Paolo De Castro, MEP, expert in agricultural and agri-food systems, is full professor of Economics and Agricultural Policy at the University of Bologna. He was born on February 2, 1958 in San Pietro Vernotico, within the Brindisi district, in the north of Salento district.
In December 1980 he graduated in Agricultural Sciences at the University of Bologna with a thesis in Agricultural Economics. He specialized in Economics of agri-food systems at Washington State University in Pullman, United States.
In 1984 the University of Bologna awarded him the “Luigi Perdisa Prize for progress in agriculture” for particular scientific merits.
He received numerous awards both nationally and internationally. Among others two degrees Honoris Causa - in Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medecine from the University of Cluj- Napoca (RO). the first, and in Nutritional Sciences and Technologies of the University of Basilicata (IT), the second - the “Titulo de Gran Cruz del Orden al Mérito Agrario, Pesquero y Alimentario” received by the King of Spain Juan Carlos I, and more recently the Order of Merit "Guido II degli Aprutini" awarded by the University of Teramo .
He was appointed various positions within numerous scientific bodies, among which President of the Scientific Committee of the Center International de Hautes Etudes Agronomique Méditerranéennes, CIHEAM.
He authored over 150 publications. His most relevant contributions were on food safety issues and the role of international trade in the development of modern society. Among his publications there are books alike "European agriculture and new global challenges" (Donzel li, 2010) then translated into English "The European agriculture and new global challenges" (Donzelli, 2010); "Race to the Earth. Food and agriculture in the era of scarcity" (Donzelli, 2011); "The politics of land and foodscarcity" (Hearthscan Routledge, 2012); Hambre de tierras. Alimentntos y agriculture en la era de la nueva escasez (Eumedia, 2012); "Food. The global challenge" (Donzelli, 2015); "Comida, el desafio global" (Eumedia, 2015).
In the mid-80s he received a call from Romano Prodi, to collaborate with Nomisma. The meetingwith Romano Prodi yielded the co-establishment of the Agri-Food Observatory, now Agri Food Monitor.
However, Paolo De Castro's political career began in 1998 with Massimo D'Alema, then Premier in charge, , as he swore as Minister under Oscar Luigi Scalfaro’s Presidency during the first of its three mandates in eight years. Thereafter he was appointed twice at the head of the Department of Agriculture, first in the second D'Alema government - oath with Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, who will later appoint him Knight of Labor - and then with Romano Prodi, in 2006, under Giorgio Napolitano’s presidency.
He was elected deputy to the Italian Parliament from 2006 to 2008. He was further elected Senator in the following legislature with the role of Vice President of the Agriculture and Food Production Commission. He continued to contribute to the governance of the difficult but inevitable coexistence of our agri-food heritage with productive globalization and financial.
Between 2000 and 2002, with a short but intended break at Palazzo Berlaymont where he is Special Advisor to the President of the European Commission, led by Professor Romano Prodi.
In July 2009, having been elected for the Democratic Party lists in the South college, he accepted to run for President of the Commission for Agriculture and Rural Development at the European Commission, . He began the bet with Agriculture as a member of Parliament. He was unanimously acclaimed President of the Commission for Agriculture and Rural Development. He performed his role from 2009 to 2014, leading the negotiating team of the European Parliament during the entire process of reform of the Common Agricultural Policy.
Once re-elected in July 2014 until May 2019, he has fulfilled the role of First Vice-President of the Group of Socialists and Democrats within the Commission for Agriculture and Rural Development.
In 2014 he was also appointed Permanent Rapporteur for EXPO Milano 2015, favoring the establishment of the European Union steering committee, which coordinated the EU's activities on the occasion of the Universal Exposition and contributed to the drafting of the Milan Charter.
During this appointment, his commitment to food safety and agricultural development has found further fullfilment not only through the multiple contributions provided to the legislative activity of the European Union, but also in the recent initiative inspired and coordinated by him, the Parliamentary Alliance "Fight against Hunger". This project was born in collaboration with FAO, an assembly set up with over 50 MEPs from all political groups committed to developing proposals and actions to increase awareness and sharing on the topic of food security.
Nowadays as European Parliamentarian, Paolo De Castro has been appointed rapporteur for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Treaty with the United States (TTIP) within the Commission for Agriculture and Rural Development.
The North-East College renewed his trust to him and since July 2019 he has been sitting for the third time in the European Parliament as Coordinator of the Group of Socialists and Democrats continuing his activity as an effective member of the Commissions for Agriculture and Rural Development as well as International Trade, for budgets and relations with the United States. In e the appointment as substitute member of the delegations for the relations with the Mashreq countries and of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean, he converges his expertise on territorial relations, from Italy to Europe through the Atlantic and the Mediterranean.