Group of the European People's Party (Christian Democrats)
Member of the European Parliament since 2004
Member: Committee on Regional Development, Delegation for relations with the countries of South Asia
Substitute: Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, Delegation for relations with the Maghreb countries and the Arab Maghreb Union, Delegation to the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly
• Studied social geography at the Catholic University of Nijmegen (1979, cum laude).
• Worked for the Tilburg Urban Area (1979-1983). Policy adviser, province of Gelderland (1983-1988). Department head for management training and organisational development, North Brabant Christian Farmers Union (1987-1991).
• Member of the North Brabant Provincial Executive for public health, a comprehensive policy for the elderly, housing, urban renewal and internationalisation (1991-2003).
• Committee chairman and vice-chairman, Assembly of European Regions (1992-2003).
• Member of a delegation and rapporteur, Committee of the Regions (1995-2003). Has held various offices in the Regional Assembly of the Council of Europe (1995-2003). President of the Assembly of European Border Regions (2004-2006).
• Chairman of various social welfare organisations. Chairman of Alive: European Challenge to Ageing (1999-2003). Chairman of the Smart Homes Advisory Council, National Knowledge Centre for Home Automation and Smart Living, Eersel (2003 - present); President of 'Perspekt', Quality Standards in the Care Sector.
• Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau.