15th edition of State of Europe - #EuropeMatters

11 October 2018 - 09:00 - 18:00
Jamila Aanzi, Alberto Alemanno, Louise Arbour, Matilda Axelson, Lloyd Axworthy , Noura Berrouba, Jacques Bughin, Iain Couzin, Xavier Damman, Niall Dennehy, Hailemariam Desalegn, Mary Fitzgerald , Markus Freiburg, Elisa Gambardella, Anthony Gardner, Oliver Gnad, Jakob Haesler, Anne-Marie Imafidon, Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, Alexander Kmentt, Gaitri Issar Kumar, Ana Teresa Lehmann, Jean-Luc Lemercier, Kati Levoranta, André Loesekrug-Pietri, Matti Maasikas, Marijke Mars, Frédéric Mazzella , Carlos Moedas, Lindsey Nefesh-Clarke, Ricken Patel, Muriel Pénicaud, Åsa Regnér, Didier Reynders, Pedro Sanchez, Markus Steilemann, Alexander Stubb, Rene Tammist, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Shahin Vallée, Frank Vandenbroucke, Luca Visentini, Anna Widegren

The State of Europe high-level roundtable, now in its 15th edition, annually gathers 200+ influential figures from more than 40 countries to brainstorm on the future of Europe and to provide concrete recommendations on how to make Europe more relevant to its citizens. 

Please click here to download the programme

This is no ordinary Brussels event. Instead of long, drawn-out speeches, we involve sitting and former (prime) ministers, CEOs, NGO leaders, European Commissioners, members of Parliaments, influencers, top journalists and European Young Leaders, in an interactive, inclusive and fast-paced brainstorm – a new way of working to generate new ideas for a new era. This year’s State of Europe discussants will co-design a Europe that still matters in 2030.

Europe matters. It’s done its job, albeit to various degrees of success. But given the challenges ahead, it is ripe for a shakeup. Next year a new European Commission and Parliament will be in place. At the roundtable, discussants and introductory speakers will gather their collective intelligence to contribute to set out policy recommendations for the incoming European leadership. Citizens’ input is collected through our 3.5 million citizens’ platform Debating Europe.

We are producing a set of scenarios detailing the potential implications of policy decisions in key areas ahead of the State of Europe roundtable, as a part of our Europe Matters project. 

Discussions at State of Europe - #EuropeMatters will focus on six areas defining the future of Europe and highlighted in our scenarios for Europe 2030: 

•    Ageing population; 
•    Disruptive technologies, notably digitisation and AI;
•    The rise of emerging markets and their impact on the competitiveness of EU businesses; 
•    Migration and urban concentration; 
•    Resource depletion and climate change; 
•    The return of geopolitics – trade wars and tax competition.

The recommendations forged at the State of Europe roundtable will be included in the #EuropeMatters paper, reminding us of why the EU is important and including a call to action for the new European leadership.

The choices we make or don’t make today will define the fate of Europe, which is why we are taking this unique multi-stakeholder approach to prepare the incoming European leadership with a set of concrete recommendations guiding Europe’s strategic thinking to  align the future we want with the future we face. 

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State of Europe 2018 - #EuropeMatters

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MGI McKinsey



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#EuropeMatters is a 12 month project bringing together business leaders, policymakers, civil society representatives and citizens to co-design a Europe that still matters in 2030
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Now celebrating its 15th anniversary, State of Europe is an invite-only roundtable that brings together the best minds across a range of fields. Global protagonists and decision-makers break out of their comfort zones and delve deep into the critical issues affecting Europe.

Welcome coffee and registration of participants


EARLY-BIRD MASTERCLASSES – Understanding the key issues

This set of six parallel early-bird masterclasses, led by senior experts in their respective fields, focus on topics relevant to the brainstorm which takes place later in the day. The masterclasses are designed to provide insights on and explore new areas which may not be familiar to all participants, thereby helping participants to engage with each other on all the key issues discussed during the rest of the day. The topics selected are reflected in our scenarios for Europe 2030 and include key areas where the policy choices we make today will determine the fate and future of Europe.

