Josep Borrell Fontelles (born 24 April 1947 in La Pobla de Segur, Lleida) is a Spanish politician. He was nominated President of the European University Institute on 12 December 2008, and assumed this position in January 2010. Borrell was President of the European Parliament from 20 July 2004 until 16 January 2007. Elected for the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE), he sits with the Party of European Socialists group, and is the leader of the Spanish delegation. As of January 2007 he is chair of the Committee on Development.
In the presidential vote, out of 700 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) he received an absolute majority with 388 votes at the first ballot. The other two candidates were the Polish Liberal Bronisław Geremek (208 votes) and the French communist Francis Wurtz (51 votes). As part of a deal with the conservative faction in the parliament, the EPP, he was succeeded as president of the parliament by the German conservative politician Hans-Gert Pöttering in the second part of this term, which is from 2007 to June 2009.
He was born and grew up in the village of La Pobla de Segur, where his father owned a small bakery. His very basic education was supplemented by reading, but he was able to complete his secondary education in Lleida. He went to Barcelona to study industrial accounting, but left after a year in 1965 to go and study aeronautical engineering at the Technical University of Madrid (UPM), graduating in 1969. During this time he also began to study economic sciences at the Complutense University. In the summer of 1969 he stayed on a kibbutz in Israel, where he met his future French wife Carolina Mayeur, from whom he is now divorced. In 1975 he worked in Madrid as an engineer for the state petroleum company Campsa, joining PSOE in the same year even though it was an illegal party until February 1977. In 1979 he became a member of the Madrid Parliament until 1982 when the new PSOE government of Felipe González appointed him to a post within the Ministry of Economy with responsibility for fiscal policy. In 1986 he was elected to the Spanish Parliament representing Barcelona Province and remained an MP until 2004. In 1998 he ran against PSOE's General Secretary Joaquin Almunia in a primary election intended to determine who the party would nominate as its prime ministerial candidate in the 2000 General Elections, but due to internal pressures within the PSOE, Borrell resigned from candidacy in 1999. He had to publicly deny rumors that he was a homosexual, while asserting his respect for homosexuals. In 2004 Prime Minister and PSOE's General Secretary José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero proposed Borrell to lead the Socialist Ticket in the 2004 European Elections managing to win the elections by a narrow margin.
Since 1998, Borrell has been in a relationship with Cristina Narbona, ex-Environment Minister of Spain.