Catherine Day

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Catherine Day
Secretary General of the European Commission
In office
10 November 2005 – 1 September 2015
President José Manuel Barroso
Jean-Claude Juncker
Preceded by David O'Sullivan
Succeeded by Alexander Italianer
Personal details
Born (1954-06-16) 16 June 1954 (age 64)
Mount Merrion, Ireland
Alma mater University College Dublin

Catherine Day (born 16 June 1954 in Mount Merrion, Dublin) is a former Secretary-General of the European Commission.[1] Appointed in November 2005 she served two terms with President Jose Manuel Barroso and continued with his successor, Mr Jean-Claude Juncker until she retired in September 2015. She is the first woman to hold the post of Secretary General of the European Commission.


Catherine Day has an M.A. in International Trade and Economic Integration from University College Dublin. She has honorary doctorates from University College Dublin, Griffith College Dublin and the University of Limerick.[citation needed]


After graduation Catherine Day worked in Dublin, first in the Investment Bank of Ireland and then in the Confederation of Irish Industry. In 1979 she joined the European Commission following an open competition. She started work in the Industry DG of the Commission and then worked in Cabinets of Mr Richard Burke (1982-1984), Mr Peter Sutherland (1985-1989) and Sir Leon Brittan (1989-1996) whom she served as deputy chef de Cabinet.

In the mid-1990s she worked on the enlargement of the EU to the countries of central and eastern Europe. She chaired the Association Committees with candidate countries and was one of the architects of the pre-accession process.[2]

In 2000 she was appointed as deputy Director General in the DG for External Relations, serving under Commissioner Chris Patten. She was responsible for policy in the Balkans and wider European including Russia and the NIS.

In 2002 she was appointed Director General for Environment, serving under Commissioners Margot Wallstrom and Stavros Dimas. She was deeply involved in developing the Commission's REACH legislation on chemicals and in developing its climate and renewable energy strategies.

In November 2005 she was appointed as Secretary General of the Commission. During her term of office she developed the role of the Secretariat General in cross Commission policy co-ordination, its better regulation and impact assessment/policy evaluation approach and was a key negotiator of the 2014-2020 multi annual financial framework for the EU budget. She also led the Commission's work on the European Semester, co-ordinating EU and national economic and social policies. She was succeeded as Secretary General by Mr Alexander Italianer in September 2015

Since retirement Catherine Day is chairing the Governing Body of University College Cork and the Board of Trustees of the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin. She is on the boards of European Movement Ireland and the Institute of International and European Affairs. She is a member of the Royal Irish Academy. She is currently chairing an independent review group on the role of voluntary organisations in publicly funded health services in Ireland.



  1. ^ EU, WhoisWho. "The official directory of the European Union". Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  2. ^ O'Dea, Ann. "A passionate European: An Interview with Secretary-General of the EC, Catherine Day". Business&Leadership. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  3. ^

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
David O'Sullivan
Secretary General of the European Commission
Succeeded by
Alexander Italianer