President of the Foundation


Pat Cox was born in Dublin in 1952 and raised in Ireland’s mid western regional capital, Limerick. He graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 1974 and worked as a lecturer in economics with the Institute of Public Administration, Dublin (1974-1976) and the National Institute for Higher Education, now the University of Limerick (1976-1982). He worked as a television current affairs journalist and presenter with the national broadcaster, RTE (1982-1986). He was the founding Secretary General of the Progressive Democrats (1986-1989) and was instrumental in their joining the European Liberal Party in 1988.

He was a Member of Dáil Éireann, the Irish Parliament, in the early 90s (1992 -1994) but it is as a member of the European Parliament that he was best known. He was elected as an MEP in 1989 for the constituency of Munster and re-elected as an independent deputy in 1994 and again in 1999. He was President of the ELDR Group in the European Parliament (1998-2002).

Pat Cox was elected to the Presidency of the European Parliament for a two and a half year term in January 2002. During this time he was an active campaigner for the enlargement of the European Union. He led a drive for internal parliamentary reform and guided the European Parliament in playing host to the Convention on the Future of Europe. Eventually he was the Parliament’s senior representative on the Intergovernmental Conference on the Constitutional Treaty of the EU.

He lives in Dublin, is married and has six adult children.

Cox retired from elected politics in 2004 but has maintained an active interest and engagement in European affairs. He served two terms as President of the European Movement International (2005-2011) and was President of the Former Members Association of the European Parliament (2010-2014). He has served terms as Commissioner General, Europalia, Brussels, as a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Crisis Group and as a Member of the Board of Trustees Friends of Europe. In 2009 he was Director of Campaign and a founder member of the civil society campaign ‘Ireland for Europe’ in that country’s second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. Together with Aleksander Kwaśniewski, the former President of Poland, the European Parliament appointed Cox, for a period of eighteen months ending at the Vilnius Summit of the Eastern Partnership in November 2013, to a special monitoring mission to Ukraine in respect of selective justice issues. From 2010 to 2013 Cox acted as EU Coordinator for Priority Project No.1 of the EU’s TEN-T policy and currently is the Coordinator for the TEN-T Scandinavian Mediterranean Core Network Corridor.

He has served in the past on a number of European advisory boards including with Microsoft and Pfizer. Currently he is a member of the Conseil de Surveillance of Michelin, of the European Advisory Council of Liberty Global and Chairman of the Public Interest Committee of KPMG Ireland.

He was Chairman of the Board of Ireland’s first national city of culture, Limerick 2014, is a member of the Board of the Third Age Foundation, a charitable organization registered in Ireland and Président of Alliance Française de Dublin.

Cox is the holder of a number of Honorary Doctorates including from Trinity College Dublin, the National University of Ireland, the University of Limerick, the American University Ireland and the Open University.

He was the recipient of the Charlemagne Prize of Aachen in 2004 for his parliamentary leadership on EU enlargement. He is a Commandeur de la Légion d’honneur and has received high national honors from Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Italy and Romania. In 2001 he was recognized as MEP of the Year at a ceremony in Brussels and as Campaigner of the Year in 2003 for his work on the Irish referendum on the Nice Treaty. He was recognized as the European Movement’s Irish European of the year in 2002. In 2003 he was awarded the Polish Business Oscar and in 2004 received the inaugural AmCham EU Transatlantic Business Award.

Cox became President of the Jean Monnet Foundation for Europe in 2015.

Press release of 12 December, 2014 (in French)