|Birth Day:||September 6, 1957|
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He earned his bachelor's degree in 1979 from the Upper Institute of Engineering of Coimbra.
José Sócrates was born in Porto on 6 September 1957, and was registered as a newborn in Vilar de Maçada, Alijó municipality, in northeastern Portugal, since the locality was his family ancestral homeland. However, the young José Sócrates lived throughout his childhood and teen years with his father, a divorced building designer, in the city of Covilhã, Cova da Beira subregion, in central inland Portugal, in the Centro region. His parents are Fernando Pinto de Sousa (Vilar de Maçada, Alijó, 15 November 1926 – Oporto, 18 July 2011) and wife and remote relative Maria Adelaide de Carvalho Monteiro (b. Vilar de Maçada, Alijó, 8 October 1931). He has two younger siblings, António Carvalho Pinto de Sousa, born circa 1962, and Ana Maria Carvalho Pinto de Sousa, died in 1988. He is a descendant of the illegitimate daughter of António José Girão Teixeira Lobo Barbosa (Porto, Sé, 9 January 1715 – Alijó, Vilar de Maçada), Fidalgo of the Royal Household and Knight of the Order of Christ.
José Sócrates studied in Covilhã's basic and secondary schools, until the age of 18. Then, in 1975, he went to Coimbra in order to attend a higher education institution. He earned in 1979 his 4-year bacharelato degree as a civil technical engineer from the Instituto Superior de Engenharia de Coimbra (in 1988 incorporated into the Instituto Politécnico de Coimbra). From 1987 to 1993, he took law classes at Universidade Lusíada, a private university in Lisbon, but failed to graduate. In 1994/95, already a well-known politician, he briefly attended the Instituto Superior de Engenharia de Lisboa where he completed some academic disciplines in order to get a CESE diploma (a complementary diploma to his bacharelato degree because until 1999 the polytechnic institutions did not offer licenciatura degrees), but instead, under circumstances which would provoke a controversy in 2007, he earned in 1996 the licenciatura (licentiate degree) in civil engineering from the Universidade Independente, a private university in Lisbon which was shut down by Portuguese authorities in 2007/2008. He also has an MBA degree awarded in 2005 by ISCTE, a public university institute in Lisbon, that he obtained after had attended successfully the first year of a 2-year master's degree program of ISCTE that he did not complete. After his tenure as Prime Minister of Portugal ended in 2011, Sócrates and his elder son, moved to Paris where Sócrates attended the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (known as SciencesPo). In 2013, SciencesPo awarded him his master's degree in political science. His 2013 book Confiança do Mundo - Sobre a Tortura Em Democracia was based on his masters thesis there; however, there was some dispute as to its authorship.
José Sócrates was one of the founders of JSD (the youth branch of PSD – Portuguese Social Democratic Party) before changing his political affiliation and applying for membership in the PS – Portuguese Socialist Party. He has been a member of the Socialist Party since 1981. José Sócrates served as a technical engineer for the Covilhã City Council, and has been elected a member of the Portuguese Parliament since 1987, representing the Castelo Branco electoral district. While serving as the chairperson of the Castelo Branco Federation of the Socialist Party (1983–1996), he was elected to the Party's National Secretariat in 1991. José Sócrates was ousted by the Board of the Guarda Municipality in 1990 and 1991, after being warned several times because of poor quality of construction projects and lack of monitoring of the construction works. Sócrates was threatened with disciplinary action for wrongdoings in the technical direction of particular works of whose projects he was the author, but despite being ousted from this capacity, he was never penalized. In addition, as a Member of the Parliament, Sócrates was not allowed by law to work as a technical engineer between 1987 and 1991. From 1989 to 1996, he served as a member of the Covilhã Municipal Assembly. He served as spokesperson on environmental affairs for the Socialist Party from 1991 to 1995. In 1995, he entered government as secretary of state for Environment in the first government of António Guterres. Two years later, Sócrates became Minister for Youth and Sports and was one of the organizers of the EURO 2004 cup in Portugal. He became Minister for Environment in Guterres' second government in 1999. Following the elections of 2002 (won by José Manuel Durão Barroso), Sócrates became a member of the opposition in the Portuguese Parliament. Meanwhile, he also had a program of political analysis, hosted jointly with Pedro Santana Lopes on RTP. After the resignation of Ferro Rodrigues as party leader in 2004, he won a bid for the post of secretary-general against Manuel Alegre and João Soares, winning the vote of nearly 80% of party members on 24 September 2004. After the victory of his party in the 2005 Portuguese election, Sócrates was called on 24 February by president Jorge Sampaio to form a new government – the 17th Constitutional Government (after 1976). After the Portuguese legislative election of 2009, held on 27 September 2009, José Sócrates was elected for a second term as Prime Minister of Portugal. He was also a Member of the Portuguese Council of State as the Prime-Minister.
