Íñigo Méndez de Vigo y Montojo, 9th Baron of Claret (born 21 January 1956 at Tetuan, Morocco) is a Spanish politician and the current Minister of Education, Culture and Sport in the Spanish Government since 26 June 2015. He is also the Spokesperson of the Spanish Government since 4 November 2016.
Méndez de Vigo was born on 21 January 1956 in Tetuan (Morocco), then a Spanish Protectorate, where his father was serving as a Lieutenant in the Infantry. He is descended, amongst others, from the Marquesses of Cubas, the Dukes of Riánsares and María Cristina de Borbón, princesa de las Dos Sicilias, and via his maternal grandmother, the novelist Carmen de Icaza, he succeeded, in 1980, to her title as 9th Baron de Claret.
Méndez de Vigo has a brother, Pedro, an army officer, and two sisters, Beatriz and Valeria, one who works for Spain’s ministry of defence, and the other for a non-governmental organisation.
He completed his schooling at the German School in Madrid, as well as studying French language at the Académie française and learning English at the British Institute School. He graduated in Law from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid in 1978.
Following the completion of his military service with the rank of lieutenant and after passing the public exams, he became legal advisor to the Cortes Generales in 1981.
In 1982, at the age of 26, Méndez de Vigo was appointed director of interparliamentary relations for the Cortes Generales. In 1984 he accepted the position of special advisor to then-secretary general of the Council of Europe, Marcelino Oreja.
He joined the People's Party at its founding Conference in 1989, and stood unsuccessfully in that year as one of its candidates at the European election.
In October 1992 he was elected a Member of the European Parliament, a position he held until December 2011. He also served as a Member of the People's Party's National Steering Committee.
Méndez de Vigo served as the European People's Party co-ordinator on the Committee on Constitutional Affairs from 1994 and on its Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (2009-2011), as well as:Chairman of the EP Delegation to the Convention drafting the Charter of Fundamental Rights (1999–2000);
Chairman of the EP Delegation to the European Convention (2003–04);
EP representative to the IGC (2004);
Parliament's rapporteur (with Richard Corbett MEP) on the Treaty establishing a European Constitution (2004);
Parliament's rapporteur (with Richard Corbett MEP) on the Treaty of Lisbon.
Between 2006 and 2007, Méndez de Vigo served as member of the Amato Group, a group of high-level European politicians unofficially working on rewriting the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe into what became known as the Treaty of Lisbon following its rejection by French and Dutch voters. In 2009 he was appointed President of the College of Europe.
After his appointment to the Spanish Government in December 2011 by Mariano Rajoy Brey, Méndez de Vigo served as Secretary of State for the European Union. In June 2015 he was appointed Minister of Education, Culture and Sport in replacement of José Ignacio Wert. In November 2016, in the Second Rajoy Government, he was also appointed Spokesperson of the Government.Lecturer in Constitutional Law (UCM, 1981–1984)
Lecturer in Community Law (1989–1991)
Jean Monnet Chair in European Institutions (UCM, 1999–2004)
Honorary Jean Monnet Chair (2004)
ELCANO – Royal Institute for International and Strategic Studies, Member of the Board of Trustees
European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), Member
Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Chairman of the Board of Trustees
Museo Picasso Málaga, Honorary Member of the Board of Trustees
Universal Forum of Cultures, Honorary Member of the Board of Trustees
Méndez de Vigo has written numerous books and articles on Europe:Una Reforma Fiscal para España, with José Manuel García-Margallo (Ed. Lid, 1996)
Financiación de las Comunidades Autónomas y Corresponsabilidad Fiscal, with José Manuel García-Margallo and Vicente Martínez-Pujalte (Fundación Bancaixa, 1996)
La Apuesta Europea: de la moneda a la Unión Política, with José Manuel García-Margallo (Ed. Política Exterior, 1998)
Europa paso a paso (2002)
El rompecabezas. Así redactamos la Constitución europea (Ed. Biblioteca Nueva and Real Instituto Elcano, 2005)
¿Por qué una Constitución para Europa? 25 respuestas, with Marcelino Oreja and Juan Antonio Carrillo Salcedo (Ed. Real Academia de Ciencias Morales y Políticas, 2005)
Alegato por Europa (Ed. Biblioteca nueva, 2006)
Coordinator: ¿Qué fue de la Constitución europea? (Ed. Planeta, 2007)
Editor: Liber Amicorum Marcelino Oreja Aguirre (Ed. Cinterco, 2010)
Méndez de Vigo also writes for ABC, and is an online contributor for El Economista.2001: Grand Cross of the Order of Civil Merit of Spain
2008: Grand Officer of the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity
2010: Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
2011: Knight of the Legion of Honour of the French Republic
2011: Medal of the Spanish Order of Constitutional Merit
1999: Salvador de Madariaga European Journalism Prize
2001: Silver Medal of the Royal Institute of European Studies
2002: Medal of Honour of the Sociedad General de Autores y Editores
2002: Gold Medal of the Foundation of European Merit
2003: Prize to the MEP of the year by the Association of Parliamentary Journalists
2007: Gold Medal of the Committees of Action for European Union
2009: Prix Capalbio - European Special Award