Antonio López-Istúriz White

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Antonio López-Istúriz White
DPB 9857.jpg
Secretary of the European People's Party
Assumed office
5 March 2002
President Joseph Daul
Preceded by Alejandro Agag Longo
Member of the European Parliament
Assumed office
1 July 2004
Constituency Spain
Personal details
Born Antonio López-Istúriz White
(1970-04-01) 1 April 1970 (age 47)
Pamplona, Navarre, Spain
Political party  Spanish
People's Party
European People's Party
Spouse(s) Sophie White
Children 2
Alma mater CEU San Pablo University

Antonio López-Istúriz White (born 1 April 1970) is a Spanish politician and Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Spain. He is a member of the People's Party, part of the European People's Party. He has served as the Secretary General of the European People's Party since March 2002.

As well as member of the executive committee of the Spanish People's Party, Executive Secretary of the Centrist Democrat International and Secretary Treasurer of the Centre for European Studies, the think-tank of the EPP.

First years and education[edit]

López-Istúriz was born in Pamplona, Navarre, to Spaniard father and American mother. Being still a child, his family moved to Palma de Mallorca, Balearic Islands, where they still live.

During his youth, he went to Madrid to study law at the CEU San Pablo Catholic University, where he also received a degree in economic studies.

Besides Spanish, he speaks English, the language of his mother, French and Italian.

Political career[edit]

During his years as a college student, he began to involve in politics by becoming a member of Nuevas Generaciones (New Generations), the youth organization of the People’s Party.

Between 1996 and 1997 he worked as coordinator of the education and culture section of the People’s Party in the Autonomous Community of Madrid.

In 1997 he moved to Brussels to work as an assistant to the People’s Party delegation at the European Parliament until 1999, when he was called by then President of the Spanish Government José María Aznar to become his personal assistant, due to which he stayed in Madrid for almost four years.

In 2002 he went back to Brussels as Secretary-General of the European People’s Party, succeeding another party fellow and former aide to Aznar: Alejandro Agag. Two years later he is elected on the lists of his party as MEP, keeping both offices up to this date (2011).[1]

Member of the European Parliament[edit]

In the European Parliament López-Istúriz sits in the Committee on Legal Affairs. He is a substitute for the Committee on Transport and Tourism, a member of the Delegation to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly and a substitute for the Delegation for relations with the countries of south-east Europe.

In addition to his committee assignments, López-Istúriz is a member of the European Parliament Intergroup on Disability, Member.[2]

Political positions[edit]

Relationship with the United States[edit]

López-Istúriz has been always very interested in trans-Atlantic relationships, especially with the United States. As a member of the respective delegation in the European Parliament and also as Secretary-General of the European People’s Party, he travels frequently to that country and holds meetings with politicians and other civil society actors.

López-Istúriz with EPP President Wilfried Martens and John McCain

López-Istúriz has shown political preference for the Republican Party, in fact endorsing Senator John McCain during the 2008 presidential elections campaign. Nevertheless, he has also met many democrat leaders and expressed his best wishes to Barack Obama after the elections.

Besides holding several meetings with McCain, who is also the president of the International Republican Institute, with which the EPP works, López-Istúriz has met with republicans such as Senator Marco Rubio and congressmen Paul Ryan, Chris Smith, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Díaz-Balart. Along with the latest two and with former congressman Lincoln Díaz-Balart, he has developed initiatives and activities in favour of Cuban democracy, a subject in which he shows interest as well.

He has also met democrats such as congressman Albio Sires and congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the President of the Democratic National Committee, and also with some Obama advisors as Rick Holtzapple (Head of European Affairs of the White House), Mike Froman (Obama’s advisor for security affairs) and Miriam Sapiro (responsible of the government for commerce affairs).[3] In 2016, he attended the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia to watch the nomination of Hillary Clinton.[4]

In a blog entry of September 2011, he commemorated the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, emphasizing the importance of US-EU cooperation and highlighting the work of the EPP in this affair.[5]

Relationship with Cuban dissidents[edit]

Other subject in which López-Istúriz has been active is Cuban democracy and the Cuban dissident movement.

After the death of dissident Orlando Zapata in February 2010, after 85 days of hunger strike, a group of MEPs including some of his Spaniards colleagues like Jaime Mayor Oreja, José Ignacio Salafranca and Fracisco Millán Mon, brought to the European Parliament a resolution proposal expressing regret over the death of the activist and demanding the communist government the release of all political prisoners.

López-Istúriz and Salafranca with Cuban dissidents at the EPP

López-Istúriz adhered to the resolution and during the plenary debate he committed in the name of his party, to sustain the EU's common position on Cuba; he also expressed his solidarity towards Zapata Tamayo’s mother and relatives and his wish of seeing a free Cuba.[6]

In September of that same year, he along Mayor Oreja and Salafranca took four of the 32 Cuban dissidents sent to Spain by the Castro regime, to Brussels in order for them to address the Human Right Committee of the European Parliament and to meet President of the Parliament Jerzy Buzek. Under the initiative of López-Istúriz, they also participated in some European People’s Party activities.

López-Istúriz has maintained that the release of these political prisoners to Spain is actually a forced exile.[7]

Also in 2010, the European Parliament granted the Sakharov Prize of human rights and freedom of thought to dissident Guillermo Fariñas. López-Istúriz was one of the promotes of this move. During the whole process, he took the chance to criticise Spain’s socialist government for its intention to modify the EU's common position on Cuba saying that: "...With this prize, besides, the EU shows clearly its rejection to the Spanish government position and confirms its decision of not to modify the common position towards the island in place since 1996."[8]

Self-employed workers[edit]

López-Istúriz has developed an intense job promoting self-employed workers, especially Spaniards. He has met in several occasion with the heads of the Spanish National Federation of Associations of Self-Employed Workers (ATA) and invited its president to the European Parliament, where both of them held meetings and press conferences.[9]

López-Istúriz has insisted in the importance of self-employed workers to overcome the financial crisis, generate employment and distribute the resources.

In a written question to the European Commission, he highlighted the importance of understanding the differences between self-employed workers and SMEs, in order to design efficient policies for both sectors and insisted in the importance of participation of self-employed workers associations in the European and national social dialogue process.[10]

EU patent[edit]

During the debate on the EU patent, López-Istúriz has joined his Spanish and Italian colleagues in opposing the proposed measure of registering the patents only in three languages: English, French and German.

López-Istúriz has said reiteratively that he favours the adoption of an EU patent, but opposes the use of those three languages letting Spanish aside. Confronting the argument that it is about reducing costs –it is in fact translation costs that make current patents in Europe expensive- he has said in the Parliament plenary that then the registry should be done only in English, dropping French and German too.

During that same intervention, he was very critical with the use of the enhanced co-operation mechanism to avoid Spanish and Italian opposition, emphasizing that such measure cannot be taken as a way to legitimize two-speed Europe.[11]

Nevertheless, the enhanced cooperation, proposed in this matter by another EPP MEP, Klaus-Heiner Lehne, was approved on February 15, 2010 by 471 votes in favour, 160 against and 42 abstentions, and was approved by the Council on 10 March.[12]

The process of definitive adoption of the unitary patent is currently under way.



External links[edit]

Media related to Antonio López-Istúriz White at Wikimedia Commons