Wilfried Martens (b. 1936) is the President of the European People’s Party (EPP) since 1990 and Vice Chairman (ex officio) of IDU since 2008. He was Prime Minister of Belgium between 1979 and 1992.
Graduating as a Doctor of Law from K.U. Leuven in 1960, Martens worked as a Lawyer at the Court of Appeal, Ghent until in 1965 starting as an Adviser to then Prime Minister P- Harmel (1965) and later Prime Minister P. Vanden Boeynants (1966). In 1968 he was Chargé de mission to Office of minister L. Tindemans (Community Affairs).
Between 1967 and 1971, Martens was President of the CVP Youth Organisation. In 1972 he became the President of the CVP, and held that position until 1979. The same year he was elected Prime Minister of Belgium. Martens functioned as the country’s Prime Minister between 1979 and 1992, interrupted only by an eight-month period in 1981. From 1974 to 1991 he was a CVP Deputy (District Ghent Eeklo) and from 1991 to 1994 he was CVP Senator (Brussels Halle Vilvoorde).
From 1993 to 1996 he was the President of the European Union of Christian Democrats, and from 2000 to 2001 he was President of the Christian Democrat and People’s Parties International (IDC).
He was a co-founder of the European People’s Party (EPP) in 1976, and served initially as President of the “Program Commission” (Working Committee on Policy) from 1976 to 1977. He was the President of the EPP Group in the European Parliament from 1994 to 1999. He was elected President of the EPP on May 10, 1990, and has held this position since.