Moderated by Shada Islam, Director of Europe and Geopolitics at Friends of Europe

Table 1 - Social Models for Tomorrow's Europe

Frank Vandenbroucke, University Professor at the University of Amsterdam and Trustee of Friends of Europe 

Envied around the world as progressive and socially just, the welfare policies of EU countries will have to increasingly contend with ageing and demographic change. Change must also address Europe’s widening inequalities and social imbalances. But by mid-century the current average of four active workers per pensioner could be reduced to two, so how adaptable should European social models be?    

Table 2 - Industrial Policies for the Digital Era 

Frédéric Mazzella, Founder & President of BlaBlaCar and European Young Leader (EYL40)

When will European companies catch up with American online giants like Google, Amazon and Facebook, or China's Ali-Baba? Twentieth century Europe matched the US in its creation of multinational corporations, but has fallen behind in the Digital Era. What are the industrial policy solutions, both at EU and national levels? 

Table 3 - The Impact of AI on Europe's Workforce 

Anne-Marie Imafidon, Co-Founder and CEO of Stemettes; European Young Leader (EYL40)

In the welter of confused and contradictory forecasts of the threats and promises of Artificial Intelligence, one thing is clear: Education and training hold the key. How should skills training be re-modelled so that it can keep pace with rapid and unpredictable technological change? 

Table 4 - Policy Pushes to decarbonize and close the Carbon Gap 

Matilda Axelson, Industrial innovation and low-carbon researcher at the VUB Institute for European Studies

The political breakthrough achieved by the Cop-21 Paris agreement has suffered recent blows, and is focusing global attention on whether its goals can be achieved. What should the EU, as the pioneer on the clean energy transition, be doing to relaunch the global drive to combat climate change?

Table 5 - Europe's Widening Security Neighbourhood

Matti Maasikas, Estonian Deputy Minister for EU Affairs 

Shifts in some of Europe’s strongest allies’ thinking on security and defence questions are increasing Europe’s responsibilities and sparked the slow process of an upgrade of European military capabilities. But is this process being matched by meaningful advances in the EU's external policymaking? How far over the horizon can Europeans see? 

Table 6 - Restructuring the EU's Political Decision-Making 

Alberto Alemanno, Professor of EU Law, HEC Paris, Founder of The Good Lobby; European Young Leader (EYL40) 

Critics say EU decision-making is undemocratic and painfully slow. Whether true or false, eurosceptic populist parties have been able to capitalise on anti-EU prejudices to the point of destabilising the European project. What is the outlook for a renewed drive on institutional reform capable of streamlining the EU and meeting the challenges ahead?

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SCENE SETTING – Exploring the Scenarios for Europe in 2030 

Jacques Bughin, Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company and Director at the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI)

OPENING SESSION – Options, choices and consequences

The time has come for issues to be discussed and thought through in their own realm; to break through silos and develop a new type of policy thinking, which connects the dots of different policy issues. This session will also offer an opportunity to debate our scenarios for Europe in 2030. 

Introductory discussants:

Pedro Sanchez, Spanish Prime Minister 
Louise Arbour, UN  Special Representative for International Migration
Ricken Patel, President and Executive Director of Avaaz 

Moderated by Dharmendra Kanani, Director of Insights at Friends of Europe

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SESSION I – Money Matters: Unfinished Business – What Boardrooms Want from the EU

The EU's single market has yet to be fully completed, and Eurozone governance reforms remain hotly disputed. EU competition rules and the growth of labour and skills shortages are both making businesses nervous about future growth potential. The single market has offered unique opportunities for business in and benefits for Europe’s citizens. Are the voices of business in Europe a chorus or a cacophony?

Introductory discussants:

Marijke Mars, Board Member Mars Incorporated 
Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation
Markus Steilemann, CEO Covestro

Moderated by Dharmendra Kanani, Director of Insights at Friends of Europe

SESSION II – The Politics of the Future: A New Social Model For Europe – taxes, welfare and rights

Europe is ageing and this has consequences for old and young alike. We are faced with the need to reinvent our tax and welfare systems both to meet the demands of an aging population and the needs of younger generations. The European social model is also burdened by increasing levels of inequality. Together these trends could be sources of major social disruption. What political and practical adjustments will be necessary? What role does migration into Europe have to play and how can we change the narrative on migration and make the most of the opportunities it presents for the Europe. 

