Former Secretary-Generals

Fonds of the General-Secretariat of the European Parliament

The Archives are home to the working documents of seven Secretary-Generals of the European Parliament. Over 1,860 files dating from 1952 to the present are kept in the Archives, with part of the documents of four former Cabinets of the Secretary-Generals still under treatment. Containing files from the highest-ranked bureaucratic official of the Parliament and their Cabinets, the Fonds offer a unique insight into the life and workings of the Parliament.   

What is the General-Secretariat?

The European Parliament has had a Secretary-General since the beginning of its existence. They are the European Parliament's most senior official, heading the Parliament's Secretariat under the political authority of the President, the Bureau and the Conference of Presidents. They are elected by the Bureau: under Article 45 of the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly, which was voted on in 1952, “the Assembly shall be assisted by a secretary appointed by the Bureau. That secretary shall head a secretariat, the composition and appointment of which shall be decided by the Bureau.”

In carrying out their duties, they are supported by highly qualified members of staff from Parliament's administration, known as the Cabinet. The Cabinet has two main functions. Firstly, they provide logistical support needed by the Secretary so that decisions are relevant and that he is able to give well-founded advice to the President and the Bureau. Secondly, they act as an intermediary between the Secretary, the Directorate Generals, and the Services. 

To find out more about their role and responsibilities, click here

The Organisation of the Archives

The documents belonging to each Cabinet have been organised by subject in order to highlight the main issues dealt with by the Secretary-Generals during their term of office. The content of the series highlights their activities, focusing on resource management and relations with other management bodies and Directorates-General. In this regard, the documents which deal with all aspects of staff management, budget management and buildings policy are particularly relevant. 

The General-Secretariat relies on the Directorates-General, which are broadly directly linked to parliamentary activities and assist Parliament’s governing bodies though the structure has evolved over time to become more complex. The documents in these sets are diverse in content and come from different departments and secretariats, including:

  • Directorate-General for the Presidency
  • Legal Service
  • Directorate-General for Personnel
  • Deputy Secretariat-General
  • Directorate-General for Studies
  • Directorate-General for Buildings Policy
  • Directorate-General for Information
  • Parliament Information Offices in several countries. 

It should be noted that the basic units for the work of the parliamentary committees, which are therefore directly involved in the creation and receipt of documents, are the committee secretariats composed of the necessary support staff and which are placed in the European Parliament’s administration at the beginning in the Directorate-General for Committees and Delegations, after the Directorate-General for Internal Policies and Directorate-General for External Policies.

Secretary-General Frits de Neree tot Babberich

Frits de Nerée tot Babberich

Secretary-General from 1952 to 1960

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Secretary-General Hans Nord

Hans Nord

Secretary-General from 1961 to 1979

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Secretary-General Hans Joachim Opitz

Hans-Joachim Opitz

Secretary-General from 1979 to 1986

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Secretary-General Enrico Vinci

Enrico Vinci

Secretary-General from 1986 to 1997

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Secretary-General Julian Priestley

Julian Priestley

Secretary-General from 1997 to 2007

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Secretary-General Harald Rømer

Harald Rømer

Secretary-General from 2007 to 2009

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Secretary-General Klaus Welle

Klaus Welle

Secretary-General from 2009 to 2022

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Secretary-General Alessandro Chiocchetti

Alessandro Chiocchetti

Secretary-General since 2023

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