Antonio Tajani

Antonio Tajani
President of the European Parliament
Assumed office
17 January 2017
Vice President
Preceded by Martin Schulz
European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship
In office
9 February 2010  1 July 2014
President José Manuel Barroso
Preceded by Günter Verheugen
Succeeded by Michel Barnier (Acting)
European Commissioner for Transport
In office
9 May 2008  9 February 2010
President José Manuel Barroso
Preceded by Jacques Barrot
Succeeded by Siim Kallas
Member of the European Parliament
for Central Italy
Assumed office
1 July 2014
In office
14 July 1994  8 May 2008
Personal details
Born (1953-08-04) 4 August 1953
Rome, Italy
Political party Forza Italia (1994–2009)
People of Freedom (2009–2013)
Forza Italia (2013–present)
Brunella (m. 1988)
Children 2
Alma mater Sapienza University
Website Official website

Antonio Tajani (Italian pronunciation: [anˌtɔːnjo taˈjaːni]; born 4 August 1953) is an Italian politician who has served as President of the European Parliament since January 2017. He previously served as one of the fourteen Vice-Presidents of the European Parliament from 2014 to 2016, European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship from 2010 to 2014 and European Commissioner for Transport from 2008 to 2010. He has been a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for Italy since 2014 and previously from 1994 to 2008. In the run-up to the 2018 Italian General Election, he announced on his Twitter account that he would make himself available, "to serve Italy", on behalf of Forza Italia, but that "all further decisions will now be taken by our fellow citizens and the President of the Republic".

Early life

After attending Liceo Torquato Tasso in Rome, he earned a degree in Law at the Sapienza University of Rome.

Tajani was an officer in the Italian Air Forces. After attending a specialized air defense course at Borgo Piave di Latina, he became radar controller for air defense at the Italian Air Force radar base of San Giovanni Teatino.

Tajani has been a professional journalist, editor of parliamentary affairs for the weekly Il Settimanale, presenter of Rai Radio 1 news programme, and head of the Rome editorial office of the newspaper Il Giornale. He was special envoy to Lebanon, the Soviet Union and Somalia. Besides Italian, he speaks English, French and Spanish.

In 1988, he married Brunella, with whom he has two children.

Early political career

In his youth Tajani was a militant of Fronte Monarchico Giovanile (Youth Monarchist Front), a student organization of the Italian Monarchist Union (UMI). He has consistently advocated the return from exile of the House of Savoy (which was banned by the Italian Constitution until 2002, when the Italian Parliament lifted the ban).

He was one of the founders of the Forza Italia party in 1994, and then regional coordinator of the party in Lazio from 1994 in 2005.[1]

In Berlusconi's first government (1994–95), he was a spokesman for the Prime Minister.

In 1996 he ran for parliament in the Alatri college, but obtained only 45.3% of the votes and was defeated by the representative of the Olive Tree.

In 2001, Tajani was a candidate for mayor of Rome for the coalition of the House of Freedom, but was defeated by Walter Veltroni after polling 47.8% of votes.

Since 2002 (the year of the Estoril Congress) Tajani has been one of 10 vice-presidents of the European People's Party. He was re-elected at the Rome Congress in 2006 and at the Bonn conference in 2009, and then again at the Bucharest Congress in 2012.[2][3]

Member of the European Parliament

In 1994 Tajani was elected a Member of the European Parliament (MEP), and reelected in 1999 and 2004. He was chairman of the delegation of Forza Italia to the European Parliament from June 1999 until May 2008.

At the 2004 European elections he was elected from a list of Forza Italia in the Central college, receiving 122,000 preferences. He was admitted to the European People's Party.

Tajani was an MEP for Central Italy with the Forza Italia party from 2004 to 2008 and sat on the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs. He was a substitute for the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and a member of the Delegation for relations with Israel.[4]

He was a member of the European Convention, which drafted the text of the European Constitution that never entered into force.

