José Manuel Barroso

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José Manuel Durão Barroso
José Manuel Barroso (cropped).jpg
Barroso in 2013
President of the European Commission
In office
22 November 2004 – 31 October 2014
Vice PresidentGünter Verheugen
Franco Frattini
Antonio Tajani
Jacques Barrot
Siim Kallas
Viviane Reding
Joaquín Almunia
First Vice-PresidentMargot Wallström
Catherine Ashton
Preceded byRomano Prodi
Succeeded byJean-Claude Juncker
Prime Minister of Portugal
In office
6 April 2002 – 17 July 2004
PresidentJorge Sampaio
Preceded byAntónio Guterres
Succeeded byPedro Santana Lopes
President of the Social Democratic Party
In office
2 May 1999 – 30 June 2004
Secretary-GeneralJosé Luís Arnaut
Preceded byMarcelo Rebelo de Sousa
Succeeded byPedro Santana Lopes
Leader of the Opposition
In office
2 May 1999 – 6 April 2002
Prime MinisterAntónio Guterres
Preceded byMarcelo Rebelo de Sousa
Succeeded byEduardo Ferro Rodrigues
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
12 November 1992 – 28 October 1995
Prime MinisterAníbal Cavaco Silva
Preceded byJoão de Deus Pinheiro
Succeeded byJaime Gama
Member of the Assembly of the Republic
In office
27 October 1995 – 22 November 2004
In office
13 August 1987 – 26 October 1995
In office
4 November 1985 – 12 August 1987
Personal details
José Manuel Durão Barroso

(1956-03-23) 23 March 1956 (age 66)
Lisbon, Portugal
Political partyWorkers' Communist Party (before 1976)
Social Democratic Party (since 1976)
Maria Margarida Sousa Uva
(m. 1980; died 2016)
Alma materUniversity of Lisbon
University of Geneva
Georgetown University
WebsiteOfficial website
Official Media Gallery

José Manuel Durão Barroso (Portuguese: [ʒuˈzɛ mɐˈnwɛl duˈɾɐ̃w bɐˈʁozu]; born 23 March 1956) is a Portuguese politician and university teacher, currently serving as non-executive chairman of Goldman Sachs International. He previously served as the 11th president of the European Commission and the 115th prime minister of Portugal.[1]

Academic career[edit]

Durão Barroso, as he is known in Portugal,[2] graduated in law from the Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbon. He subsequently obtained a Diploma in European Studies from the European University Institute, and received a MA degree with honours in both Political Science and Social Sciences from the University of Geneva in Switzerland. His academic career continued as an assistant professor in the Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbon. Barroso did PhD research at Georgetown University and Georgetown's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service in Washington, D.C., but his CV does not list any doctoral degree (except honorary).[3] He is a 1998 graduate of the Georgetown Leadership Seminar.[4] Back in Lisbon, Barroso became director of the Department for International Relations at Lusíada University (Universidade Lusíada).

Barroso is now a policy fellow at the Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination at Princeton University[5] and the Frederick H. Schultz Class of 1951 Visiting Professor of International Economic Policy at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs Woodrow Wilson School, where he teaches with Wolfgang F. Danspeckgruber on the EU in International Affairs. Barroso also teaches at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies and at the University of Geneva.[6] At Católica Global School of Law, he has taught the seminar on "The Dynamics of European Union Institutions" since 2015, on two LL.M. programmes.

Early political career[edit]

Barroso's political activity began in his late teens, during the Estado Novo regime in Portugal, before the Carnation Revolution of 25 April 1974. In his university days, he was one of the leaders of the underground Maoist MRPP (Re-Organized Movement of the Proletariat Party, later Portuguese Workers' Communist Party (PCTP/MRPP), Communist Party of the Portuguese Workers/Revolutionary Movement of the Portuguese Proletariat).[7][8] In an interview with the newspaper Expresso, he said that he had joined MRPP to fight the only other student body movement, also underground, which was controlled by the Portuguese Communist Party. Despite this justification, there is a very famous political 1976 interview recorded by the Portuguese state-run television channel, RTP, in which Barroso, as a politically minded student during the post-Carnation Revolution turmoil known as PREC, criticises the bourgeois education system which "throws students against workers and workers against students."[9] In December 1980, Barroso joined the right-of-centre PPD (Democratic Popular Party, later PPD/PSD-Social Democratic Party), where he remains to the present day.

