Pat Cox served as President of the European Parliament from January 2002 until July 2004. During his Presidency he campaigned ceaselessly throughout Europe to promote the enlargement of the European Union, including vigorous campaigning in the Irish referendum on the Nice Treaty and the subsequent accession referenda throughout Central and Eastern Europe.
As President he made over two hundred visits to thirty-three states including all of the states of today’s and tomorrow’s European Union. He addressed twenty-four plenary sessions in national parliaments, met with the Speakers and European Committees of all national parliaments in the EU and participated in thirteen European Summit meetings. He was the European Parliament’s senior representative on the Intergovernmental Conference leading to the adoption of the proposed new Constitutional Treaty.
Starting in 1989 Pat Cox was first elected to the European Parliament as a Member for the constituency of Munster in the Republic of Ireland. He was elected three times to Parliament and served, among others, on the Economic and Monetary Affairs, Institutional Affairs and Legal Affairs Committees of the European Parliament.
He was elected President of the European Liberal Democrat Group in 1998 and played a decisive role on the question of parliamentary accountability of the Executive towards the end of the life of the Santer Commission. He was unanimously re-elected as Group President in June 1999 following the elections to the European Parliament.
Between 1986 and 1989 Cox was the founding Secretary General of the Progressive Democrats in Ireland and represented that party in Dail Eireann (Irish Parliament) in the early Nineties as their finance spokesman. Between 1982 and 1986 Pat Cox worked as a television current affairs reporter and presenter. He reported on Irish and international political and economic events, including US presidential elections and United Kingdom and French general elections.
Pat Cox graduated from Trinity College in Dublin in 1974 and went on to become an economics lecturer at the Institute of Public Administration in Dublin and the University of Limerick. During this time he contributed to the first ever undergraduate programme for European studies at an Irish university.