The Eurojust tried to distance itself from the scandal involving its head, José da Mota, a Portuguese, who allegedly put pressure on prosecutors in order to stop a corruption probe involving Portuguese Prime Minister José Sócrates. Two magistrates dealing with the so-called Freeport affair accused José Mota of having tried to persuade them to side-line the investigation at the request of the Portuguese premier and the minister of justice. The premier and Mr Mota's relationship goes back to the late nineties, when they worked in the same government as state secretaries for environment and justice respectively. In 2002, when the new EU body was formed (Eurojust), Mr Mota was transferred to The Hague as Portugal's representative to Eurojust. He was elected head of the judicial co-operation body in 2007, at a time when the so-called Freeport case had already started in Portugal.
After the Portuguese legislative election of 2005, Sócrates was called on 24 February by president Jorge Sampaio to form a new government. Sócrates and his first government (XVII Governo Constitucional) took office on 12 March 2005.
Sócrates headed the government beginning on 12 March 2005, comprising the XVII and XVIII Governos Constitucionais (17th and 18th Constitutional Governments).
The XVII Governo Constitucional government, headed by Prime Minister José Sócrates, tried to create new rules and implement reforms aiming at better efficiency and rationalized resource allocation in the public sector, fighting civil servant overcapacity (excedentários) and reducing bureaucracy for both citizens and companies (e.g.: empresa na hora, PRACE – Programa de Reestruturação da Administração Central do Estado, and SIMPLEX – Programa de Simplificação Administrativa e Legislativa), among others. Since the XVII Governo Constitucional government (with José Sócrates as Prime Minister and Teixeira dos Santos as Minister of Finance) Portugal's fiscal policy improved with a steady increase of the number of taxpayers and the growth of the receipt amount from State taxation. However these policies had little effect, and the country's public debt and deficit were both out of control by 2010, along with a record high unemployment rate. João Bilhim directed in 2005 the committee responsible for the Programme for Restructuring the State's Central Administration (PRACE) but was said to be disappointed with the results. Several reforms and measures implemented in 2006/2007 by the government (XVII Governo Constitucional – headed by Prime Minister José Sócrates), resulted in improved welfare system financial sustainability but reduced income expectations of future pensioners up to 40%. In addition, economically active people must work for more years before retirement than formerly. A sustainability factor was also introduced, giving employees the option of working longer or receiving slightly lower pensions, as life expectancy forecasts increase. After the Portuguese regionalization referendum of 1998 where the "No" to regionalization of the mainland into eight administrative regions was victorious, the XVII Governo Constitucional government announced in January 2009 its firm intention of starting again a regionalization process for Portugal. According to this governmental project, mainland Portugal was to be regionalized into five regions with a wide range of administrative autonomy, using the already established NUTS II system: Alentejo, Algarve, Lisbon and Tagus Valley, Central Portugal and Northern Portugal. The transformation of the Portuguese public administration from a traditional one to an information technology-based multiplatform service, was praised by the European Commission through its European Union benchmark for the sector, that consecutively placed Portugal in the first position of the ranking in 2009 and 2010.
From 2005 to 2010, José Sócrates' cabinet faced increasing challenges due to economic and financial downturn. Portuguese economy was in crisis since 2002 owing to stagnation and high unemployment; in the late 2000s, Europe's sovereign debt crisis led to huge deficits and even higher rampant unemployment in Portugal. International financial markets compelled the Portuguese Government, like other European governments, to make radical changes in economic policy. Thus in September 2010, the Portuguese Government announced a fresh austerity package following other Eurozone partners, aiming to halve its budget deficit by 2011 with a series of tax hikes and salary cuts for public servants. In 2009, the deficit had been 9.4%, one of the highest in the Eurozone and way above the European Union's Stability and Growth Pact 3% limit. The Portuguese Government earlier targeted a 2011 shortfall of 5.1% but a growing crisis sparked by chronic budget expenditure, massive debt and deficit problems, forced Portugal to take even more difficult measures. In September, pressure from the International Monetary Fund, Ecofin, OECD and the main opposition party, forced Sócrates' cabinet to adopt successive packages of radical austerity measures, contrary to what had been promised during the previous electoral campaigns. A report published in January 2011 by the Diário de Notícias, a leading Portuguese newspaper, demonstrated that in the period between the Carnation Revolution in 1974 and 2010, the democratic Portuguese Republic governments have encouraged over expenditure and investment bubbles through unclear public-private partnerships. This has funded numerous ineffective and unnecessary external consultancy and advising committees and firms, allowed considerable slippage in state-managed public works, inflated top management and head officers' bonuses and wages, causing a persistent and lasting recruitment policy that has boosted the number of redundant public servants. The economy has also been damaged by risky credit, public debt creation and mismanaged European structural and cohesion funds for almost four decades. Apparently, the Prime Minister Sócrates's cabinet was not able to forecast or prevent any of this when symptoms first appeared in 2005, and later was incapable of doing anything to ameliorate the situation when the country was on the verge of bankruptcy in 2011.
