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Brussels, 3 June 2009

Jo ã o Vale de Almeida appointed Director-General for External Relations

Today the European Commission appointed Mr Jo ão Vale de Almeida as Director-General of the Directorate-General for External Relations (DG RELEX).

In his new role, Mr Vale de Almeida will be responsible for overall management of the External Relations DG. He will lead the DG in its work of formulating an effective external relations policy for the European Union, maintaining relations with international organizations, and managing the European Neighbourhood Policy, including through its network of more than 120 delegations abroad.

Mr Vale de Almeida, a 52-year-old Portuguese Commission senior official, is since November 2004 the head of President José Manuel Barroso's cabinet. He is also President Barroso's permanent personal representative (or "sherpa") to the G8 and to the G20. Prior to the Barroso Commission taking office, he was in charge of Mr Barroso's transition team since August 2004. During the mandate of this Commission, Mr Vale de Almeida also chaired the Steering Committee of the Group of External Relations Commissioners.

João Vale de Almeida started working at the European Commission in 1982 at the representation in Lisbon and became a member of the Spokesperson's Service in Brussels in 1989, under the authority of President Jacques Delors, as spokesman for inter alia energy policy and for external relations with the Middle East, the Mediterranean, Latin America and Asia.

From 1992 to 1994 he was head of unit at the Economic and Social Committee of the

European Communities. Between 1995 and 1997 he was Deputy Chief Spokesman of the Commission, under the authority of President Jacques Santer, in charge of coordinating official positions on the EU’s external relations, among other issues.

In 1998, he was appointed director in the Directorate General for Information, Communication, Culture and Audiovisual. In this capacity, he was in charge of Commission representations in the Member States and information towards non-EU countries. From May 2000 to July 2004, Mr Vale de Almeida was a director in the Directorate-General for Education and Culture. He has held several horizontal responsibilities inside the Commission services.

João Vale de Almeida has a degree in history from the University of Lisbon, and followed journalism training in France, the USA and Japan. He has also attended management schools in the UK and France.

The present Director General of the Directorate-General for External Relations, Mr Eneko Landaburu, will take up his new duties in the coming months.

The exact date at which Mr Vale de Almeida will take up his new duties will be fixed at a later stage.

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