Gianni Pittella was born on 19 November 1958 in Lauria, Italy. He joined the Italian Socialist Party at a young age.
At the age of 21, he was elected to the municipal council of his hometown and a year later became a member of the regional council of Basilicata with responsibility for training, culture and productive activities.
After graduating in medicine and surgery (specialising in legal and forensic medicine), Gianni remained very much involved in local and national politics. In 1996, he was elected to the Italian Parliament. His passion for Europe led him to pursue his political work at the EU level and he was elected to the European Parliament in 1999, joining the Group of the Party of European Socialists (the former name of the S&D Group).
Gianni has been a member of the European Parliament since then, taking on several important roles within the S&D Group as Head of the Italian delegation (since 2006), and as the European Parliament’s most senior Vice-president (2009-2014). Among his responsibilities as vice-president, he was in charge of conciliations between the European Parliament and the Council. He was acting President of the European Parliament in June 2014.
On 2 July 2014, he was elected president of the S&D Group, the second largest political group in the European Parliament and the only one with members from all 28 EU member states. As leader of the Socialists and Democrats, Gianni is committed to fighting inequalities by shoring up growth and employment in the EU.
Besides his political work, Gianni is the author of several books on the future and challenges of the European project such as a Brief History of the Future of the United States of Europe (2013). He is also a visiting professor at the University of East Anglia’s London Academy of Diplomacy.
Gianni Pittella is married and has two children.