Since 2005, and, especially again in 2009, it was suggested by some Portuguese and British media that José Sócrates allegedly waived environmental restrictions, following intervention by one of his uncles and a cousin, to grant the British company Freeport a licence to build the Alcochete mall, a gigantic emporium near the Tagus river, developed in part on protected land outside Lisbon in 2002, when he was Minister for Environment of the PM António Guterres cabinet. Portuguese authorities have meanwhile insisted José Sócrates was not under investigation, nor was he a suspect, while UK's Serious Fraud Office refused to confirm the veracity of reports emanating in Portugal. José Sócrates also stated the Freeport project was in due compliance with all legal requirements at the time. Júlio Eduardo Coelho Monteiro, a businessman who is an uncle of José Sócrates, told the Portuguese newspaper Sol how he established contact between his nephew and Freeport's representatives.
The conversation now revealed took place in 2006 with the aim of explaining the large outgoing amounts of money from the company's headquarters in London at the time of approval of the project. According to some sources contacted in London by TVI, José Sócrates remains the main suspect of British police. The British police are now set to send to the Portuguese authorities the 25 volumes of all research done in this process in England. The Serious Fraud Office, which investigates major financial fraud in Britain, has seen its activity limited due to the lack cooperation of the Portuguese authorities in investigating the case. The first official meeting took place only on 17 November 2008 in The Hague, the headquarters of Eurojust, a body which is designed to facilitate judicial cooperation in the EU. The judge Cândida Almeida, director of DCIAP (Central Department for investigation and prosecution), which coordinates the department's prosecutor who investigates the case, refused a joint research proposal by the English. Then have taken note of the DVD. The prosecutor dropped the evidence, arguing that it was not in Portuguese law.
The government allocated more resources for education policy and reorganised the sector aiming more choice and better quality in vocational technical education. Enhanced and improved vocational technical education programs were implemented in 2007 in an effort to revitalize this sector which had been almost discontinued after the Carnation Revolution of 1974. Other education reforms included more financial support for students (in all educational levels), systematic teaching and school evaluation, the compulsory closing of some problematic and unreliable private higher education institutions (like the Independente University and Moderna University) by the Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education, Mariano Gago, and a will to rank and benchmark the higher education institutions through a newly created state-run agency (the Agência de Acreditação e Avaliação do Ensino Superior). During the XVII Governo Constitucional, the pan-European Bologna Process was fully implemented in Portugal.
In 2007, the XVII Governo Constitucional, headed by Prime Minister José Sócrates, legalised abortion in Portugal after a referendum. Voters were being asked to decide whether to make abortion legal in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, if carried out at the woman's request in a registered clinic. Despite the turnout for a referendum being too low (40%; 50% needed) to be legally binding, José Sócrates said: "Our interest is to fight clandestine abortion and we have to produce a law that respects the result of the referendum." This socialist government cabinet also announced its intention to legalize same-sex marriage at some point during its mandate. Same-sex marriage in Portugal was legalized on 17 May 2010.
In March 2007, Universidade Independente (UnI), a private university in Lisbon, was placed under investigation for alleged irregularities on several matters.
Some Portuguese news media professionals stated that Sócrates or members of his staff, through phone calls, threatened court action against journalists and tried to stop the reportings on his licenciatura degree awarded by UnI. On 9 April 2007, Universidade Independente was closed by government officials after an investigation reported several serious irregularities in the running of this private university.
