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Ana Palacio

Ana Isabel de Palacio y del Valle-Lersundi (born 22 August 1948)[1] in Madrid, daughter of Luis María de Palacio y de Palacio, 4th Marqués de Matonte, and wife Luisa Mariana del Valle-Lersundi y del Valle, was Spain's Minister for Foreign Affairs in the People's Party (PP) government of José María Aznar from July 2002-March 2004. Before this she was a lawyer in Madrid and then a Member of the European Parliament from 1994 to 2002.

Ana Palacio graduated from the Lycée Français (Baccalauréat on Mathematics) with honors granted by the French Government to “the best foreign student who finished studies that year”. She holds degrees in Law, and Political Science and Sociology; her performance in her degree studies merited the Award for Academic Achievement (Premio Extraordinario Fin de Carrera).


Legal career

As a lawyer she has held the most senior positions in the governing bodies of the Madrid Bar, as well as the European Bar (CCBE). She is an honorary member of the Bar of England and Wales. She also served as a member of the Board of Trustees and former Executive President of the Academy of European Law (ERA); and Distinguished Professor of the European College in Parma. She has worked as a practicing lawyer specializing in EU internal market law.

Career as MEP

She spent eight years (1994-2002) with the European Parliament where she has chaired the Legal Affairs and Internal Market Committee and the Justice and Home Affairs Committee, and was elected by her peers to chair in two half legislatures the Conference of Committee Chairmen, the Parliament’s most senior body for the coordination of its legislative work. Inspired by legal legitimacy as the mark of identity of the EU, her main addresses and reports have pinpointed the legislation on internal market as well as the security area, especially focused on justice and home affairs and human rights.

Career as minister and parliamentary deputy

She was the first woman to serve as Spain’s Foreign Minister and, at the time, held the most senior post ever filled by a woman in the Spanish government. Prior to her current appointment to the world bank, she served as member of the Spanish Parliament, representing Toledo, where she chaired the Joint Committee of the two Houses for European Union Affairs. As Prime Minister Aznar’s representative to the European Convention and the Convention’s Presidium, Ana Palacio was at the forefront of the debate on the future of the European Union and actively participated in the drafting and legal discussions pertaining the reform of the treaties governing the Union European.

In December 2000 she was diagnosed with cancer. She refused to wear a wig or a hat when the chemotherapy made her hair fall out. She currently serves as a member of the international advisory board of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. Her sister, Loyola de Palacio, was a minister in the Spanish government from 1996 to 1998, and a member of the European Commission from 1999 to 2004.

World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz announced on 19 June 2006 her appointment as Senior Vice-President and General Counsel of the World Bank effective August 28, 2006[2]. One of her primary duties, as General Counsel, involves Ms. Palacio's serving as Secretary General of the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, which is the division of the World Bank responsible for administrating arbitrations and conciliation between individuals and States under investment protection treaties, concession agreements and other foreign investment protection instruments, including certain national investment laws.

In January 2004 she was listed among the Wall Street Journal’s 75 ‘global opinion leaders’. In October 2001 the same newspaper, under the heading ‘Europe’s Lawyer’, published an extensive feature article on her in its supplement on ‘12 influential players on the world business stage’. Among the awards and decorations she has been bestowed upon, she is the recipient of the 2004 American Jewish Committee Ramer Award for Diplomatic Excellence, which recognizes her role in upholding democracy and the values of open society.

She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and sits on the Advisory Board of different institutions; among others: Council on Foreign Relations, Institut Montaigne, Aspen Institute Italia, Instituto de Empresa –IE-, Fundación para el Análisis y los Estudios Sociales -FAES-, Foundation pour l’ Innovation Politique, Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales -FRIDE- and CSIS Initiative for a Renewed Transatlantic Partnership. She is member of the Global Advisory Council of “The American Interest” and the Revue de Droit de l’Union européenne.


  1. ^ Palacio Vallelersundi Ana International Who's Who. accessed 1 September 2006.
  2. ^ El Banco Mundial nombra a Ana Palacio vicepresidenta y responsable jurídica · ELPAÍ


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