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Geoffrey Van Orden MEP

Assumed office 
June 1999

Born 10 April 1945 (1945-04-10) (age 64)
Waterlooville, Hampshire, United Kingdom
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Alma mater Sussex University
Profession Soldier
Military service
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service 1964–1994
Rank Brigadier
Unit Intelligence Corps
Awards MBE

Geoffrey Charles Van Orden MBE (born 10 April 1945) is a British politician and former soldier. He is currently Member of the European Parliament for the East of England region for the Conservative Party. He was first elected to the European Parliament in 1999.


Early life and career

Van Orden was born in Waterlooville, Hampshire in 1945. He attended the Mons Officer Cadet School and was commissioned into the Intelligence Corps in 1964. He was promoted Lieutenant in 1966, Captain in 1970, Major in 1977, Lieutenant-Colonel in 1983, Colonel in 1988, and Brigadier in 1991. He was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) aged just 27.

He served worldwide as part of the British Army from 1964 to 1985. In 1985 he became an instructor at the German Armed Forces Staff College in Hamburg (1985–88) and was later the Chief of Staff of the British Army in the British sector of Berlin (1988–90). In 1990 he worked as part of the Assessment Staff for the Joint Intelligence Committee in London. From 1991 to 1994 he served as the Executive Secretary of International Military Staff at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, his final military appointment.

In 1995 he was appointed as a senior official in the European Commission for foreign and security policy issues. He held this post until 1999, when he was elected as a Member of the European Parliament for the Conservative Party.

European Parliament

Following his election to the European Parliament, Van Orden became the Conservatives' spokesman for Defence and Security policy. Since 2002 he has been the Vice Chairman of the prestigious Committee on Foreign Affairs. During the accession of Bulgaria to the European Union, Van Orden was the rapporteur for Bulgaria in the European Parliament, and regularly reported on the progress of the country with regard to EU membership requirements. His final report in November 2006 confirmed Bulgaria's preparedness to join the EU.

Political positions

Van Orden is a eurosceptic. He is opposed to British membership of the euro, the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe and the Treaty of Lisbon. He had long campaigned for the Conservative Party to end their association with the European People's Party in the European Parliament, an aim which was finally achieved in 2009.

He is a member of the Countryside Alliance and the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Personal life

Van Orden is married and has three daughters.

External links



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