Geoffrey Van Orden
|Geoffrey Van Orden
|Member of the European Parliament
for East of England
10 June 1999
|Preceded by||Position established|
10 April 1945 |
Waterlooville, Hampshire, United Kingdom
|Alma mater||Sussex University|
|Years of service||1964–1994|
Geoffrey Charles Van Orden MBE (born 10 April 1945) is a British politician and former soldier. He is currently Member of the European Parliament for the East of England region for the Conservative Party. He was first elected to the European Parliament in 1999.
Van Orden was born in Waterlooville, Hampshire in 1945. He attended the Mons Officer Cadet School and was commissioned into the Intelligence Corps in 1964. He was promoted Lieutenant in 1966, Captain in 1970, Major in 1977, Lieutenant-Colonel in 1983, Colonel in 1988, and Brigadier in 1991. He was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) aged just 27.
He served worldwide as part of the British Army from 1964 to 1985. In 1985 he became an instructor at the German Armed Forces Staff College in Hamburg (1985–88) and was later the Chief of Staff of the British Army in the British sector of Berlin (1988–90). In 1990 he worked as part of the Assessment Staff for the Joint Intelligence Committee in London. From 1991 to 1994 he served as the Executive Secretary of International Military Staff at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, his final military appointment.
In 1995 he was appointed as a senior official in the European Commission for foreign and security policy issues. He held this post until 1999, when he was elected as a Member of the European Parliament for the Conservative Party.
Following his election to the European Parliament, Van Orden became the Conservatives' spokesman for Defence and Security policy. Since 2002 he has been the Vice Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. In addition he is member of the Subcommittee on Security and Defence and the Delegation for relations with Iran in the Seventh European Parliament 1
During the accession of Bulgaria to the European Union, Van Orden was the rapporteur for Bulgaria in the European Parliament, and regularly reported on the progress of the country with regard to EU membership requirements. His final report in November 2006 confirmed Bulgaria's preparedness to join the EU.
According to David Cronin, the Brussels correspondent of the Inter Press Service news agency, Van Orden is "especially close to the arms industry", while the MEP himself states that these “meetings are often not ‘lobbying’ and are frequently at my initiative to explore and understand aspects of policy and encourage British interests”. 2
Van Orden is a eurosceptic. He is opposed to British membership of the euro, the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe and the Treaty of Lisbon. He had long campaigned for the Conservative Party to end their association with the European People's Party in the European Parliament, an aim which was finally achieved in 2009.
Van Orden is married and has three daughters.