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Antonio López-Istúriz White

Antonio López-Istúriz White
Born on April 1, 1970, Antonio López-Istúriz White a Spanish politician and member of the European Parliament.

Born to a Spanish father of Basque noble origin, whose ancestors were important political figures in 1800 century Spain and an American mother, his family moved to the Palma de Mallorca when he was young. He studied law in Madrid, and became involved in Nuevas Generaciones, the youth organization of the Partido Popular (PP). 

White briefly worked for the PP, before moving to Brussels as an assistant for the PP’s delegation from 1997 to 1999, overlapping with the presidency of the European Parliament of José María Gil-Robles y Gil-Delgado. He was subsequently called back and became the personal assistant to Jose Aznar from 1999–2002 in the lead-up to the Iraq War. White was appointed as secretary general of the European People's Party (EPP) in March of 2002, replacing Jose Aznar’s son-in-law, Alejandro Agag, and in October of that year, he was also made secretary general of the Christian Democrat International with Aznar’s support. Finally, in 2004, he was elected to the European Parliament being placed 16 on the PP’s list, with the party obtaining 24 mandates. He would also become Secretary and Treasurer of the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies in 2007, the main think tank of the EPP. Given his positions in the party, White likely played a key role in building the contacts of the PP abroad, particularly in the United States. 

His leadership of the EPP was marked by support for further European integration, which resulted in the Eurosceptic faction of the EPP breaking off to form the European Reform Movement. This would later form the basis for the European Conservatives and Reformists group in the European Parliament. White was hosted by the International Republican Institute in 2007 , an organization chaired by John McCain as part of the European Partnership Initiative Through this partnership, he would build connections with the South Florida congressional delegation and the Populares would partner with the IRI in “democracy promotion” in South America. Additionally, it helped deepen links between the Populares and the Miami exile community. White would later go on to attend the Republican convention in 2008, and would back McCain during the 2008 Presidential Election. He would also go on to develop a relationship with AIPAC, speaking at their conference in 2013 and consistently advocating for Israel in the European Parliament. Given his strong Atlanticist stance, he would also develop contacts with American Democrats, meeting with the then chair of the DNC, and Barack Obama’s campaign manager ahead of the 2012 elections. And after Donald Trump became the Republican candidate, White would attempt to distance himself and Populares from Republicans, supporting Hillary Clinton during the election. His party would even go on to hire Obama’s former campaign manager to support their campaign during the 2016 Spanish general elections. But ultimately, despite his hopes, Donald Trump would go on to win the electoral college and become president of the United States. 

Trump's victory in the 2016 elections marked the slow slide towards irrelevance for White. He had built his brand on center-right Atlanticism, and he was faced with a Republican Party that was rapidly moving to right-wing populism, and a Democratic Party being slowly dragged to the left by activists. He has visited the United States several times, but has been unable to meet with anybody influential in the Republican or Democratic parties since 2018. Similarly, although he has signed on to various statements in support of the Bolivia coup, and continues to advocate for a hard anti-communist line in Latin America, given the rise of the Foro Madrid and the radicalization of the South American right, he has lost most of the influence he had in the region. 

He advocated against cooperation between the EPP and far-right parties, which led to his being removed as the secretary general of the EPP in 2022. However, during the 2019 parliamentary term, he shifted his focus towards the Middle East, being chosen as President of the Delegation for Relations with Israel. He has been a strong defender of the Netanyahu government, meeting with right-wing Israeli NGOs, and advocating against the labeling of goods from the settlements. 

White has taken frequent paid trips sponsored by the UAE government, becoming chair of the Friendship Committee with the country and frequently defending its human rights record. Additionally, he has met with the head of the MEK cult , an Iranian opposition group favored by the gulf states. Although it seems unlikely that White will return for another term in European Parliament in 2024, he had consistently been a major contributor.