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David O’Sullivan Biography

Ambassador of the European Union to the United States of America

David O’Sullivan was appointed Ambassador and Head of the European Union Delegation to the United States in Washington, DC, from November 2014.

European Union Ambassador to the United States

As the European Union’s top diplomat to the United States, Mr. O’Sullivan oversees the EU’s bilateral relationship with the US and the direction and work of the EU Delegation including political, economic and commercial affairs.   His work supports the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy in implementing the EU’s foreign policy.  And he represents the Presidents of the European Council and the European Commission.  The Delegation was first established in Washington, DC in 1954 and now represents the European Union across the United States.  It has expanded to host staff of the European Parliament Liaison Office, EUROPOL, the European Central Bank, the European Investment Bank and the European Air Safety Agency.


Mr. O’Sullivan has a long and distinguished career that spans five decades.  He has served in a number of senior official posts in the European public service.

Prior to his appointment as Ambassador to the US, he was the Chief Operating Officer of the ‘European External Action Service’ and responsible for establishing this new EU diplomatic service.  The Service is one of the largest diplomatic networks with 140 delegations across the globe.

Mr. O’Sullivan’s career includes a number of notable and senior positions within the European Commission: Head of Commission President Prodi’s Cabinet (1999-2000), Secretary General of the European Commission (2000-2005).  He has extensive trade experience as Director General for Trade (2005-2010) and Chief Negotiator for the Doha Development Round.  He was responsible for overseeing the launch of a number of free trade agreements and concluded the EU’s agreement with South Korea. Before joining the Commission, he started his career with the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (1977-1979).

Early European Commission Career Timeline


Mr. O’Sullivan graduated from Trinity College, Dublin with a degree in Economics and Sociology (1975) and completed post-graduate studies at the College of Europe, Bruges (1976).

While at Trinity, he was Auditor and debating Gold medalist of the College Historical Society and winner of the Irish Times debating competition.

He holds an Honourary Doctorate from the Dublin Institute of Technology (2005).  He has been a visiting Professor at the European College of Parma.  He was awarded a second Honorary Doctorate from his alma mater Trinity College, Dublin (2014).

Honours and Awards

–  EU Transatlantic Business Award by the American Chamber of Commerce (June 2014).

–  Alumnus of the Year by the College of Europe (2013).

–  European of the Year by the European Movement of Ireland (1999).

Personal Biography

Mr. O’Sullivan was born in 1953 in Dublin, Ireland.  He is married to the architect Agnes O’Hare and they have two children.

He is no stranger to the US having travelled extensively across the States and spent his early life attending grade school in California.

He speaks English, French, Spanish, German, Japanese and Irish.