Harlem Désir

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Harlem Désir
Harlem Désir 01.JPG
11th First Secretary of the Socialist Party
In office
18 October 2012 – 9 April 2014
In office
16 September 2012 – 18 October 2012
(As Acting First Secretary)
In office
30 June 2011 – 16 October 2011
(As Acting First Secretary)
Preceded by Martine Aubry
Succeeded by Jean-Christophe Cambadelis
Personal details
Born (1959-11-25) 25 November 1959 (age 55)
Paris, France
Political party Socialist Party
Spouse(s) Anna Angeli
Marianne Sauterey (divorced)
Children two
Alma mater University of Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne

Harlem Désir (French: [aʁ.lɛm de.ziʁ], born 25 November 1959) is a French politician who has served in the government of France as Secretary of State for European Affairs since 2014. Previously he was First Secretary of the French Socialist Party.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Paris, Harlem Jean-Philippe Désir is the son of a Martinican father and an Alsatian mother.[1] He studied at the Pantheon-Sorbonne University, where he earned a license in philosophy in 1983.

SOS Racism[edit]

He was the first president of the French anti-racist organisation SOS Racisme between 1984 and 1992. Accused of misusing public assets from 1986 to 1987, he was sentenced to an 18 months suspended sentence and a 30 000 francs fine in 1998.[2]

Political career[edit]

Harlem Désir was elected for the first time to the European Parliament in 1999. He was re-elected in 2004 and 2009.

He is member of the Capital Tax, Fiscal Systems and Globalisation Intergroup of the European Parliament, to whom was presented Denis Robert and Ernest Backes's book, Revelation$, in March 2001.[3]

On 9 April 2014, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls appointed him Secretary of State for European Affairs.

Party leader[edit]

On 30 June 2011, he was the delegate first secretary of the Socialist Party during the Martine Aubry bid for the Socialist Party primary, who started her campaign for presidential election of 2012 on 28 June 2011. After the resignation of Martine Aubry on 16 September 2012, he again became First Secretary of the Socialist Party by interim. He remained head of the party until April 2014, when he stood down after being appointed State Secretary for European Affairs.

Endorsed by Martine Aubry and Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault before the 2012 Party Congress,[4] he was elected First Secretary of the party on 18 October 2012.[5] He became the first black person to lead a major European political party.[6]


  1. ^ Direction du PS: Harlem Désir, un successeur consensuel pour Martine Aubry Nouvel Observateur 12 September 2012. "Né en 1959 d'un père antillais et d'une mère alsacienne, Harlem Désir grandit à Bagneux, en banlieue parisienne et étudie la philosophie."
  2. ^ Les hommes politiques condamnés et réélus, L'Express, 22 June 2009.
  3. ^ "Tobin Tax Call" (PDF). Retrieved 2 March 2013. 
  4. ^ Brian Love, "Veteran Socialist Desir set to lead France's ruling party", Reuters, 12 September 2012.
  5. ^ Joseph Bamat: Harlem Désir, France's first black president? France24, 19 October 2012
  6. ^ "French MEP to make history after becoming first black man to lead the Socialists in Europe". Dailymail.co.uk. 13 September 2012. Retrieved 2 March 2013. 

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Martine Aubry
Leader of the Socialist Party
Succeeded by
Jean-Christophe Cambadelis
Preceded by
François Rebsamen
National Secretary for the Coordination of the Socialist Party
Succeeded by
Guillaume Bachelay
Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
Position created
President of SOS Racism
Succeeded by
Fodé Sylla