Keynote intervention:

Muriel Penicaud, French Minister of Labour

Introductory discussants:

Jean-Luc Lemercier, Corporate Vice President and President of EMEACLA region, Edwards 
Noura Berrouba, Member of the Governing Board, European Youth Parliament

Moderated by Shada Islam, Director of Europe and Geopolitics at Friends of Europe

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Beneath the surface turmoil of the migration crisis there lie deeper long-term challenges to 21st century European society and to economic justice. How will today's younger generations be able to bear the political and financial costs of integrating tens of millions more newcomers? What should a far-sighted EU strategy that encompasses both ageing and immigration look like?

Giles Merritt, Founder of Friends of Europe and author of the forthcoming book “Why We Need More Migrants”
Elisa Gambardella, Chargé de Mission, Solidar and Head of Young European Socialists Network for the
Future of Europe
Lloyd Axworthy, Chair of the World Refugee Council and Former Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs  



Blockchain for good: leapfrogging to reach the SDGs

More than 2 bn people in the world are living without access to formal financial services and 2.4 bn people are living without a legal identity. Blockchain’s cutting edge, secure and transparent technology can and is already playing an incredible role in fundamentally changing development aid. What’s next?

Niall Dennehy, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of AID:Tech


SESSION III – Money Matters: The Brave New World of Digital

Digital developments are calling into question business model across all industries; the pace of AI, automation and big data are all drivers of future industrial policy with a knock impact on modes of consumption; jobs growth; skills development and tax policy. In this context of the brave new world of digital, where should Europe go – what policies need to be promoted to create a tech-friendly climate for European entrepreneurs and boost Europe's competitiveness in this field? 

Introductory discussants:

Rene Tammist, Estonian Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology
Kati Levoranta, CEO of Rovio Entertainment
André Loesekrug-Pietri, Head, The Joint European Disruptive Initiative (J.E.D.I.) and European Young Leader (EYL40)

Moderated by Dharmendra Kanani, Director of Insights at Friends of Europe


SESSION IV – Europe in a global world: Walking the talk on crafting a new global order 

As the US retreats from its historical commitment to the rules-based global order, global attention has centred on the EU’s efforts to salvage the Iran nuclear deal, press ahead with the Paris climate talks and safeguard the multilateral trading system. Investing in Africa’s development and the future of its young people is also a collective challenge.  Has international cooperation been reduced to bitter self-promotion, tariffs and raging twitter feuds? With the US moving towards self-imposed isolation, are the G6 strong enough to uphold the rules-based global order and the international economy by working with other international actors? What kind of global partnership is need to tap into the full potential of Africa.

Introductory discussants:

Hailemariam Dessalegn, Former Prime Minister of Ethiopia and Former President of the African Union 
Anthony Gardner, Former US Ambassador to the European Union and Senior Adviser at the Brunswick Group and Sidley & Austin
Alexander Kmentt, Austrian Permanent Representative to the Political and Security Committee
Gaitri Issar Kumar, Ambassador of India to Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Union

Moderated by Shada Islam, Director of Europe and Geopolitics at Friends of Europe

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Coffee break



European elections have so far been met by growing public indifference and waning voter turnouts. MEPs have an average half-million people in their constituencies, so the human touch is rare. What will next May’s elections hold for the future of the European project? How can we reinvigorate the relationship between citizens and Europe? Different leadership will come up with different solutions. What should the incoming EU-leadership focus on?

Introductory discussants:

Alexander Stubb, Former Prime Minister of Finland 
Helle Thorning-Schmidt, CEO Save the Children International and Former Prime Minister of Denmark 

Moderated by Joe Litobarski, Editor at Debating Europe 

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TABLE DISCUSSIONS – How do we make Europe matter?

This session is dedicated to crafting policy recommendations for the next EU mandate based on Friends of Europe’s scenarios for Europe 2030.

Our proposition is that the renewed social contract underpinned by three pillars of security, prosperity and sustainability can serve as the glue binding Europe together for the future, which enables it to be better connected to citizens’ and business’ needs and concerns. 

