Born in 1940, Miguel Angel Martínez started his political work as an activist of the resistance student movement fighting against the fascist dictatorship of his country, Spain, in the late fifties of the past century. As a leader of the reconstructed underground Spanish Socialist Youth Organization, he was arrested, tortured, trialed, sentenced and imprisoned by the totalitarian Authorities in Madrid. Later he could escape and had to live in exile for 14 years in France, Austria and Belgium.
During that one and half decade Miguel Angel Martinez was able to pursue his studies as a linguist, to serve in international Youth and Trade Union International and European Organizations and to get involved in institutional work in bodies like the Council of Europe or the ILO, dealing with youth, human and trade union rights.
In 1976 Miguel Angel Martínez returned to Madrid and worked in the reconstruction of the newly legal Spanish Trade Unions (UGT) and Socialist Party (PSOE). In 1977 he was elected as a member of the Congress of Deputies of Spain in the first democratic elections ever called in his country since 1936. Martínez was to be reelected up to six times, remaining an active national MP until he ran for a seat in the European Parliament in 1999. Meanwhile he had made a long career in European and international affairs also as a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe which he chaired between 1992 and 1996, in the Assembly of the Western European Union, of which he was Vice President from 1986 to1996, and in the World Interparliamentary Union (IPU) Where he was Vice-President and later President from 1997 to 1999.
As a member of the European Parliament, Miguel Angel Martinez has been mainly involved with the enlargement process of the European Union and with development cooperation with Third World countries. Having become a Vice President of the EP in 2007 (reelected in 2009 and 2011) his main tasks have had to do with the relations with national Parliaments of the EU member States and with the relations with countries which are candidates to join the EU. 
Miguel Angel Martínez studied in Madrid, Toulouse and Vienna. He has been awarded decorations from over thirty countries from all continents, including 21 member States from the European Union, and University distinctions like the Comenius Gold Medal of the University of Bratislava and HC Doctorates from those of Aberdeen, Cluj and Moscow. He is currently Honorary President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and of the World Interparliamentary Union (IPU).