State authorities investigated the affair and archived the file on the grounds that the suspicions of falsification and irregularities allegedly attributed to José Sócrates turned out to be formally impossible to prove. On the other hand, the Universidade Independente was investigated by education state authorities, which resulted in the compulsory closing of that private university in October 2007, due to lack of academic rigour and teaching quality, along with generalized managerial and financial chaos in the institution.
José Sócrates had photos of himself taken during his morning jog at places like the Red Square in Moscow, Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana, Luanda, and Lisbon. In January 2008, a smoking ban came into force in Portugal's public buildings and on public transport, but Sócrates was reported to have been smoking in May during a private state flight to Venezuela where he met Hugo Chávez. He has since admitted it was a mistake, apologized and promised to quit smoking. In addition, he claimed he was not aware he was breaking the law when he did so. However, by 2012, after he had left the spotlight, the Portuguese newspaper Diário de Notícias reported he was no longer a non-smoker.
Prime Minister José Sócrates and his government team supported the decision of building new transportation infrastructure such as a new airport for Lisbon and a high speed rail network. For months the government of Prime Minister José Sócrates insisted the country's only option for a new airport was in the Ota region north of Lisbon. But a powerful lobby, headed by local business honchos and given the imprimatur of the Portuguese president Aníbal Cavaco Silva, forced Sócrates's Government into reversal, by bringing an alternative site for the new airport – the Portuguese Air Force's shooting range in Alcochete east of Lisbon. A study commissioned by a group of businesspeople said the Alcochete site would save taxpayers as much as €3bn in construction costs, and would have less of an environmental impact. The government argued that Ota was a key piece of its overall transport strategy, which included highspeed rail lines to Spain, but even so recognized that the project wasn't finalized and that a debate on the pros and cons of both sites would be worthwhile. Then the government commissioned a technical study to the state-run civil engineering laboratory (Portuguese: Laboratório Nacional de Engenharia Civil) comparing both locations one to each other. Following the conclusions of that study, on 10 January 2008 the Prime Minister José Sócrates announced the option Alcochete as the most rational choice for a new airport for Lisbon.
José Sócrates, as Prime Minister of Portugal, presided over the rotative Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the period July–December 2007. In this post, Sócrates and his team focused on the EU-Brazil (1st EU-Brazil summit) and EU-African Union (2007 Africa-EU Summit) relations, as well as in the approval of the Treaty of Lisbon. The Portuguese Parliament voted to ratify the Treaty of Lisbon on 23 April 2008. After the Irish referendum on 12 June 2008, Prime Minister José Sócrates said he saw the Irish "No" to the treaty as a "personal defeat" after it was signed by EU leaders in the Portuguese capital. A second referendum was held in Ireland in 2009, and the outcome was the approval of the Treaty of Lisbon by all EU member states, including Ireland.
A low-cost Intel Classmate PC-based netbook for use by children, announced and sponsored by Sócrates' cabinet, named Magalhães (after Fernão de Magalhães), assembled by the Portuguese company J.P. Sá Couto, was at the centre of a controversy on 7 October 2008, when the company was suspected of €5 million worth of tax evasion. J.P. Sá Couto dismissed all the accusations regarding alleged fiscal fraud within the company. Other major controversy regarding Magalhães computer were the legal issues about public contracting procedure in the agreement involving the Government and the company J.P. Sá Couto. The case led to an investigation that raised other similar issues involving other governmental agreements and public contracts.
After the Portuguese legislative election of 2009, held on 27 September 2009, José Sócrates was elected for a second term as Prime Minister of Portugal. The new government was sworn into office on 26 October 2009.
One of the government's main policies was the Plano Tecnológico (Technological Plan), aimed at increasing Portugal's competitivity through the modernization of its economy. The plan consisted of three key areas: knowledge, technology and innovation. A low-cost Intel-based netbook for use by children announced by Sócrates's government cabinet, named Magalhães (after Fernão de Magalhães) and packaged and assembled for the Portuguese school-age children and the low-to-middle income economy export market by the Portuguese company J.P. Sá Couto, headquartered in Matosinhos, Norte region, was among the government's innovations under the Technological Plan. Governmental efforts in the technological domain also included state support of a Portuguese factory that was owned by the German-based semiconductor company Qimonda AG, in Vila do Conde, Norte region, when the parent company filed a bankruptcy petition with the local court in Munich, Germany, in early 2009. Qimonda Portugal was at the time one of the top Portuguese net exporters of technology.
Also, in 2009, through the Decree-Law 91/2009, the rights of fathers and mothers were equalled under the law (see also Fathers' rights).