In 1985, under the PSD government of Aníbal Cavaco Silva, 113th prime minister of Portugal, Barroso was named Under-Secretary of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs. In 1987 he became a member of the same government as he was elevated to Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (answering to the Minister of Foreign Affairs), a post he was to hold for the next five years. In this capacity, he was the driving force behind the Bicesse Accords of 1990, which led to a temporary armistice in the Angolan Civil War between the ruling MPLA and the opposition UNITA. He also supported independence for East Timor, a former Portuguese colony, then a province of Indonesia by force. In 1992, Barroso was promoted to the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs, and served in this capacity until the defeat of the PSD in the 1995 general election.

Prime minister of Portugal[edit]

While in opposition, Barroso was elected to the Assembly of the Republic in 1995 as a representative for Lisbon. There, he became chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. In 1999 he was elected president of his political party, PSD, succeeding Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa (a professor of law), and thus became Leader of the Opposition. Parliamentary elections in 2002 gave the PSD enough seats to form a coalition government with the right-wing Portuguese People's Party, and Barroso subsequently became Prime Minister of Portugal on 6 April 2002.

As prime minister, facing a growing budget deficit, he made a number of difficult decisions and adopted strict reforms. He vowed to reduce public expenditure, which made him unpopular among leftists and public servants.[citation needed]. His purpose was to lower the public budget deficit to a 3% target (according to the demands of EU rules), and official data during the 2002–2004 period stated that the target was being attained.

Barroso Azores (far left) in March 2003

In March 2003, Barroso hosted U.S President George W. Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar in the Portuguese island of Terceira, in the Azores. The four leaders finalised the controversial US-led 2003 invasion of Iraq. Under Barroso's leadership, Portugal became part of the "coalition of the willing" for the invasion and occupation of Iraq, sending non-combat troops.[10] On 30 January 2003, Barroso signed The letter of the eight supporting US. policy on Iraq.[11]

Barroso did not finish his term as he had been nominated as president of the European Commission on 5 July 2004. Barroso arranged with Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio to nominate Pedro Santana Lopes as a substitute prime minister of Portugal. Santana Lopes led the PSD/PP coalition for a few months until early 2005, when new elections were called. When the Portuguese Socialist Party won the elections it produced an estimation that by the end of the year the budget deficit would reach 6.1%,[12] which it used to criticise Barroso's and Santana Lopes's economic policies.

President of the European Commission[edit]

The "three European presidents", Jerzy Buzek (Parliament), José Manuel Barroso (Commission) and Herman Van Rompuy (European Council) during a press conference in 2011
José Manuel Barroso visits the ESO.
Headquarters of the European Commission in Brussels.

In 2004, the proposed European Constitution and now the Treaty of Lisbon included a provision that the choice of president must take into account the result of Parliamentary elections and the candidate supported by the victorious Europarty in particular. That provision was not in force in the nomination in 2004, but the centre-right European People's Party (EPP), who won the elections, pressured for a candidate from its own ranks. In the end, José Manuel Barroso, the EPP candidate, was chosen by the European Council.[13]

On the same basis, the EPP again endorsed Barroso for a second term during the 2009 European election campaign and, after the EPP again won the elections, was able to secure his nomination by the European Council on 17 June 2009. On 3 September 2009, Barroso unveiled his manifesto for his second term.[14] On 16 September 2009, Barroso was re-elected by the European Parliament for another five years.[15][16][17] Since he completed his second term he became only the second Commission president to serve two terms, after Jacques Delors. That Commission's term of office ran until 31 October 2014.[18]

During his first presidency, the following important issues were on the Commission's agenda:

