António Cardoso e Cunha

António José Baptista Cardoso e Cunha (28 January 1933 – 24 January 2021) was a Portuguese Social Democratic Party (PSD) politician. He was a government minister in the 1970s and 1980s, and then from 1986 to 1992 he served as Portugal's first European Commissioner.


Born in Leiria, Cardoso e Cunha studied at the University of Lisbon and then worked as chemical engineer and in business administration.[1]

He was elected to the Assembly of the Republic in 1978,[2] and in September 1978 he was appointed as State Secretary for Foreign Trade, a junior ministerial post in the Democratic Alliance government led by Alfredo Nobre da Costa. In November 1978, the new Prime Minister Carlos Mota Pinto appointed Cardoso e Cunha as State Secretary for Industrial Renewal. From 1980 to 1981, Cardoso e Cunha served in the cabinets of Francisco Sá Carneiro and Francisco Pinto Balsemão as Minister for Agriculture and fisheries.

When Portugal joined the European Economic Community in 1986, Cardoso e Cunha was nominated by the government of Aníbal Cavaco Silva to be Portugal's first member of the European Commission. He joined the first Delors Commission as Commissioner for Fisheries,[2] and in 1989 was appointed to the second Delors Commission as Commissioner for Energy, Euratom, small businesses, staff and translation.[2] He served until the Commission's term ended in 1993.[1]

He was then appointed as the first commissioner of Expo '98. He was replaced in 1997 after a change of government, and became president of the state-owned airline TAP Air Portugal until 2004.[1]

In 2006, Cardoso e Cunha was declared bankrupt by the Lisbon Court of Commerce.[1]


  1. Castanho, Ana (1 August 2014). "Saiba quem foram os anteriores comissários europeus de Portugal" [Find out who were the previous European commissioners from Portugal]. Observador (in Portuguese). Archived from the original on 5 May 2020. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
  2. "A.J.B. (António) Cardoso e Cunha". Europa Nu (in Dutch). Archived from the original on 5 May 2020. Retrieved 5 May 2020.