Geoffrey Van Orden
Geoffrey Van Orden has been Conservative MEP for the East of England since 1999. He is the Conservative Defence & Security Spokesman in the European Parliament. He previously had a wide-ranging career as a British Army officer, was commissioned into the Intelligence Corps in 1964 and carried out operational duties in many parts of the world starting in Borneo in 1965. His last appointment was at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, from 1991 to 1994. His specialisation in counter-terrorism, which he continues from a political standpoint, began during his years in Northern Ireland in the early 1970s.
While seeking a parliamentary seat, he was a senior official in the European Commission (External Relations) dealing with foreign policy, security and defence issues. This included delivering counter-terrorist assistance to Arafat’s Palestine Authority in 1996 and establishing the Commission as the leading provider of assistance for anti-personnel landmine action, including support for landmine victims.
He is a former Vice Chairman and now member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, and of its Defence & Security sub-committee as well as its Delegations to Turkey and to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. He is Chairman of the Delegation for Relations with India.
He is strongly against European political integration and has led opposition to EU defence policy, which he believes detrimental to NATO. He spearheaded the Parliament’s action against the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe and supported the growth of democracy in Myanmar. He was the Parliament’s rapporteur for Bulgaria until its EU accession in 2007. As part of his defence and security brief he also takes a close interest in defence industries and issues of energy security.He was instrumental in the creation of, and now Vice Chairman of, the European Conservatives and Reformists political group, the third largest of 8 groups in the European Parliament with 75 MEPs from 17 nations. He is Founding President of the think-tank, New Direction- The Foundation for European Reform.