One of his first tasks since being re-elected was a visit to Ireland to persuade Irish citizens to approve the Treaty of Lisbon in the country's second referendum due to be held the following month.[19] Barroso was greeted by Irish Minister for Defence Willie O'Dea and Peter Power, the Minister of State for Overseas Development, as he got off his plane at Shannon Airport on the morning of 19 September 2009 before briefly meeting with the joint committee of the Oireachtas and meeting and greeting people at functions in Limerick's City Hall, University of Limerick (UL) and the Savoy Hotel.[19] He told The Irish Times in an interview referenced internationally by Reuters that he had been asked if Ireland would split from the European Union.[20] He also launched a €14.8 million grant for former workers at Dell's Limerick plant, described as "conveniently opportune" by former Member of the European Parliament and anti-Lisbonite Patricia McKenna.[21]

On 12 September 2012 Barroso has called for the EU to evolve into a "federation of nation-states". Addressing the EU parliament in Strasbourg, Barroso said such a move was necessary to combat the continent's economic crisis. He said he believed Greece would be able to stay in the eurozone if it stood by its commitments. Mr Barroso also set out plans for a single supervisory mechanism for all banks in the eurozone.[22]

U.S. President George W. Bush, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Barroso in 2008

He was once appointed Acting Commissioner for Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration in Maroš Šefčovič's stead, from 19 April 2014 – 25 May 2014 while he was on electoral campaign leave for the 2014 elections to the European Parliament.[23] He ultimately decided to not take up his seat.


In 2005, Die Welt reported that Barroso had spent a week on the yacht of the Greek shipping billionaire Spiro Latsis. It emerged soon afterwards that this had occurred only a month before the Commission approved 10 million euros of Greek state aid for Latsis's shipping company – though the state aid decision had been taken by the previous European Commission before Barroso took up his post.[24] In response to this revelation, Nigel Farage MEP of the UK Independence Party persuaded around 75 MEPs from across the political spectrum to back a motion of no confidence in Barroso, so as to compel him to appear before the European Parliament to be questioned on the matter.[25] The motion was tabled on 12 May 2005, and Barroso appeared before Parliament as required at a debate on 26 May 2005.[26] The motion itself was heavily defeated.

In response to criticism for his choice of a less fuel efficient Volkswagen Touareg, amid EU legislation of targets drastically to reduce car CO2 emissions, Barroso dismissed this as "overzealous moralism".[27]

In April 2008, amid sharp food price rises and mounting food vs fuel concerns, Barroso insisted that biofuel use was "not significant" in pushing up food prices.[28] The following month, he announced a study that would look into the issue.[29] The backdoor approval of the GE potato, by President Barroso, has met a wave of strong opposition from EU member-states. The governments of Greece, Austria, Luxembourg, Italy, Hungary and France have all publicly announced that they will not allow the GE potato to be grown in their countries.

Barroso has expressed criticism of national governments arguing "Decisions taken by the most democratic institutions in the world are very often wrong."[30]

In December 2013 Barroso said that Europe was not the cause of the problems for Ireland; Ireland caused a problem for Europe. Following the bailout exit, in December 2013, the Irish government's bid to get backdated funding for the banking sector was rejected as the head of the European Commission blamed the Irish banks, regulators and government for the difficulties in the country. Barroso said the problems in the Irish banks caused a "major destabilisation" in the euro, rather than structural problems with the currency itself, "I am saying this because it would be wrong to give the impression that Europe has created a problem for Ireland and now Europe has to help Ireland. In fact, it was the banking sector in Ireland—it was one of the biggest problems in the world in terms of banking stability what happened in Ireland."[31]

Barroso was heavily criticised for taking a position as a chairman and senior adviser to the international arm of Goldman Sachs. He did so two months after the 18-month "cooling-off" period for EU officials after they leave their posts. Barroso's move was especially sensitive because Goldman Sachs is an American institution that played a questionable role in the financial crisis that nearly broke the euro. Furthermore, Barroso announced his move to the London-based subsidiary of Goldman Sachs shortly after the Brexit referendum. The European Commission agreed to an unprecedented ethics inquiry into the move. The independent panel concluded there were "not sufficient grounds to establish a violation of the duty of integrity and discretion" and accepted Barroso's assurances that he would not be lobbying on behalf of the bank's clients.[32]

Other activities[edit]

British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel watching the 2012 UEFA Champions League Final with Barroso, US President Barack Obama, French President François Hollande and others during the G8 summit.

