Born in Rome on 4 August 1953, Antonio Tajani is the son of an Italian army officer and a Latin and Greek professor. He lived in France for five years, where he and his family accompanied his father to NATO command. He holds a degree in law from La Sapienza University in Rome.
Mr Tajani completed his military service as an officer in the Italian Air Force. After attending a specialised air defence course at Borgo Piave di Latina, he joined the NATO Air Defence Ground Environment (NADGE).
Mr Tajani was a professional journalist for more than twenty years. He started out as a presenter of news programmes on Rai Radio 1, the Italian state broadcaster, and was a special correspondent in Lebanon, the Soviet Union and Somalia. He was then asked by, Indro Montanelli, the most recognised and revered Italian journalist of the twentieth century, to work for the newspaper, Il Giornale.
A co-founder of Forza Italia, in 1994, he was elected to the European Parliament for the first time, the genesis of what have turned into more than two decades of profound engagement with the European Union and its citizens.
He was appointed European Commissioner for Transport in 2008 and strongly backed the extension of passenger rights during his tenure. In 2010, he became European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, where he championed ambitious reindustrialisation goals, "green growth" and a particular emphasis on helping SMEs, notably through the Late Payments Directive and the Entrepreneurship 2020 Action plan.
He was re-elected to the European Parliament and as one of its vice-presidents in 2014.
Campaigning on a platform that promised to have the presidency focus on actively supporting the work of Members while bringing the institution closer to EU citizens, Mr Tajani was elected President of the European Parliament on 17 January 2017.
Mr Tajani has always been driven by an unwavering belief that the European Union must derive its strength from the results it delivers to its citizens. Nevertheless, he also understands that the EU is going through a sensitive chapter in its history. As a matter of fact, it is only by working twice as hard to respond to the concerns of citizens that the European Parliament will win back the general public's trust. He looks forward to the challenge, working for all Europeans over the next two and a half years.
Mr Tajani is married with two children. Besides Italian, he speaks French, Spanish and English.
Honours and Awards:
- In 2007, Mr Tajani received the Grand Cross of the Order of Faithful Service from Romania.
- In 2012, he was awarded France’s highest order for military and civil merit: Officer of the Order of the Legion of Honour, from Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Laurent Fabius.
- In 2013, he received the Grand Cross of the Order of Civil Merit from the Prime Minister of Spain, Mariano Rajoy.
- In 2015, he received the Grand Cross of the Order of Bernardo O’Higgins from the Government of Chile.