18 enero 2007
The Times (January 18, 2007)
Loyola de Palacio
Spanish politician who helped shape European policy
Loyola de Palacio was one of the young pioneers of Spanish conservative politics and one of its first women to rise to high office.
A career politician who served as Agriculture Minister in the first Government led by the People’s Party (PP), she went on to become VicePresident of the European Commission and Commissioner of Transport and Energy.
Born in Madrid in 1950 into an aristocratic family with roots in the Basque country, she has three sisters and three brothers. Educated in the capital’s French Lycée, Loyola assumed the matriarchal role at the age of 22 when her mother Luisa died.
As a law student she developed a working relationship with Manuel Fraga who founded the Alianza Popular. She created the party’s youth wing, naming it New Generations.
In 1986 she was elected to the Spanish parliament’s Upper House, the Senate, to represent Segovia. Three years later she was elected as a deputy in the Cortes.
In 1996, when the PP took over the reins of government, Aznar made her his Agriculture Minister.
In 1999 Aznar asked her to lead the PP list of candidates for the European Parliament, and she was duly elected, and became a vice-president of the European Commission.
She was a prime mover behind the development of the Galileo global satellite navigation system, and after the oil spill off the Galician coast from the tanker Prestige in 2002 she introduced new maritime safety regulations. She left the Commission in 2004.
Like her sister Ana, who also served under Aznar as Foreign Minister, her politics were of the liberal wing of the PP. De Palacio was a keen mountaineer and sportswoman, and the first indications of her final illness came five months ago during a diving holiday.
Loyola de Palacio y del Valle Lersundi, politician, was born on September 16, 1950.