In July 2016, Barroso became the non-executive chairman of London-based Goldman Sachs International (GSI), the bank's largest subsidiary. He is also an adviser to the bank.[33][34][35] At the time of his appointments, this position was regarded as quite controversial, and later led Barroso's successor Jean-Claude Juncker to launch an ethics investigation.[citation needed]

In 2020, Barroso was selected as chair of the board at GAVI, succeeding Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.[36]

In addition, Barroso has held several paid and unpaid positions, including:

Personal life[edit]

Barroso is the son of Luís António Saraiva Barroso and his wife Maria Elisabete de Freitas Durão. In 1980 he married Maria Margarida Pinto Ribeiro de Sousa Uva, with whom he has three sons. Sousa Uva died from uterine cancer in August 2016, at the age of 60.

Apart from Portuguese, Barroso is fluent in French,[49] speaks Spanish and English and has taken a course to acquire a basic knowledge of German.[50]


Barroso holds over twenty decorations, including.[51]

  • Grand Cross of the Order of Christ (Portugal) in 1996;
  • Winner of the Casa da Imprensa prize in the area of politics in 1992
  • Named Global Leader for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum in 1993
  • Chosen Personality of the Year in 1991 and 2004 by the Foreign Press Association in Portugal
  • Given "Medalla de la Universidad de Alcala de Henares" and "Medalla de Oro de la Ciudad de Zamora", Spain, 2005
  • Golden Medal: The Bell Celebration – Message to the United Europe, from the Ferdinan Martinengo Company, Slovakia, 2006
  • EFR-Business Week Award from Erasmus University Rotterdam, 2006.
  • Honorary Citizen of Rio de Janeiro, June 2006.
  • "European of the Year" award by European Voice newspaper, November 2006.
  • Awarded Honorary HEC diploma, Paris, December 2006.
  • Special Prize, Business Centre Club, Poland, February 2007; Gold Medal of the city of Lamego, Portugal, April 2007;
  • Transatlantic Leadership Prize, European Institute, Washington DC, April 2007;
  • Grand Cross of the Order of Vytautas the Great (Lithuania, 06/2007)[52]
  • Honorary Citizen of Delphi and Golden Medal of the "Amfiktyons", Delphi, Greece, July 2007;
  • Academic Title EBAPE – FGV, for the relevant contribution and services towards the study and practice in Administration – Getulio Vargas Foundation, Rio de Janeiro, August 2007
  • Conde de Barcelona International Prize from the Conde de Barcelona Foundation, Barcelona, November 2007.
  • Honorary Medal and Honorary Diploma of the City of Nicosia, Nicosia, January 2008.
  • Honorary Member, Academia Portuguesa da História, Lisbon, March 2008.
  • State Medal "Stara Planina" I Degree, Bulgaria, March 2008.
  • "Prémio Rotary da Paz", Rotary International Distrito 1960 Portugal, Lisbon, April 2008; "Chave de Honra da Cidade de Lisboa", Lisbon, May 2008.
  • Confraria Queijo S. Jorge, Acores, May 2008.
  • Ciudadino Andino Honorifico, Lima, Peru, May 2008.
  • "Transatlantic Business Award", American Chamber of Commerce to the European Union, Brussels, May 2008.
  • Confraria vinho do Porto, Porto, June 2008.
  • Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana, First Class, Tallinn, February 2009.
  • Gold Medal of the Royal Institute of European Studies, Royal Institute of European Studies Madrid, March 2009.
  • Gold Medal of the Hellenic Parliament, Athens, April 2009.
  • Medal of Honour and Benefaction of the City of Athens, Athens, April 2009.
  • European Excellence Award, by the Government Council of the Community of Madrid, May 2009.
  • Prix European of the Year, The European Movement in Denmark, Copenhagen, May 2009.
  • Grand Cross of the Order of Orange-Nassau.[53]
  • Laureate of the Quadriga Prize 2009 – United for the Better, Berlin, October 2009
  • Collar of the "Order pro merito Melitensi" [Civilian Class], the Order of Malta, Rome, May 2010.
  • Medal of Merit from the Federação das Associações Portuguesas e Luso-brasileiras, Brazil, July 2010.
  • "Man of the Year 2009 of Central and Eastern Europe", Krynica, September 2010.
  • Great Collar of the Order of Timor-Leste, Brussels, October 2010.
  • Golden Victoria "European of the Year 2010" award by the Union of German Magazine Publishers VDZ, Berlin, November 2010.
  • Collier of the Fondation du Mérite européen, Luxembourg, November 2010.
  • the "Steiger" Award 2011, Bochum, Germany, March 2011.
  • Charles V Prize, awarded by the Fundación Academia Europea de Yuste, Spain, 2013
  • Gold Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Public Discourse, the College Historical Society (CHS) of Trinity College Dublin.
  • Gold Medal of the Jean Monnet Foundation for Europe, in 2014.