Table co-chairs: 

Table 1: Jamila Aanzi, Business economist, Dutch UN Women’s Representative; European Young Leader (EYL40) and Markus Freiburg, Founder & Managing Director of FASE and European Young Leader (EYL40)
Table 2: Ana Teresa Lehmann, Portuguese State Secretary for Industry and Jakob Haesler, Co-Founder Project Alloy and European Young Leader (EYL40)
Table 3: Åsa Regnér, Deputy Executive Director UN Women and former Swedish Minister for Gender Equality and Luca Visentini, General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC)
Table 4: Xavier Damman, Founder and CEO of OpenCollective, Co-Founder of Storify; European Young Leader (EYL40) and Iain Couzin, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology  at the University of Konstanz 
Table 5: Zanda Kalnina-Lukaševica, Parliamentary State Secretary for European Affairs at the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; European Young Leader (EYL40) and Shahin Vallee, Member of the Cabinet of President Herman Van Rompuy, European Council; European Young Leader (EYL40)
Table 6: Anna Widegren, Secretary General European Youth Forum and Lindsey Nefesh-Clarke, Founder & President, Women's Worldwide Web (W4); European Young Leader (EYL40)
Table 7: Mary Fitzgerald, Libya Analyst, Award-Winning Journalist; European Young Leader (EYL40) and Oliver Gnad, Foresighter, Founding Partner & CEO, Bureau für Zeitgeschehen

Moderated by Tamsin Rose, Senior Fellow at Friends of Europe 


Didier Reynders, Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and European Affairs 
Etienne Davignon, Former Belgian Minister of State, European Commission Vice President and President, Friends of Europe 

