Miguel Arias Cañete

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Miguel Arias Cañete
Miguel Arias Cañete (cropped) (2).jpg
European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy
Incumbent
Assumed office
1 November 2014
President Jean-Claude Juncker
Preceded by Connie Hedegaard (Climate Action)
Günther Oettinger (Energy)
Personal details
Born (1950-02-24) 24 February 1950 (age 64)
Madrid, Spain
Political party Partido Popular
Spouse(s) Micaela Domecq y Solís-
Beaumont
Children 4
Alma mater Complutense University
Religion Roman Catholicism

Miguel Arias Cañete (born 24 February 1950) is a Spanish aristocrat and a politician of the centre-right.

A member of the Partido Popular, Arias served as Minister for Agriculture, Food and Environment in the Spanish Government from 2011 until 2014, before being selected to head his Party List in the European Parliamentary elections.[1]

Arias Cañete was subsequently nominated as EU Commissioner for Energy and Climate Action in the forthcoming Juncker Commission and took office on 1 November 2014.[2]

Biography[edit]

Born at Madrid, the son of Judge don Alfonso Arias de la Cuesta,[3] Arias Cañete was educated in Madrid, first at the Jesuit School at Chamartín before reading Law at the Universidad Complutense.

After graduating in 1974, he joined the Spanish Civil Service working as a State Attorney. His first position was in the Spanish Tax Agency at Jerez de la Frontera, before transferring to the Cadiz office. In 1978 resigned as a civil servant to become a Professor of Law at the University of Cádiz, where he remained until 1982 before entering politics with the Alianza Popular.

Arias first served as a member of the Parliament of Andalusia from 1982 until he stood down in 1986 after being elected to the European Parliament where he served until 1999 and chaired the Agricultural and Regional Politics Committees. He then was elected to the Spanish Senate, serving from 1993 until 2000 when he was appointed as Minister of Agriculture and Fishing by José María Aznar. He has also served as Deputy for Cadiz in the 2004-2008 Spanish Congress before his election in 2008 as MEP for Madrid, which he represented until 2014.[4] In 2011 Mariano Rajoy appointed Arias as Minister of Agriculture, Food and Environment in the Spanish Government.

Controversies[edit]

Arias has faced accusations of possible conflicts of interests regarding his political posts and his business interests. While serving as a member of the EU's commissions for Agriculture for Rural Development, he allegedly held interests in several businesses in the agricultural sector,[5] leading the Spanish newspaper El País to describe him as always being on the edge of a conflict of interest.[6] The environmental group Friends of the Earth and anticorruption group Corporate Europe Observatory have criticised his nomination to the Climate Action and Energy portfolio due to his family's involvement in the oil industry.[7][8][9]

Furthermore, Arias was called to give evidence before the Provincial Court of Barcelona over a friend's alleged laundering of 2 billion pesetas.[10]

Political appointments[edit]

  • Representative for Cádiz in the Andalusian Parliament. (1982-1986)
  • Senator representing Cádiz in the Spanish Senate. (1982-1986)
  • Member of the European Parliament. (1986-1999)
  • City Councillor for Jerez de la Frontera. (1995-2000)
  • Senator representing Cádiz in the Spanish Senate. (2000-2004)
  • Representative for Cádiz in the Spanish Congress. (2004-2008)
  • Economic Secretary for the Partido Popular. (2004-2008)
  • President of the Partido Popular's Electoral Committee. (2004-2008)
  • Representative for Madrid in the Spanish Congress. (2008-2014)
  • European Commissioner. (2014-)

Family[edit]

Arias, from a Spanish gentry family, is married to Micaela Domecq y Solís-Beaumont[11] by whom he has four children. His wife's aristocratic family[12] has long been established in the Jerez de la Frontera region of Andalucía, where they own large farming and livestock estates (including the breeding of fighting bulls)[13] and have given their name to a world-famous brand of fortified wines.[14]

Honours[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Joaquín Almunia
Spanish European Commissioner
2014–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Connie Hedegaard
as European Commissioner for Climate Action
European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy
2014–present
Preceded by
Günther Oettinger
as European Commissioner for Energy