Honorary degrees[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ex-European Commission head Barroso under fire over Goldman Sachs job". BBC News. 13 July 2016.
  2. ^ "Durão Barroso vai ser presidente da Goldman Sachs".
  3. ^ José Manuel Barroso 2009 CV archived on 21 May from the original
  4. ^ GLS Reunion 2005 Archived 29 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "José Manuel Durao Barroso: LISD Policy Fellow, Frederick H. Schultz Class of 1951 Visiting Professor of International Economic Policy". Princeton NJ: Liechtenstein Institute of Self-Determination. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  6. ^ "José-Manuel Barroso nommé professeur invité à l'UNIGE et à l'IHEID – SERVICE DE COMMUNICATION – UNIGE". 20 February 2015.
  7. ^ "Barroso's role in the proletarian struggle". Financial Times. 9 October 2007.
  8. ^ "José Manuel Barroso bullies the Irish". The Daily Telegraph. 28 May 2008. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022.
  9. ^ Euractiv (20 January 2009). "Barroso as a young, passionate Maoist student leader in 1976". Archived from the original on 21 December 2021 – via YouTube.
  10. ^ "Conservative lawyer an ex-Maoist communist". The Irish Times. 30 June 2004.
  11. ^ "Full text of letter written by eight European leaders". The Irish Times. 30 January 2003.
  12. ^ Portugal: ECONOMY Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, U.S. Department of State
  13. ^ "Choosing a New EU Commission President". Deutsche Welle. 16 June 2004. Retrieved 27 August 2007.
  14. ^ Ian Traynor in Brussels (3 September 2009). "José Manuel Barroso unveils manifesto for second term". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved 19 September 2009.
  15. ^ David Charter in Strasbourg (17 September 2009). "José Manuel Barroso wins second term as European Commission President". The Times. UK. Retrieved 19 September 2009.
  16. ^ "PN MEPs welcome election of José Manuel Barroso". The Malta Independent. 17 September 2009. Archived from the original on 14 December 2011. Retrieved 19 September 2009.
  17. ^ "EPP delighted with re-election of Barroso"[permanent dead link] European People's Party, 16 September 2009; accessed 29 November 2009
  18. ^ "Organisational structure".
  19. ^ a b "No vote will affect confidence – Barroso". RTÉ. 19 September 2009. Retrieved 19 September 2009.
  20. ^ Carmel Crimmins (19 September 2009). "EU's Barroso warns Ireland on commissioner right". Reuters. Retrieved 19 September 2009.
  21. ^ "European grant for former Dell workers". RTÉ. 19 September 2009. Retrieved 19 September 2009.
  22. ^ "EU Commission chief Barroso calls for 'federation'". BBC. 12 September 2012.
  23. ^ "Six commissioners head for EU election campaign trail".
  24. ^ Castle, Stephen (26 May 2005). "Barroso survives confidence debate over free holiday with Greek tycoon". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 1 October 2007. Retrieved 8 June 2009.
  25. ^ "". Bloomberg. 25 May 2005. Archived from the original on 16 November 2006. Retrieved 8 June 2009.
  26. ^ "Europe | Barroso rebuffs yacht questions". BBC News. 25 May 2005. Retrieved 8 June 2009.
  27. ^ "Barroso bashed over gas guzzler". BBC News. 9 March 2007. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  28. ^ Biofuels 'aggravating' food prices says Brown EUobserver, 10 April 2008
  29. ^ Barroso orders study on biofuels/food link Transport & Environment, 14 May 2008
