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Datum objave: 11.02.2019

European Parliament

The President Antonio Tajani Born in Rome on 4 August 1953

European Parliament 

The President


 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.

EP President Tajani says "Italian Istria and Dalmatia" remark was misinterpreted

President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, apologised on Monday for the controversial statements about “Italian Istria and Italian Dalmatia” he had made on Sunday while attending a commemoration of the Italian victims of the foibe at the Basovizza pit near the Italian town of Trieste.

The event commemorated the victims of the so-called foibe massacres, mass killings of Italians in the aftermath of World War II. The exact number of victims remains unknown and a point of controversy, with estimates ranging from hundreds to more than ten thousand.

Speaking at the event, Tajani said: “Long live Trieste, long live Italian Istria, long live Italian Dalmatia,” Italian media reported.

The words caused outrage in Croatia and Slovenia on Monday, with officials of both countries calling them an example of historical revisionism.

On Monday, Tajani issued a statement, saying his words were misinterpreted.

“It was not my intention to offend anyone. I just wanted to send a message of peace between peoples, so that what happened never happens again,” Tajani said.

He said his speech was meant to highlight peace between the three nations, and their contribution to the European project.

“My reference to Istria and Italian Dalmatia was in no way a territorial claim. I was referring to the Istrian and Dalmatian Italian-language exiles, their children and grandchildren, many of whom were present at the ceremony,” he said.

Croatian top state officials strongly condemned Tajani's words, with Prime Minister and leader of the ruling centre-right Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), Andrej Plenkovic, saying the statement has elements of territorial claims and revisionism.

"I spoke to Tajani today. I told him we were extremely displeased with such a statement, which is inappropriate, and we requested an explanation," Plenkovic said.

The HDZ is part of the European People's Party group in the European Parliament, just like Forza Italia, the Italian party in which Tajani is a key figure.

Croatian President, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, condemned Tajani’s words as well, adding she would notify Italian and EU institutions on the issue, while Croatian Foreign Minister, Marija Pejcinovic-Buric, said: "Such statements are not conducive to reconciliation, coexistence and all civilisation values on which the European Union was built.”

She added the statements were particularly problematic coming from a high-ranking official representing the European Parliament, an EU institution which was created so that war never happens in Europe again.

Croatian MEP, Tonino Picula of the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SDP), said that Istria and Dalmatia were historically Croatian regions and "that cannot be changed by any revisionism by the Italian right, Tajani and their allies in the EPP."

"Dalmatia and Istria suffered under the Italian fascist rule and won their freedom and joined with their mother country in the National Liberation Struggle, in which, along with Croats and Slovenians, Italian antifascists fought as well," said Picula.

Slovenian high officials called Tajani's words unacceptable and concerning.

Slovenian President Borut Pahor wrote to his Italian counterpart, Sergio Mattarella, voicing deep concern and saying it was not the first time that similar claims were voiced in Italy, while Foreign Minister Miro Cerar said the words were an unacceptable “falsification of our common history,” adding they incited fear.

Slovenian Prime Minister Marjan Sarec said on Twitter that Tajani's statements represented unheard-of historical revisionism.

"Fascism is a historical fact and its objective was also the destruction of the Slovenian people," he tweeted.

Croatian politicians condemn remarks made by President of European Parliament

During a speech in Italy, the President of the European Parliament made clear overtures to an Italian land-grab of Croatian and Slovenian territory.

During a speech in Basovizza, part of the municipality of Trieste, the President of European Parliament Antonio Tajani, ended his address with: Long live Trieste! Long live Italian Istria! Long live Italian Dalmatia! Long live our refugees and the values of our homeland! The event marked the departure of Italian optants from Croatian and Slovenia territories after the fall of fascist Italy. Optants were Italian nationals who chose to leave the Croatian territories of Istra and Dalmatia when the Italian occupation ended. Italy however, maintained control over the Slovene town of Trst and its surrounding areas.

Reactions to the outrageous comments were fast and furious, coming from Slovenian Prime Minister Marjan Šarec and Croatian members of European Parliament. MEP Dubravka Šuica (HDZ), called the statements unacceptable. “I can understand people commemorating those who came before them, but to speak of the Istrian peninsula and Dalmatia as being Italian territories, I think this is a relic of times long past.”

She did, however, try to argue that Tajani’s comments should be taken in the context of the ongoing election campaign in Italy. “We should, however, take into account that Tajani is in the middle of an election campaign, in which his Forza Italia is massively losing votes to the right-wing Lega Nord Party, so I would look at his statement in that context. I think it was a statement made for the Italian public. I also know that Tajani has strong ties with the Italian minority in Croatia, and that minority has its representative in Croatian Parliament, and that he has contributed constructively to Croatia's democracy, so, even though his comments are out of line, they should be taken in the context of the election campaign and the loss of support by his party,” Šuica said.Another Croatian MEP, Biljana Borzan (SDP), was less forgiving. “I strongly condemn Mr. Tajani's statements, I think they are absolutely inappropriate, primarily because of the office he holds, and because when he was running for the post of President of the European Parliament, he campaigned on the idea of being a representative of all EU citizens. To make matters worse he has buckled under to pressure from the extreme right-wing in his country, and he is now repeating exactly what he stood against as the president of European Parliament. My colleague Tonino Picula and I are starting an initiative in which we will seek out the support of our fellow MEPs in demanding that Tajani apologize for his statements, and to show exactly what Croatia thinks about this kind of rhetoric.”

Source: HRT

Slovenian, Croatian leaders accuse Tajani of ‘historical revisionism’

European Parliament president denies remarks implied a territorial claim.

Slovenian and Croatian leaders on Monday condemned European Parliament President Antonio Tajani for remarks seen as suggesting an Italian claim on their territory.

At a commemoration of a World War II massacre that took place on the border between Italy and Slovenia, Tajani declared near the city of Trieste: “Long live Trieste, long live Italian Istria, long live Italian Dalmatia, long live Italian exiles.” The region of Istria includes parts of present-day Italy, Slovenia and Croatia. Dalmatia forms part of Croatia. Both areas were occupied by Italian fascists during World War II.

The conservative Italian politician's remarks drew sharp rebukes from the prime ministers of both Slovenia and Croatia, and from Slovenia's European commissioner, Violeta Bulc.

Tajani was also accused of "historical revisionism" in his attitude to the massacre of Italians and others who opposed a Yugoslav takeover of Trieste in May 1945. an event that was, according to a joint Italian-Slovenian historical commission from 2004, "triggered by the atmosphere of settling accounts with the fascist violence.”

Slovenian Prime Minister Marjan Šarec protested on Twitter against "the desire to falsify history in Slovenia” and declared that “the same thing is happening on the Italian side of the border. Unfortunately by ... even EU representatives. Historical revisionism without precedent. Fascism was a fact and it had the purpose of destroying Slovenian people."

“I condemn the statement by President Tajani in the strongest terms," — Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković

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