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Jamila Aanzi
2017 Dutch UN Women's Representative Dutch Women's Council and EYL2014
Jamila has positioned herself as one of the leading innovators in the fields of youth involvement and social outreach in the Netherlands. She has participated in numerous programmes aimed at encouraging cooperation between diverse backgrounds and envisioning a new social and political vision. In 2017, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, appointed Jamila as the Dutch women’s representative at the United Nations. As a senior international trainer for the Max van der Stoel foundation she trains political parties and politicians in Eastern Europe, the Middle-East and North-Africa. Jamila is an alumni of several international leadership programs like the Israeli ‘future European leaders' programme and the US State Department’s ‘international visitors leadership’ programme.
Alberto Alemanno
EU Law Professor HEC, Founder of the Good Lobby and European Young Leader
Alberto Alemanno is an academic, author and activist. Through his civic start up, The Good Lobby, and his involvement in other campaigns, Alemanno has long called for a democratisation of the EU and developing innovative forms of civic engagement. His book, ‘Lobbying for Change: Find Your Voice to Create a Better Society’, is a call to action for ordinary citizens to inform policy decisions at the local, national and international level. Alemanno has been featured in The Economist and The New York Times, to name a few, and is also a regular contributor to leading publications such as Le Monde, Bloomberg and Politico Europe.
Louise Arbour
UN Special Representative for International Migration
Louise is a Canadian lawyer, prosecutor and jurist. She was appointed as the UN Special Representative for International Migration in 2016. Louise has previously served at the Supreme Court of Ontario and was appointed to the Court of Appeal for Ontario. In 1996, Louise was appointed by the Security Council of the United Nations as Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda. It’s under her leadership that the Rwandan genocide was recognised internationally, a sitting Serbian president was indicted for war crimes, and rape was recognized as a war crime.
Matilda Axelson
Doctoral Researcher at the VUB Institute for European Studies
Matilda’s cutting-edge research on industrial decarbonisation draws from the fields of sustainability and innovation. She currently focuses on the mitigation of emissions from energy-intensive industries through value-chain development and enhancement of European industrial innovation systems. She also looks at how business model innovations can drive increased resource efficiency in energy-intensive industries. Matilda also works as a Senior Advisor to the Industrial Innovation for Competitiveness initiative (i24C). Prior to joining the VUB, she led research on breakthrough decarbonisation technologies in the EU steel industry and on decarbonisation of Europe’s energy-intensive industries.
Lloyd Axworthy
Chair of the World Refugee Council and Former Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs
Lloyd is one of Canada’s leading voices on global migration and refugee protection. After a 27-year political career, where he served as Canada’s minister of Foreign Affairs and minister of Employment and Immigration, among other postings, Lloyd has continued to work extensively on human security, refugee protection and human rights in Canada and abroad. He was presented with the Pearson Peace Medal by the Governor General of Canada in 2017. Lloyd also served as the President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Winnipeg for ten years.
Noura Berrouba
Member of the Governing Board, European Youth Parliament
Noura is a passionate young leader, mobilizer and advocate for youth participation, human rights, active citizenship and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Noura serves on the Governing Body of the European Youth Parliament (EYP), the largest platform for non-formal political education of young Europeans. Noura also serves on the board of the National Council of Swedish Youth Organisations (LSU), which gathers over 700 000 young Swedes in 83 member organisations. She was the official Swedish youth delegate to the United Nations in 2016 and in 2017, placed 14th on Makthavare’s list of 100 future policy makers in Sweden.
Jacques Bughin
Senior Partner Partner at McKinsey and Director of the McKinsey Global Institute
Jacques is a senior partner at McKinsey and a director of the McKinsey Global Institute, the firm’s business and economics research arm, and one of its three global co-leaders. Since joining the firm, he has worked with media, telecom, online services, healthcare, fintech, travel and logistics companies on a variety of issues. He is also the co-author of numerous reports on the Internet of Things, big data and social technologies, including “Digital Europe: Realizing the Continent’s Potential”.
Iain Couzin
Chair of Biodiversity and Collective Behaviour at the University of Konstanz
Iain is the Chair of Biodiversity and Collective Behaviour at the University of Konstanz, Germany and Director of the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Department of Collective Behaviour. His work aims to reveal the fundamental principles that underlie evolved collective behaviour, and consequently his research includes the study of a wide range of biological systems, from insect swarms to fish schools and primate groups. In recognition of his research, he has received the Searle Scholar Award, the Mohammed Dahleh Award, Popular Science’s “Brilliant 10” Award, National Geographic Emerging Explorer Award and the Scientific Medal of the Zoological Society of London.
Xavier Damman
Founder & CEO of OpenCollective, Co-Founder of Storify and European Young Leader (EYL40)
Xavier is the CEO and co-founder of OpenCollective, a company that enables groups to collect and spend money transparently without having to create a new bank account. He also co-founded Storify, a social media curation platform that enables users to create stories or timelines using content from social media platforms. Storify has been used by top brands, organisations and publishers around the world, including CNN, the New York Times, the United Nations and the White House. 