  30. ^ "The EU is an antidote to democratic governments, argues President Barroso". Telegraph. London. 1 October 2010. Archived from the original on 3 October 2010. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
  31. ^ "EU chief Barroso: No backdated bank debt deal for Ireland". Irish Independent.
  32. ^ "José Manuel Barroso cleared of ethics breach over Goldman Sachs job". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 1 November 2016.
  33. ^ Laura Noonan (8 July 2016), Goldman Sachs hires former EU chief José Manuel Barroso Financial Times.
  34. ^ Jean Quatremer (9 July 2016), [1] "Libération".
  35. ^ "Goldman Sachs hires former EU chief Barroso". Reuters.
  36. ^ José Manuel Barroso named as new Chair of the Gavi Board GAVI, press release of 29 September 2020.
  37. ^ Gordon Brown appointed Chair of Education Financing Commission Office of Gordon and Sarah Brown, press release of 22 September 2015.
  38. ^ Steering Committee Bilderberg Meetings.
  39. ^ Panel of Senior Advisers Chatham House.
  40. ^ Governance Europaeum.
  41. ^ Minutes of the 2110th meeting, 16 December 2014 European Commission.
  42. ^ Honorary Council European Movement International.
  43. ^ Senior leaders join Kofi Annan's Electoral Integrity Initiative Kofi Annan Foundation, press release of 30 May 2016.
  44. ^ Honorary Senate Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings.
  45. ^ Global Advisory Board Women Political Leaders Global Forum (WPL).
  46. ^ Committee, The Sunhak Peace Prize. "'2022 Sunhak Peace Prize Focuses on Vaccine Equity'". Retrieved 17 July 2022.
  47. ^ Structure and Organisation: Board of Trustees UEFA Foundation for Children.
  48. ^ Aleksander Čeferin becomes chairman of the UEFA Foundation for Children UEFA Foundation for Children, press release of 22 November 2017.
  49. ^ "Barroso pour une TVA réduite – vidéo Dailymotion". 8 July 2008.
  50. ^ Barroso speaking French, Spanish, English and German Les vidéos du président Barroso, Commission européenne, Bruxelles
  51. ^ CV with the list of decorations Official CV at
  52. ^ Lithuanian Presidency Archived 19 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine, Lithuanian Orders searching form
  53. ^ Invitados
  54. ^ Honorary graduates | 2005/2006 University of Edinburgh
  55. ^ Doktoraty Honoris Causa Archived 27 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine Warsaw School of Economics
  56. ^ Ehrendoktorwürde: "José Manuel Barroso ist Mr. Europa" Informationsdienst Wissenschaft, 9 May 2009

External links[edit]

Political offices
New office Deputy Secretary of State of the
Minister of Internal Administration

Succeeded by
Preceded by Secretary of State of
External Affairs and Cooperation

Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Preceded by Leader of the Opposition
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prime Minister of Portugal
Succeeded by
Preceded by Portuguese European Commissioner
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of the European Commission
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by President of the Social Democratic Party
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Diplomatic posts
Preceded by Chair of the Group of Eight
Served alongside: Herman Van Rompuy
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Academic offices
Preceded by Convocation Speaker of the College of Europe
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