European Commissioner for Transport

On 8 May 2008, he was appointed as Italy's EU Commissioner by newly elected Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, replacing Franco Frattini, who became the new Italian foreign minister. Tajani received the Commissioner for Transport portfolio. He was officially approved in his post by the European Parliament on 18 June 2008 with a vote of 507 to 53 with 64 abstentions.[5] In this role, Tajani promoted the rescue plan for Alitalia, through the involvement of private funding in the airline capital.[6][7] His plan was not successful and Alitalia is remains in terminal administration only supported by illegal state aid.[8]

Tajani oversaw the drafting of new EU Regulation relating to transport, including clarification of the rights of passengers in air transport.[9] The aim was for passengers to receive assistance and reimbursement in case of denied boarding, cancellation or delay of the flight. The proposals were poor, resulting in widespread evasion by the airlines across Europe and abuse by customers. Both parties have called for reform of the legislation to make it fair and workable.

European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship

In 2009 he was reappointed as a member of Italian nationality of the second Barroso Commission, as European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship; he remained one of the four Vice-Presidents of the Commission.[10][11] The confirmation of Tajani followed the decline of the candidacy of Massimo D'Alema as High Representative for Foreign Policy. For Tajani an alternative foreshadowed would have been a candidacy as president of the Lazio Region.[12]

Michel Barnier was twice Acting Commissioner in his stead, from 19 April 2014 – 25 May 2014 while he was on electoral campaign leave for the 2014 elections to the European Parliament and from 1 July 2014 – 16 July 2014 after he took up his seat.[13][14]

In October 2012[15] Antonio Tajani launched his campaign for a new industrial revolution in Europe[16] in order to flip the tendency of the economic crisis[17][18] and revamp industry.[19] The concrete goals[20] of this initiative are bringing the value of industry to as much as 20% of GDP by 2020, creating new jobs, and promoting sustainable growth.[21]

The new Late Payments Directive 2011/7/EU[22] that has the goal of countering payment delays in commercial transactions, was adopted in 2011.[23] Following the adoption, Tajani urged a prompt implementation in all Member States,[24] even before the official deadline set for 16 March 2016.[25] In order to further accelerate the process, he launched an information campaign across the 27 Member States that takes place between October 2012 and December 2014.[26] In March 2013 Tajani, along with Commissioner Olli Rehn said that the European Commission is ready to acknowledge "mitigating factors" on the assessment of compliance with the deficit and debt criteria, in the context of a plan for the disposal of old debts of the public administration to enterprises.[27]

During 2012 Tajani led the drafting of a proposal to simplify the procedure to register cars in another Member State within the European Union.[28] Concretely, the proposal, which should come into force in 2014, aims at reducing to a minimum the administrative procedures necessary to register cars, vans, trucks and buses in another Member State.[29] Furthermore, it will be impossible to register in another country a stolen vehicle, thanks to the enhanced cooperation of the competent authorities at the European level.

In order to support the European fight against counterfeiting of industrial goods, in December 2012, Vice President Tajani launched an awareness campaign[30] for the citizens. Moreover, in February 2013 the European Commission further reinforced market surveillance through a plan to reinforce the controls of the products in the internal market.[31] In particular, the "Made in" is part of the discussion on counterfeiting, especially for the textile sector in Italy.[32] The package presented by Tajani and Tonio Borg, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy introduces among other things the denomination 'Made In' for products manufactured in and outside the EU, so as to better supervise what enters into the European market.[33]

With the goal of promoting competitiveness[34] and sustainable development of the European automobile industry,[35] Tajani presented in November 2012[36] the Action Plan CARS2020.[37] The Plan focuses on a transition towards more energy efficiency and alternative energy sources, as well as technologies and advanced materials for the production.[38]

Among the actions that Tajani undertook to foster growth and regain higher levels of employment, it is worth mentioning an Action Plan[39] aimed at supporting entrepreneurs,[40] through specific measures to facilitate business transfers, increase access to finance, and give a second chance following a bankruptcy.[41]

Another of Tajani's initiatives was a project called "50,000 Tourists",[42] launched on 1 June 2011, which focussed on promoting low-season tourism between Europe and South America, encouraging cooperation between European governments, the tourism industry, and airline companies.[43]

The initiatives connected to tourism include a Travelers Decalogue in August 2012,[44] a series of rules to travel in full safety. Additionally, in November 2012 Tajani presented, in collaboration with the European Commissioner for Internal Affairs Cecilia Malmström, a Communication to examine how the implementation and development of a common policy in terms of visas could support the EU growth by providing more chances for foreign travelers to visit the Union.[45]

