Born in 1953 in Rome. He did classical studies at the ‘Torquato Tasso’ secondary school, Rome, and obtained a degree in Law from La Sapienza University, Rome. He was an Officer in the Italian Air Force, worked as an Air Defence Controller and was Head of the Operations Room monitoring Italian and European civil and military air traffic. He was also a professional journalist and Editor of the Italian weekly Il Settimanale. He presented a radio news programme for RAI 1. He was Head of the Rome editorial office of the Italian daily Il Giornale, a special correspondent in Lebanon, the Soviet Union and Somalia.
In his political life, he was Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Transport from 2008 to 2010 and for Industry and Entrepreneurship from 2010 until 2014. He is Vice-Chairman of the European People’s Party, elected at the EPP Congress in Estoril in 2002, re-elected in Rome in 2006, again in Bonn in 2009 and in Bucharest in 2012. He is a Member of the EPP Group Bureau, which prepares the Group's position for European Council summits.
He speaks Italian, French, English and Spanish.
MEP 1994-2004 and since 2014.