After a sharp increase of the violent crime rate in Portugal during the XVII Governo Constitucional government (2005–2009), the Minister of Internal Administration Rui Pereira announced in February 2009 the expansion of the police force through the recruitment of 2,000 new police officers, 7,000 new state-of-the-art police weapons, 1,000 bulletproof vests, among other measures.
In a DVD held by the British police and released in March 2009 by the Portuguese media, Charles Smith, a consultant hired to handle the licensing of the Freeport of Alcochete, clearly stated that José Sócrates "was corrupt" and that he received, through a cousin, money to give the green light to the project for the "outlet". The recording revealed by TVI is only part of a conversation of 20 minutes that alongside Charles Smith also included John Cabral, an official of the consultant, and Alan Perkins, director of Freeport. It was the latter who, without knowledge of the other two, has recorded the event, where Smith and Cabral were questioned about the money that left the company to be used for the payment of "gloves" to the current Prime Minister. Charles Smith is one of two defendants in the case Freeport, commercial space on the process of Freeport Alcochete, related to alleged suspicions of corruption in the amendment to the Special Protection Area of the Tagus estuary (ZPET) decided three days before the elections of 2002, through a decree-law, when José Sócrates was Minister of Environment.
Another corruption case involving Sócrates was the Face Oculta scandal. On 28 October 2009 the police began investigating a business group headquartered in Ovar. Armando Vara, one of the suspects, was reported to have had "talks" with Sócrates. Sócrates denied any involvement, claiming that he was only talking to a friend.
Until 2010, for stock held for more than twelve months the capital gain was exempt. The capital gain of stock held for shorter periods of time was taxable on 10%. From 2010 onwards, for residents, all capital gain of stock and other assets above €500 is taxable on 20%. Investment funds, banks and corporations are in general exempted of capital gain tax over stock.
On 5 June 2011, after the Portuguese legislative election of 2011, the victory of Social Democratic Party (Portuguese: Partido Social Democrata) led by Pedro Passos Coelho, forced his resignation as Secretary-General of the Socialist Party.
On 6 April 2011, having already resigned as Prime Minister, Sócrates went on television to announce that Portugal, facing bankruptcy, would request financial assistance from the IMF (at the time managed by Dominique Strauss-Kahn) and the European Financial Stability Facility, as Greece and the Republic of Ireland had already done. The announcement was made 48 hours after Sócrates had categorically denied the move would be needed.
On 23 March 2011, Sócrates resigned following passage of a no confidence motion sponsored by all five opposition parties in parliament over spending cuts and tax increases. Before the vote, Sócrates had stated that he would resign if the vote for further austerity measures didn't pass. As a result, a general election was held on 5 June 2011.
After losing the Portuguese legislative election of 2011, held on 5 June 2011, he resigned from Secretary-General of the Socialist Party.
In February 2011 the company TMN, that belongs to Portugal Telecom, claimed that, because of an informatics-related problem, all the information and data about the case and related to Armando Vara (ex-vice-president of BCP), Rui Pedro Soares (ex-manager of PT), Mário Lino (ex-minister) and Paulo Penedos (ex-assistant of PT) had disappeared. David Dinis, editor of the Diário de Notícias newspaper, quit his job because of pressure from the director, João Marcelino, to stop this information being spread by the press.
On 22 May 2012, Alan Perkins, a Freeport manager between 2005 and 2006, said, under oath in court, that illegal payments had been made to the minister of the Environment. At the time, the minister of the Environment was José Sócrates.
In November 2014, José Socrates was arrested on suspicions of corruption and money-laundering, it having become apparent that a close friend was holding millions of euros for his benefit. Socrates claimed that he merely borrowed money from his friend, but there were no records of the amounts loaned, which admittedly funded a luxurious lifestyle in Paris after Socrates left the government. This came to light during the government's Operation Marquis investigation. He was originally held pending the conclusion of this investigation. Socrates was imprisoned in the jail at Évora until September 2015 when he was remanded to house arrest at a relative's house in Lisbon. He was freed from house arrest in October 2015, but was constrained to remain in Portugal and prohibited from contacting other suspects in the case, pending completion of the investigation. In 2017, Socrates was formally indicted on corruption charges including bribery, money laundering and tax fraud.
Currently, Jose Socrates is 64 years, 1 months and 16 days old. Jose Socrates will celebrate 65th birthday on a Tuesday 6th of September 2022.
Find out about Jose Socrates birthday activities in timeline view here.