Viñas, Angel

1941 (Madrid [Spain])
Historical Notes

Angel Viñas began University in Hamburg studying German Language and Literature but soon switched to Political Economy. He subsequently attended the Free University of Berlin and Glasgow University. He graduated with first class honours from the Complutense University of Madrid in 1966. He also won the National Prize for the best academic curriculum.
He entered the Spanish economic foreign service in 1968. After a brief spell in the International Monetary Fund, he worked in the Spanish Embassy in Bonn in 1971 as Commercial Counsellor and from 1973 to 1977 he was advisor at the Ministry of Finance. He wrote his doctoral thesis on the origins of Hitler´s intervention in Spain for which he obtained first class honours in 1973 and a "prix extraordinaire" in 1974.
He won a chair in Political Economy at the University of Valencia in 1975 and embarked on research into the Republican financing of the Civil War. His second book, “El oro español en la guerra civil” (Instituto de Estudios Fiscales, 1976), was withdrawn by the Government before distribution, but released in 1977 following the first democratic elections in Spain since 1936. Between 1977 and 1982 Professor Viñas held chairs at the University of Alcala and the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED). He was the first author to obtain unrestricted access to the ministerial archives of the Francoist years. In 1981 he worked at the Ministry of Eduction as Assistant Secretary for University Policy and in 1982 at the Ministry for Economics as advisor.
In 1983 Professor Viñas won a chair at the Complutense University and was appointed an executive advisor to the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs with responsibility for the NATO dossier and for the creation of a policy planning staff. After the NATO referendum in 1986 he was asked to devise ways and means to promote the intensification of relations between the European Community and Latin America. In 1987 he moved to the European Commission as a Director for Relations with Latin America and Asia. In 1991 he became head of the Commission Delegation to the United Nations. On his return to Brussels in 1997 he was given the post of Director for Multilateral Political Relations and Human Rights and assistance to democratisation. He left the Commission in 2001 and rejoined the Complutense University and later on the Spanish economic foreign service. He served as a Counsellor for Economy and Trade at the Spanish Permanent Representation to the European Union until August 2007 when he retired.
During this period he published numerous Works on his areas of interest, as well as an account of his work at the Commission, giving an insider´s view of the resignation of the Commission of Jacques Santer. He also started a three-part study of the external constraints of the Spanish Republic at war.
Professor Viñas has contributed to one hundred books and published some 120 academic articles reflecting his various interests. He is married to former British diplomat Helen Boreland-Viñas and has two children.

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