The European Parliament’s second female President was a persuasive politician and devoted champion of Europe who oversaw the adoption of the euro. Nicole Fontaine, who was President from 1999-2002, set about reforming the European Parliament’s working methods to bring it closer to EU citizens.
Life and times
From the start of her parliamentary career in her native France, Nicole Fontaine worked to bring about a citizens’ Europe, focusing on projects concerning youth education and the mutual recognition of academic qualifications across the EU, as well as women’s rights and gender equality.
She served twice as Vice-President of the European Parliament, from 1989 to 1994 and from 1994 to 1999. She brokered agreements between the European Parliament and the Member States on key legislation, including two EU youth programmes (Socrates and Youth for Europe).
A vision for Europe
In October 1999, in her maiden speech to the European Council in Tampere, Finland, she underlined that it was important to take account of people’s day-to-day concerns. She argued for an ‘ambitious approach aimed at providing the Union with a charter of fundamental rights’. In December 2000, she signed the Charter of Fundamental Rights on behalf of the European Parliament.
Nicole Fontaine’s career highlights in the European Parliament
More about Nicole Fontaine’s life, work and contribution to the European project