Benita Ferrero-Waldner is an Austrian diplomat, politician, and a member of the conservative Austrian People's Party (ÖVP). Ferrero-Waldner served as the Foreign Minister of Austria and was the candidate of the Austrian People's Party in Austrian presidential election, 2004. She served as the European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, and as the European Commissioner for Trade and European Neighbourhood Policy between 2004-2010. From 2011-2016 she was the President of the European Union-Latin America and Caribbean Foundation (EU-LAC Foundation), which aims at transforming the strategic partnership between the EU, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Benita was born in Salzburg, Austria, and received a doctorate in law from the University of Salzburg. She began her diplomatic career working in the private sectorand later entered the diplomatic service.
She served as Chief of Protocol for the then UN secretary-general Boutros Ghali in New York. From 1995 until 2000 she was state secretary in two Austrian governments led by chancellors Franz Vranitzky and Viktor Klima (both SPÖ). When Wolfgang Schüssel (ÖVP) became chancellor of Austria in 2000 he made Dr. Ferrero-Waldner Minister of Foreign Affairs, a position she held until October 2004. In April 2004, Dr. Ferrero-Waldner was the ÖVP candidate for the presidency of the Austrian Republic, which she narrowly lost with 47.6% of the votes.In November 2004, she took office as the Austrian member of the European Commission, in charge of foreign relations.
Today, in addition to being President of the Spanish Foundation Euroamerica, she is member of the Board of Directors of various foundations: Fundación Princesa de Girona, Fundación Bertelsmann, Fundación Novia Salcedo and enterprises: Munich Re, Cremades& Calvo Sotelo Abogados and President of the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons (UNVTF). She has received numerous decorations from countries around the world including the 2010 Grand Decoration of Honour in Gold with Sash for Services to the Republic of Austria.