In March 2013 the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso has appointed Tajani to lead the new EU-Brazil working group, which will also include the European Commissioner for Trade Karel De Gucht and European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn. The group will be in charge of evaluating the opportunities for industrial cooperation between the EU and Brazil, particularly in the most technological sectors.[46]

On 11 June 2013 Tajani presented the first Action Plan for the Steel Industry since 1977 to help this sector face today’s challenges and lay the foundations for future competitiveness by fostering innovation, creating growth and jobs.[47] The Commission proposed to support the demand for European steel both at home and abroad, by acting to ensure that European steel producers have access to third countries in a fair trade market.[48]

President of the European Parliament

At the end of Martin Schulz's term, the presidency for the remainder of the eighth European Parliament (2014–2019) would have been due by convention to pass to an EPP member. However, the EPP–S&D agreement appeared broken, making it less certain that Tajani, who was selected as EPP candidate, would be elected president. The other contenders were the social-democrat Gianni Pittella, the liberal Guy Verhofstadt, the conservative Helga Stevens, the leftist Eleonora Forenza and the green Jean Lambert.[49][50] On 17 January 2017, Tajani was elected after four rounds of voting, following the withdrawal of Verhofstadt and declaration of support for the EPP candidate by the ALDE; he was first Italian to hold the office since the Christian democrat Emilio Colombo (1977–1979).

In March 2017, Tajani warned that "Africa is now risking becoming a Chinese colony" as the Chinese want only the raw materials but not interested in stability.[51][52]

In February 2018, Silvio Berlusconi indicated Tajani as his candidate for the premiership if the centre-right would win the general election in March.[53] Tajani accepted the candidacy on 1 March.[54]


In a letter dated 12 February 2013, Environment commissioner Janez Potocnik warned Tajani about “widespread concerns that [car] performance has been tailored tightly to compliance with the test cycle in disregard of the dramatic increase in emissions outside that narrow scope”.[55] Tajani declined to take action or report on Potocnik's concerns, until the Volkswagen emissions scandal confirmed the commissioner's concerns in 2015. At the subsequent EMIS hearing on the subject, Tajani claimed that he was not informed of the issue at the time.[56]

In the eve of his election as President of the European Parliament, LGBTI rights group, ILGA-Europe, expressed its disappointment with Tajani's new political post and his political backing from the European People's Party (EPP) and Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE). ILGA has stated that Tajani's concerns, expressed in 1996,[57] with the psychological well-being of same-sex couples and his stance, expressed in 2014, against non heteronormative families are not in line with the stances of the ALDE and the EPP on non-discrimination based on sexual orientation.[58]


  • 2 April 2014 - Aragon Empresa Award received by His Royal Highness Felipe the Prince of Asturias for his efforts in favour of industry and entrepreneurship[59][60]
  • 10 February 2014 - Innovadores Award received by El Mundo in recognition of his support for the industry, entrepreneurship and innovation[61]
  • 17 April 2012 – Honors for the commitment for SMEs and EU integration, Spanish Royal Institute of European Studies.[62]
  • 28 March 2012 – Prize established by the Optical Society of America for his commitment to the promotion of Key Enabling Technologies. The Prize is awarded yearly to public leaders who have distinguished themselves for their activities in the field.[63]
  • 19 March 2012 – Europe Prize 2011 by the Initiative Group of the Italians in Brussels (GII) for his strong commitment for the business community - in particular SMEs - and the promotion of the image of Italy in Europe.[64]
  • 21 November 2011 – International Journalism Prize "Argil: European man" in the category: "Communicating Europe". Award sponsored by the journalists press office (GUS), by UGEF (Unione Giornalisti Europei per il Federalismo secondo Altiero Spinelli) and by 'ANGPI (Associazione Nazionale Giornalisti Pubblicisti Italiani), as well as' the Union of Roman Chroniclers and with the support and contribution of the Regional Council of Lazio, agencies and public institutions.[65]

