João Vale de Almeida Biography

Ambassador Joao Vale de Almeida

Ambassador of the European Union to the United States of America

Ambassador João Vale de Almeida is the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United States.  He presented his credentials to President Obama on August 10, 2010.

Prior to his appointment in Washington as the European Union’s Ambassador, he served as the Director General for External Relations at the European Commission, the European Union’s executive body. As the most senior official under the authority of the High Representative/Vice-President Baroness Ashton, he helped formulate and execute the EU’s foreign policy and played a key role in preparing for the new European External Action Service (EEAS) introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon.

From 2004 to 2009 Amb. Vale de Almeida was the Head of Cabinet (Chief of staff and main adviser) for European Commission President José Manuel Barroso. He accompanied President Barroso in all European Council (EU Summit) meetings and ensured coordination with the private offices of Heads of State and Governments in all 28 Member States of the EU. Amb. Vale de Almeida was also the President’s Personal Representative for the negotiations on the Treaty of Lisbon.

He also acted as the EU “Sherpa” for G8 and G20 Summits. In this capacity he attended annual G8 Summits in Gleneagles, UK; St Petersburg, RU; Heiligendamm, DE; Toyako-Hokkaido, JP; L’Aquila, IT; and Muskoka, CA between 2005 and 2010. He accompanied President Barroso in the launching of G20 Summits in late 2008 in Washington and in subsequent meetings in London, Pittsburgh and Toronto in 2009 and 2010.  He also attended Summit meetings with EU’s strategic partners around the world.

Earlier in his career in the European institutions, Amb. Vale de Almeida held several senior positions in the European Commission and the Economic and Social Committee and worked closely in different capacities with and under the authority of former Commission Presidents Jacques Delors, Jacques Santer and Romano Prodi.

Immediately before joining President Barroso’s team in 2004, Amb. Vale de Almeida held a senior position in the Directorate General for Education and Culture after serving as Deputy Chief Spokesman of the European Commission.

Amb. Vale de Almeida joined the European Commission in 1982 at its Delegation in Lisbon, after spending seven years as a journalist. He holds a degree in History from the University of Lisbon and has studied and received training in journalism and management in the United States, France, Japan, and the United Kingdom. Amb. Vale de Almeida was decorated by the President of the Republic of Portugal with the ‘Grã-Cruz da Ordem do Infante D. Henrique’ (Grand Cross of the Order of the Infante D. Henrique) in 2011.

Amb. Vale de Almeida is Portuguese, born in Lisbon in 1957. He is married and has two children.