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Benita Ferrero-Waldner

Benita Ferrero-Waldner (born September 5, 1948) is an Austrian diplomat and politician. She is a member of the conservative Austrian People's Party (ÖVP).


Born Benita Waldner in Salzburg, she took her Matura exams in 1966 and then studied law, receiving a doctorate from the University of Salzburg in 1970. Until 1983 she worked in the private sector. Only in 1984 did she enter the diplomatic service. One of her most influential positions was Chef de protocole for Secretary General Boutros-Ghali at the United Nations in New York.

From 1995 till 2000 she served as Staatssekretärin in two governments led by Social Democrats Franz Vranitzky and Viktor Klima. When Wolfgang Schüssel became Chancellor of Austria early in 2000 he made Ferrero-Waldner his Minister for Foreign Affairs, a position she held until October 2004, when she was succeeded by Ursula Plassnik.

After the G8-Summit in Genova (July 2001) Ferrero-Waldner was criticized because she did not help the imprisoned members of the Publixtheatre Caravan.

In January 2004 it was announced that Ferrero-Waldner would run for Federal President to succeed Thomas Klestil in July 2004. Her candidature was supported by the Austrian People's Party; her only opponent was Heinz Fischer. However, she lost the election on April 25.

In late July 2004 Ferrero-Waldner was nominated the successor of Franz Fischler as Austria's European Commissioner. She took office on November 22. Her portfolio is External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy.

Private life

From 1974 till 1983 Waldner was married to Wolfgang Sterr, a Bavarian high school teacher. They got a divorce, and in 1993 Waldner married Francisco Ferrero Campos, who teaches Spanish and Latin American literature at the University of Vienna. In December 2003, Ferrero-Waldner married her husband again in church, after her previous marriage had finally been annulled. Although the wedding took place in a very private ceremony, the news was immediately leaked to the press. This, some of Ferrero-Waldner's critics claim, was done on purpose to attract potential voters (the Austrian Federal President is elected by the people), as Austria is still a predominantly Catholic country rooted in tradition. The couple does not have any children.

Ferrero-Waldner's determinedly friendly smile has earned her the nickname Ferrero-Küsschen ("Ferrero Kiss"), after a sweet similar to Ferrero Rocher, produced by Ferrero for the German, Swiss and Austrian markets.

External link

  • (in German)

|- | width="30%" align="center" | Preceded by:
Wolfgang Schüssel | width="40%" align="center" | Foreign Minister of Austria
2000–2004 | width="30%" align="center" | Succeeded by:
Ursula Plassnik |- |}

Last updated: 08-29-2005 14:24:06
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