Public image

In April 2015, the city of Gijón, in the Principality of Asturias (Spain) dedicated a street to Antonio Tajani, in recognition of his work done during his mandate as Vice President of the European Commission, responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship. The naming of the street was proposed by the workers of the American company Tenneco together with the federation of Asturian businesses, and approved unanimously by all political forces in the city Council of Gijón, for the mediation carried out by Tajani in September 2013 in the negotiations with Tenneco, which by decided to close the plant in Asturias and, if followed through, would have resulted in the dismissal of 210 employees. After a long and difficult negotiation with the leaders of the company and social partners, Tajani was able to obtain the reopening of the plant in April 2014, preserving the jobs of two-thirds of the workers.[66]


Officer of the Legion of Honour (France)[67]

Appointed by the French Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius.

Order of Civil Merit (Spain)[68]


  1. Paolo Valentino (17 January 2017). "Dai monarchici a Berlusconi. La scalata di Tajani". Corriere della Sera.
  2. Il, 10 dicembre 2009
  3. "CV".
  4. "Barroso II: 13 EPP Commissioners receive key portfolios", European People's Party, 27 November 2009; accessed 28 November 2009
  5. "Round-up of Tajani and Barrot hearings".
  6. Ue ok al piano di salvataggio il Sole 24 Ore, 12 Novembre 2008
  7. Alitalia, Bruxelles approva il piano di salvataggio Sciopero bianco, Fantozzi: "Chiederemo i danni" Il Giornale, 12 Novembre 2008
  8. "Alitalia slides into administration".
  9. CE/261/2004 Archived 27 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  10. Congratulazioni del ministro degli esteri Frattini per la nomina
  11. (in English) Valutazione Archived 11 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine. del Parlamento Europeo su Tajani come commissario all'industria, a seguito di audizione
  12. "Europa" Archived 19 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine., 21 novembre 2009
  13. "Six commissioners head for EU election campaign trail".
  14. "KUNA : Barroso announces caretaker replacements following resignation of 4 EU Commissioners - Politics - 01/07/2014".
  15. Fare più industria contro la crisi Il Sole 24 Ore, 17 Ottobre 2012
  16. L'Europa si è accorta che senza industria non si vive Milano Finanza, 18 Dicembre 2012
  17. Une politique industrielle plus forte pour sortir de la crise Le Monde, 18 Dicembre 2012
  18. Uma polìtica industrial europeia mais forte para sair da crise Diario de Noticia, 19 Dicembre 2012
  19. Europe needs an industrial revival Wall Street Journal, 18 Dicembre 2012
  20. Tajani, piano europeo per la reindustrializzazione Il Sole 24 Ore, 10 Ottobre 2012
  21. Niente dighe all'industria UE Il Sole 24 Ore, 20 Dicembre 2012
  22. "Direttiva 2011/7/UE".
  23. Basta ritardi nei pagamenti Il Sole 24 Ore, 10 Aprile 2012
  24. Pagamenti, l'Ue contro i ritardi Il Messaggero, 5 Ottobre 2012
  25. Crisi, Tajani, recepire integralmente e presto direttiva pagamenti Euractiv, 5 Ottobre 2012
  26. "Campagna europea contro i ritardi di pagamento".
  27. Statement by Vice Presidents Rehn and Tajani on commercial debt of public administrations 18 March 2013
  28. Immatricolazione intracomunitaria da sveltire, la Commissione europea insiste Sicurauto, 6 Aprile 2012
  29. Immatricolazioni, Commissione propone taglio burocrazia Euractiv, 4 Aprile 2012
  30. UE, Tajani, Contraffazione toglie a Italia 110 mila posti di lavoro La Stampa, 20 Dicembre 2012
  31. Contraffazione, dalla Commissione UE nuovo regolamento pe rafforzare i controlli in tutti gli Stati Membri L'Avvenire, 15 Gennaio 2013
  32. Brussels woos fashion’s corporate titans Financial Times, 28 Febbraio 2013
  33. Sicurezza prodotti, nuove norme Ue c'è l'obbligo di indicare l'origine Repubblica, 13 Febbraio 2013