Niall Dennehy
Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of AID:Tech
Niall is shaking traditions in the humanitarian sector through AID:Tech, a company that uses blockchain technology and digital identity to bring social and financial inclusion to the world’s undocumented and underserved populations. Niall’s work delivers digital entitlements which include welfare, aid, remittances and donations. AID:Tech was the first company to successfully deliver international aid to Syrian refugees in Lebanon using blockchain technology. Prior to AID:Tech, Niall founded a number of other companies and has held senior technology positions in a range of organisations, including HP, Ericsson, LG & Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Hailemariam Desalegn
Former prime minister and former chairperson of the African Union
Hailemariam served as 14th Prime Minister of Ethiopia and as Chair of the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), the ruling party, from 2012 to 2018. He also previously served as deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs under Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. His politics builds on that of his predecessor Zenawi, contributing to making Ethiopia a bastion of stability, inhabited by over 100 million people. Hailemariam also served as the chairperson of the African Union during his time as prime minister.
Mary Fitzgerald
Libya Analyst, Award-Winning Journalist and EYL2013
Mary is a journalist and analyst specialising in the Euro-Mediterranean region with a particular focus on Libya. She has worked on Libya since 2011 and lived there throughout 2014. Her work has appeared in publications including the Economist, Foreign Policy, the New Yorker, the Washington Post, the Financial Times and the Guardian. She has conducted research on Libya for the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) and the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMED) among others. She is a contributing author to an edited volume on the Libyan revolution published by Oxford University Press. In her previous role as Irish Times foreign affairs correspondent, she reported from 40 countries across the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe. She is a member of the Global Women’s Forum ‘Rising Talents’ network.
Markus Freiburg
Founder & Managing Director of FASE and European Young Leader (EYL40)
Markus is the founder of the Financing Agency for Social Entrepreneurship (FASE), a leading financial intermediary that helps social enterprises scale their social impact by helping them raise hybrid growth capital. FASE has built an open pipeline of investment-ready social enterprises and closed sixteen transactions leveraging around €6mn in impact investments. Markus is also a member of the Expert Group on Social Entrepreneurship (GECES), a consultative multi-stakeholder group on social business that examines the progress of measures foreseen by the European Commission. 
Elisa Gambardella
Chargé de Mission, Solidar and Head of Young European Socialists Network for the Future of Europe
Elisa currently provides her direct political expertise in her role at Solidar. Passionate about social affairs and public policies through her work with the European network of Civil Society Organisations, Elisa has focused her career and political ambitions on ensuring a fairer and stronger Europe. She has served as the national contact of Italy’s European Socialists Party and worked within the Advisory Unit of the Minister of Labour and Social Policies.
Anthony Gardner
Former US Ambassador to the European Union and Senior Adviser at the Brunswick Group and Sidley & Austin
Anthony served as US Ambassador to the EU from 2014 to 2017, during which time he played a key role in negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement (TTIP), the EU-US Privacy Shield Agreement and the Umbrella Agreement facilitating the transatlantic transfer of data between law enforcement authorities. Prior to this position, he was managing director of a London-based equity firm and served in senior roles at the Bank of America, GE Capital and GE International. He also served as director for European Affairs on the US National Security Council, where he was responsible for US relations with the EU.
Oliver Gnad
Foresighter, Founding Partner & CEO, Bureau für Zeitgeschehen
Oliver is the Co-founder and CEO of the Bureau für Zeitgeschehen, a Berlin-based think-and-do-tank specialising in strategic foresight and scenario planning and a guest lecturer at the Hertie School of Governance. From 2008 to 2016, he served as Director of GIZ AgenZ, an in-house consultancy of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). He worked with the planning staff of the German Federal Chancellery, the German President’s Office and the German Foreign Office.
Jakob Haesler
Founder of Project Alloy and European Young Leader
As a successful entrepreneur, Jakob Haesler recently founded Project Alloy, a series of conferences aimed at providing the knowledge and financial resources to young individuals in the aim of building a more inclusive technical community. Haesler was previously the CEO and Co-Founder of Tinyclues SAS, a Paris-based software start up established in the aim to industrialise datamining on Big Data. Haesler is also a founding partner of the “Cercle du Leadership", which brings together leaders in the aim of sharing and promoting innovative visions and actions in the field of management and leadership.
Anne-Marie Imafidon
Co-Founder & CEO of Stemette and European Young Leader (EYL40)
Anne-Marie is the co-founder and CEO of Stemettes. Through this social enterprise, she aims to inspire and promote the involvement of the next generation of women into scientific, technologic, engineering, and mathematics centred subjects (STEM) and careers. Within three years, Stemettes has attracted over 7000 girls across the UK, Ireland and Europe to their events. In recognition of her influence and achievements, Anne-Marie was awarded an MBE in 2017.
Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica
Parliamentary State Secretary for European Affairs at the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Young Leader (EYL40)
Zanda was appointed Parliamentary State Secretary in the Latvian government in 2014. In this role, she ensures cooperation between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Latvian Parliament and the European Parliament. She started her professional career at Jurmala’s city council and since then, has worked at the Ministry of Regional Development and the Strategic Analysis Commission, where she advised the then Latvian President Valdis Zatlers. Zanda was elected to the Latvian Parliament in 2011 and during her mandate, she chaired the Committee on European Affairs and the Reform Party parliamentary group.
Alexander Kmentt
Austrian Permanent Representative to the Political and Security Committee
Prior to his current position, Alexander was the director of the Department for Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-Proliferation at the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs. He has worked on disarmament issues since 2000, including in Geneva and with the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization. In 2014, he was responsible for the organization of the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons. He was elected 2014 Arms Control Person of the Year by the Arms Control Association.
Gaitri Issar Kumar
Ambassador of India to Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Union
Gaitri was appointed Ambassador of India to Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Union in June 2017. Before arriving for her posting in Brussels, Gaitri worked close to the Indian President in New Dehli. She has a long history in the Indian diplomatic service since 1986, with postings in both Paris and Geneva. In Geneva she was a counsellor to the Conference on Disarmament and she has worked on questions relating to finance and social issues.
Ana Teresa Lehmann
Portuguese State Secretary for Industry
Ana is the Portuguese State Secretary for Industry, who developed a strongly focused international career of two decades spanning academia, public policy and executive positions in over twenty public and private organisations. Her areas of specialisation relate to the competitiveness of firms and industries, notably companies’ internationalisation, foreign direct investment attraction, innovation, industrial clusters and public policy. Ana served as a consultant to leading international institutions (OECD, UNCTAD, European Commission, among others) and various national and regional governments in five continents. 
Jean-Luc Lemercier
Corporate Vice President and President of EMEACLA region, Edwards
Jean-Luc is the Corporate Vice President and President of EMEACLA region of Edwards Lifesciences. Prior to assuming his current role, Jean-Luc served as the vice president of transcatheter heart valves EMEA. Under his leadership at Edwards, the company successfully launched the SAPIEN transcatheter heart valve technology and built its leadership position in Europe. Edwards Lifesciences is the global leader in patient-focused medical innovations for structural heart disease, as well as critical care and surgical monitoring.
Kati Levoranta
CEO of Rovio Entertainment
As CEO of Rovio Entertainment, a Finland-based global entertainment company that creates, develops and publishes mobile games which have been downloaded over 4bn times, Kati is one of the few female chief executives of a European technology company. Today, the digital gaming industry has significant social and financial impacts related not only to its entertainment value but also to the increase in innovations and technological know-how. Prior to her position as CEO, she served as Rovio’s Chief Legal Officer as well as Head of Sales for the EMEA region, and previously worked at Nokia Siemens Networks and Poyry.
André Loesekrug-Pietri
Head of The Joint European Disruptive Initiative (J.E.D.I.) and European Young Leader (EYL40)
André manages the Joint European Disruptive Initiative, aiming to accelerate France and Germany’s leadership in disruptive innovations. He has previously held leadership positions in private equity, government, industry and as an entrepreneur. Starting as assistant to the CEO of Aerospatiale-Airbus, he then spent several years in private equity and venture capital, including 10 years in China, investing in European companies with global ambitions. In 2017, he took a break from the private sector to become special advisor to the French Minister of Defense, responsible for European Defense policy as well as technology and innovation. 
Matti Maasikas
Estonian Deputy Minister for EU Affairs
Matti is the Estonian Deputy Minister for EU Affairs and he serves as head of Estonia’s inter-ministerial Brexit Task Force. He was heavily involved in effectively implementing the aims of the Estonian Presidency of the EU, the priorities of which included encouraging technological progress, from ensuring the availability and quality of electronic communications to developing cross-border e-commerce as well as digital public services. 
Marijke Mars
Board Member Mars Incoporated
Marijke is a businesswoman and Board Member of the Mars Incorporated. She joined the family business in Los Angeles where she worked as regional manager at one of Mars Inc.'s pet food companies, Kal Kan Foods. Currently, Marijke works at Mars Food, which makes a dozen food brands including Uncle Ben's and Suzi Wan. Last year, Mars Inc. launched the Sustainable in a Generation Plan. This plan sets new, transformational ambitions focused on a healthy planet, thriving people and nourishing wellbeing.
Frédéric Mazzella
Founder & President of BlaBlaCar and European Young Leader (EYL40)
Frédéric is the Founder and CEO of BlaBlaCar, the leading European ridesharing community that connects drivers with empty seats and people travelling the same way, so they can share the cost. With 60 million members in 22 countries and over 18 million travellers every quarter, BlaBlaCar is creating an entirely new, people powered, travel network. Prior to founding BlaBlaCar, he worked for 3 years as a scientific researcher at NASA (USA), and NTT (Japan). 
