On 6 June, Luis Planas was invited by the Spanish president, Pedro Sanchez, to join his government as minister for agriculture, fisheries and food. With 35 years of experience in European affairs, having served as diplomat, senior Commission official and MEP, and as an advocate of a strong, united and solidarity-based European Union, he has played a prominent role in the development of the EU institutions over the years. A champion of the European cause, in his view there is no alternative to the EU.
Mr Planas had been secretary-general of the European Economic and Social Committee since 20 January 2014. He always highlighted the importance of the EESC, which for him represented
the 'human face' of Europe and a unique forum serving as a bridge between civil society and the European institutions.
Luca Jahier, president of the EESC, had this to say about him:
Luis Planas is a staunch European and will continue to help build a Europe that reflects the aspirations of its citizens. It has been an honour to work with him and I have no doubt that his knowledge of how Europe operates will be an asset to Spain in the European Union.
Isabel Caño, vice-president for communication at the EESC, was sure that having served as secretary-general of the EESC, Luis Planas would continue to bring added value to the European project, thanks to his full awareness of the importance of civil society and the culture of dialogue in today's Europe.
Originally from Valencia, in Spain, Luis Planas is a committed European and played an active part in bringing about Spain's membership of the European Union in his capacity as a member of the Spanish negotiating team. As an MP in the Spanish Congress, he was spokesperson on European affairs and rapporteur for the ratification of Spain's accession treaty to the EU. From 1986 to 1993 he continued to play an active role in European affairs following his election as a Member of the European Parliament, where he sat on the Committees on Foreign Affairs and on Institutional Affairs.
He went on to become head of cabinet first for Manuel Marin, vice-president of the European Commission, and subsequently for Pedro Solbes, Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs . In 2004 he was appointed Spanish ambassador to Morocco, and in 2010 Spanish ambassador and permanent representative to the European Union.
In 2012 he was appointed regional minister for agriculture, fisheries and the environment in Andalucía. He was appointed secretary-general of the EESC in 2014. He is, in addition, a humanist and a connoisseur of literature, poetry and music. (eh)