Inés Ayala Sender, is a Spanish Member of the European Parliament (MEP) within the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D). She was elected to the European Parliament in 2004, and she is currently on her third term.
Last February she was elected Chair of the Delegation for relations with the Maghreb countries and the Arab Maghreb Union of the EU Parliament. Previously, she was a member of the Delegation for relations with the Mashreq countries.
She is also a member of the Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group (DEG) of the European Parliament which aims at strengthening the legitimacy of national electoral processes in third countries, avoiding electoral fraud, better protecting human rights and contributing to conflict solution. Her work in this committee is focused on improving the accountability of Parliamentarians in election observation.
Ayala Sender has participated in several European Parliament’s Election Observation missions leading the mission to Nicaragua in 2011 and more recently to Tanzania in 2016.
Ayala Sender has always shown particular interest in the Arab world and the promotion of democratic values in this region, in particular in the context of the Arab Spring. She has been a direct witness of the democratic awake process in North Africa and has actively participated in missions to Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco during the past years. More recently she took an active role at the EP’s electoral mission to Algeria in 2011. She is in direct contact with civil society and Parliamentarians from the Arab world promoting multiculturalism and human rights in different international fora.
During her mandate in the EP, she has been directly involved in the work of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean (PA-UfM) where she held the Vice-presidency of the Economic Committee during the last legislative term.
Ayala Sender is also strongly committed to the advancement of women’s rights and this constitutes a fundamental part of her political work, particularly in areas where women’s rights are in peril. She regularly participates in meetings and conferences in North African countries on gender equality and on topics dealing with conflict resolution and support for civil society. Further to her work in supporting democracy and gender equality outside the EU, she is particularly active on fighting for equal treatment and opportunities between women and men within the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality in the European Parliament.
In addition, she is the spokesperson for the S&D group for the Committee on Budgetary Control and a member of the Committee of Transport and Tourism.
Before being elected MEP, Ayala Sender was a member of the Confederal Executive of the Spanish General Workers Union (UGT) with responsibility for social action (women, young people, social services, migration, environment, consumer affairs, social economy). Additionally, she also held various positions as Policy Adviser for the Socialist Group. Prior to joining the EP, she was appointed national expert in the Directorate-General for the Environment in the European Commission and of the European Economic and for Social Committee on combating exclusion.
She holds degrees in Spanish and English Philology and studies in Law from the University of Zaragoza. Furthermore, Ayala Sender completed her postgraduate studies in Sustainable Development at the Université Libre de Bruxelles.