Catherine represented Scotland in the European Parliament between 1999 and 2019. In this time she held many and varied roles from Deputy Leader of the European Parliamentary Labour Party (EPLP) to the Editor of the Parliament Magazine. Over the years, Catherine has been recognised as an ambassador for accessibility, consumer and citizen rights.
Born in Bellshill in 1973, Catherine was educated at Coltness High School, Wishaw and St Andrews University, where she was awarded a MA (Hons) Geography and International Relations (1996), and a MLitt in International Security Studies (1998). Before becoming a MEP, Catherine served as President of St Andrews University Students Association (1994-1995), and worked as a Political Researcher to Anne Begg MP (1997-1999). She has a Master of Business Administration from the Open University, and in 2018 was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of St Andrews.
As Vice-Chair of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee, Catherine worked on digital policy, prioritising the digital single market, digital skills, better accessibility of digital products for the disabled, as well as citizen online data protection and privacy. She wrote a number of influential reports and opinions; calling for libraries to be included in copyright exceptions available to formal educational institutions and introducing exceptions to protect access to works allowing for private study and research. As leader and founder of the All Party Library Group she promoted and advocated for the importance of libraries and how libraries can remain relevant in the new digital age.
Out of her direct role as an MEP, Catherine Stihler was elected unopposed to serve as the 52nd Rector of the University of St Andrews (2014-2017). Catherine opposes Brexit, was a joint founder and co-chair of Scottish Labour for the Single Market, and is a member of the People’s Vote and Best for Britain campaigns.
In February 2019, Catherine started a new role as chief executive officer of Open Knowledge International.