  34. Auto, piano europeo per il rilancio Il Sole 24 Ore, 5 Giugno 2012
  35. Auto, Bruxelles vara il piano d'azione Europeo Il Messaggero, 9 Novembre 2012
  36. Piano di rilancio dell'auto: la Ue punta sui fondi Bei Il Sole 24 Ore, 9 Novembre 2012
  37. EU Kommissar Laedt zum Autogipfel Financial Times Deutschland, 9 Novembre 2012
  38. Guarded welcome for EU drive to help struggling car industry Financial Times UK, 9 Novembre 2012
  39. Tajani unveils plan to make entrepreneurship more attractive European Voice, 10 Gennaio 2013
  40. Il piano Tajani: più imprenditori, anche con il crowdfunding Europarlamento24, 9 Gennaio 2013
  41. Antonio Tajani on SMEs, strategy and new economy Euronews, 15 Gennaio 2013
  42. "50.000 tourists initiative".
  43. The European Commission is promoting travel during the offseason in the EU and South America Archived 26 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Eurochile, 25 June 2012
  44. Turista avvisato, il decalogo della Commissione europea Eunews, 2 Agosto 2012
  45. Commission banking on potential of Chinese and Russian tourism Europolitics, 7 Novembre 2012
  46. Ue-Brasile: Tajani presidente gruppo lavoro bilaterale Ansa, 7 Marzo 2013
  47. Taranto snodo del piano europeo. Tajani: «Produzione fondamentale» Corriere della Sera, 12 Giugno 2013
  48. EU unveils action plan for Europe's ailing steel sector Reuters, 11 June 2013
  49. "Surprise in the European Parliament: an election campaign". Politico. 12 January 2017.
  50. "All you need to know about the election of the new Parliament president". European Parliament. 13 January 2017.
  51. "EU President Predicts 30 Million More Migrants Will Come Europe". Breitbart News. 30 March 2017.
  52. "EU parliament president warns against turning Africa into 'Chinese colony'". Club of Mozambique. 31 March 2017.
  53. "Berlusconi indicates Tajani will be his choice for PM". 27 February 2018.
  54. "Twitter".
  55. "Leaked memo: EU commissioner ignored car emissions warnings".
  56. "Car emissions: former commissioners Potočnik and Tajani reply on "dieselgate"".
  57. "WRITTEN QUESTION No. 1289/96 by Antonio TAJANI to the Council. 'DIY' artificial insemination arranged between two Scottish homosexual couples". EUR-Lex Official Journal (C 305): 80. 1996-05-15.
  58. "Tajani on course for presidency – but does the end justify the means?".
  59. El vicepresidente de la Comisión Europea cree que "es el momento de invertir", 2 aprile 2014
  60. Antonio Tajani premiado en España por su contribución a la mejora de las pymes, 2 aprile 2014
  61. El nuevo INNOVADORES, una herramienta de trabajo diaria para la 'economía del talento' El Mundo, 11 February 2014
  62. El Vicepresidente de la Comisión Europea y Comisario responsable de Industria y Espíritu emprendedor, D. Antonio Tajani, recibió la Medalla del Real Instituto de Estudios Europeos Real Institutos de estudios europeos (Royal Institute of European Studies), 25 April 2012
  63. Two European Commissioners Named OSA Advocates of Optics OSA, 28 Marzo 2012
  64. Gruppo di Iniziativa Italiana GII, 15 Marzo 2012
  65. Ecco i vincitori del Premio "Argil: uomo europeo" 2011 Giornalisti Calabria, 21 Novembre 2011
  66. "Spagna, a Gijon intitolata una strada ad Antonio Tajani, primo vicepresidente del Parlamento europeo".
  67. "Rappresentanza Permanente della Francia presso l'Unione Europea, 15 Maggio 2012" (PDF).
  68. Gran Cruz de la Orden del Mérito Civil Agencia Estatal Boletin Oficial del Estado, 7 Febbraio 2013
Political offices
Preceded by
Franco Frattini
Italian European Commissioner
Succeeded by
Fernando Nelli Feroci
Preceded by
Jacques Barrot
European Commissioner for Transport
Succeeded by
Siim Kallas
Preceded by
Günter Verheugen
as European Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry
European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship
Succeeded by
Michel Barnier
Preceded by
Martin Schulz
President of the European Parliament
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