MADRID Ė The former vice president of the European Commission, Spaniard Manuel Marin, died on Monday in Madrid after a long illness, the Iberdrola EspaŮa Foundation, where he served as president, announced Monday. He was 68.
Marin, who served in several cabinets on the Commission between 1986-1999, also had a political career in Spain and was head of the Chamber of Deputies from 2004-2008.
A socialist, Marin played a significant role in the signing of the treaty governing Spainís joining the European Communities in 1985 as Madridís secretary of state for European Community Relations from 1982-1985.
Besides serving as vice president of the Communityís executive branch, Marin was also a European commissioner for Foreign Relations and Cooperation (1995-1999), Maritime Affairs and Development (1989-1995) and Education, Employment and Social Affairs (1985-1995).
Marinís health had been poor for some time and he could not attend a ceremony on Nov. 9 to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Salamanca, an event at which the European Commissionís current president, Jean Claude Juncker, was also honored.
European politics was a great passion of Marinís, whose name is closely linked to the Erasmus program, a system of scholarships and student mobility that has enabled many young people to become acquainted with continental affairs.
Marin was also a deputy in the lower house of Spainís Parliament from 1997-1986 and from 2000-2008.
After leaving Parliament in 2008, Marin abandoned his active political career, although he continued to work as a lecturer.
He was a professor at the University of Alcala de Henares and also joined the Iberdrola Foundation as its president with the aim of contributing to raising awareness of the fight against climate change.