giornale”.
- Besides Italian, Mr Tajani speaks English, French and Spanish.
- He is married and has two children.
Vice-President of the European Commission and European Commissioner for Transport:
- In his role as Commissioner for Transport, from 2008 to 2010, Mr Tajani initiated the new EU Regulation on Passenger rights, which instituted regulations regarding the defence of passenger rights in air transport, especially for passengers with reduced mobility. This Regulation also provides assistance and reimbursement in case of denied boarding, cancellation or flight delay.
- He launched the European Space Policy, which made possible the creation of “Galileo” the global navigation satellite system and “Copernicus” projects for earth observation. These major European infrastructure projects are now at the service of citizens and businesses, and are especially useful for environmental protection and the management of natural disasters.
Vice-President of the European Commission and European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship:
- From 2010 to 2014, as Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, he directed European initiatives on the real economy (services, professionals, manufacturing industry, SMEs, agriculture, fisheries, tourism). In this context, he promoted a strategy for an “Industrial Renaissance for Europe”, with the goal of bringing the value of Europe’s industrial base to as much as 20% of GDP by 2020.
- Mr Tajani encouraged greener and more modern industries that could combine environmental sustainability with economic competitiveness. Among the first acts of his mandate as Commissioner for Industry, in 2010, he presented a Communication on green vehicles to reduce vehicle pollution and to facilitate the transition to electric cars. Many experts contributed to the strategy for cleaner industry, including Jeremy Rifkin.
- Paying attention to the effects of Free Trade Agreements in different economic sectors, he was a pioneer in requiring “competitiveness proofing” before actually signing Free Trade Agreements to measure their impact in the most vulnerable sectors. Equally, he requested that the cumulative impact of various trade agreements be measured in different industrial sectors.
- In addition to horizontal action to promote industrial competitiveness in all European policies, Mr Tajani presented action plans for the renewal of certain strategic sectors. Under his direction in 2010, the EU launched the Action Plan on the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) applications. In 2011, he brought forward the EU Action Plan to improve access to finance for SMEs, the Action Plan Construction 2020 and the adoption of the Construction Products Regulation. In 2012, he launched the Action Plan for an Innovative and Competitive Security Industry, CARS 2020 and the Action Plan for the Motor Vehicles Industry. In 2013: the Action Plan for Design-Driven Innovation, the Action Plan for Steel, the Action Plan for the Fashion and High-End Industries, the Roadmap on Substances of Very High Concern for 2020, the Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan, the Space Industrial Policy Action Plan and Leadership 2020 to ensure the future of shipbuilding. In 2014, the Green Action Plan for SMEs and the Initiative on the Economic Importance of the Sports Industry were implemented.
- Mr Tajani has consistently been a strong supporter of SMEs policy through efforts to strengthen the Small Business Act and promote entrepreneurship, to reduce bureaucratic obstacles, internationalise and increase access to credit. Mr Tajani promoted the SME Supporting Factor which provides certain derogations from Basel rules in order to encourage bank lending to SMEs. He also pushed for the adoption of the Late Payments Directive against Public Administration Delays, enabling SMEs to receive payments within 30 days. Finally, he also contributed to setting a dedicated fund for SMEs: COSME.
- To promote the internationalisation of EU enterprises, in 2013, Mr Tajani led Missions for Growth accompanied by more than 900 European companies, including SMEs, from 27 Member states, to 19 third countries. With the dual aim of providing European companies easier access to external markets, and encouraging transnational partnerships.
- He also organised Missions for Growth inside the EU in several regions with high levels of youth unemployment, bringing European companies to make thousands of business to business meetings with local companies in Greece, Portugal, Campania and Sicily in Italy, La Louvière in Belgium, Andalusia and Extremadura in Spain.
- In January 2014, Mr Tajani, was chosen as mediator for a consortium of European companies (from Spain, Belgium and Italy) involved in the extension project for the Panama Canal and the Panamanian authorities to resolve a dispute over a cost increase that threatened to bring the work to a stop. A final agreement was reached thanks to Mr Tajani in March 2014 and the enlargement of the Canal was completed and inaugurated in June 2016.
- In November 2014, Mr Tajani refused the transitional allowance to which he was entitled as former Vice-President of the Commission. An amount of approximately EUR 13 000 per month for three years, EUR 468 000 in total, which Mr Tajani did not accept, viewing it as a “moral choice”.
- In April 2015, at the request of the trade unions and the workers of the factory of the American multinational Tenneco, the city of Gijon in Spain, dedicated a street to Antonio Tajani in recognition of his work. Despite the initial decision to close down the entire factory, Mr Tajani was able, after lengthy negotiations, to obtain the reopening of the industrial plant in April 2014 that guaranteed the continued employment of 210 employees.
First Vice-President of the European Parliament:
- Over the last two years, and in order to implement the European Parliament’s responsibility set out in Article 17 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) on interreligious dialogue, two formal “dialogues” were organised in 2015, followed by 3 ad hoc meetings. These events, chaired by Vice-President Tajani, addressed key current political issues such as the role of interreligious dialogue and education to tackle religious extremism, the role of Muslim communities in de-radicalisation, the rise of anti-Semitism and the persecution of Christians throughout the world. The meetings sought to involve more Members, witnesses and civil society representatives in order to strengthen the link between the implementation of Article 17 TFEU, European citizens and parliamentary activities.
- Since 2014, and in particular after the terrorist attacks in Europe, as Vice-President responsible for security he achieved important results in ensuring greater security for the European Parliament (Memorandum of Understanding with the Belgian Foreign Ministry on security checks on all outside service providers working for the Institutions, enhanced security at entrances and strengthening the facades of all Parliament buildings at the three places of work, comparative assessment of arrangements in national parliaments, armed security guards inside the Parliament).
- During his current term, among other initiatives, Mr Tajani was Rapporteur of the new Directive on Payment Services. He was also the Opinion Rapporteur of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) Market Stability Reserve. Mr Tajani is member of EUROLAT and was Rapporteur of the trade aspects of the various current EU-LAC negotiations.
- In 2007 Mr Tajani received the Grand Cross of the Order of Faithful Service from Romania.
- In 2012 he was awarded France’s highest order for military and civil merits: Officer of the Order of the Legion of Honor, from Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development Laurent Fabius.
- In 2013 he received the Grand Cross of the Order of Civil Merit from the Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain.
- In 2015 he received the Grand Cross of the Order of Bernardo O’Higgins from the Government of Chile.