Carlos Moedas
European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation
Carlos is the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation. Prior to his current position, Carlos worked for Goldman Sachs and the Deutsche Bank before establishing his own investment management company in 2008. Recently he presented the proposal for the European Commission’s next flagship science-funding programme, the Horizon Europe framework, which he was instrumental in developing. The Horizon Europe framework will run from 2021 to 2027 and has a provisional budget of nearly €100 billion (US$117 billion). 
Lindsey Nefesh-Clarke
Founder & President, Women's Worldwide Web (W4); European Young Leader (EYL40)
Lindsey is Founder and CEO of a web-based philanthropy platform, Women’s Worldwide Web, dedicated to connecting and empowering girls and women around the world through education, microfinance, mentoring and networking. She also works for Enfants d’Asie, a humanitarian NGO that provides care for over 10,000 children in South-East Asia. In 2009 she won the Independent MBA Student of the Year Award that recognises exceptional MBA students with a talent for leadership.
Ricken Patel
President and Executive Director of Avaaz
Ricken is the founding President and Executive Director of Avaaz, a global civic organisation with the world's largest online activist community. With over 48 million members, Avaaz is now the world's largest activist network and a global web movement to bring people-powered politics to decision-making everywhere. The Avaaz community campaigns in 15 languages, served by a core team on 6 continents and thousands of volunteers. Avaaz empowers millions of people from all walks of life to take action on pressing global, regional and national issues, from corruption and poverty to conflict and climate change.
Muriel Pénicaud
French Minister of Labour
Muriel is the French Minister of Labour. Prior to assuming this role, she was managing director of Business France, a national agency dedicated to promoting the French economic interests abroad, general manager of human resources at Danone Group and assistant general manager of Dassault Systèmes. Muriel has been a force to be reckoned with in her efforts to reform labour rights and curb unemployment in France. Recently, she announced a call for projects, aimed at integrating and training of refugees in France, to apply for financial aid, up to a total of 15 million euros.
Åsa Regnér
Deputy Executive Director UN Women and former Swedish Minister for Gender Equality
Åsa is the Deputy Executive Director of UN Women. Previously, she served as the minister for Children, the Elderly and Gender Equality of Sweden, where her focus was on concrete results in the implementation of Swedish gender equality policies as well as a shift towards prevention of violence against women and the involvement of men and boys in gender equality work. Åsa has extensive experience in the area of gender equality and women’s empowerment, having held various leadership positions in government, Non-Governmental Organizations and the United Nations.
Didier Reynders
Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and European Affairs
Didier is Belgium’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs. He entered politics after presiding over the Belgian railways and the Belgian Airways Agency. Since then, he has been, a member of parliament, the minister of finance and deputy prime minister, among other high-level positions. An academic at heart, Didier remains a Guest lecturer at the universities of Liège and Louvain.
Pedro Sanchez
Spanish Prime Minister
Pedro is attempting to restore the Spanish people’s trust in politics after being damaged by corruption scandals, Catalan separatism, and the 2008 financial crisis. Reaffirming Spain’s commitment to multilateralism, his government has created the High Committee for the 2030 Agenda to steer the implementation of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) in Spain. In addition, aiming to close the gender gap, he has appointed women to almost two-thirds of the original ministerial cabinet positions. He has also shown an open approach to migration and a firm stance against rising populism in Europe. 
Markus Steilemann
CEO Covestro
Markus was appointed as the CEO of Covestro in 2018, where he also served as the Head of The Polyrethanes Segment, the Chief Innovation Officer and the Head of Innovation. Covestro develops sustainable solutions to the greatest challenges of our age: climate change, resource depletion, urban expansion, population growth and the resulting increase in awareness of environmental issues. These will inevitably lead to a higher demand for renewable energies, alternative resources, energy-efficient transportation, and sustainable, affordable housing.  
Alexander Stubb
Former Prime Minister of Finland
Alexander is the Spitzenkandidaten candidate for the European People's Party, currently on leave from his role as the Vice President of European Investment Bank. He is also the former prime minister of Finland and a former member of the European Parliament. A strong supporter of increasing European integration, Alexander’s expertise includes European and International Affairs, Foreign and Security Policy, the Euro and the Global Economy.
Rene Tammist
Estonian Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology
Appointed to his current position in July 2018, Rene is responsible for supporting the development of entrepreneurship, technology and innovation in Estonia, and also plays a key role in export development and trade security measures. Prior to his current appointment, he served as a member of the board of the EU’s Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators, head of The Estonian Renewable Energy Association and member of the supervisory board of Eesti Energia. He previously worked as an advisor to the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research, and Energy.
Helle Thorning-Schmidt
CEO Save the Children International and Former Prime Minister of Denmark
Helle joined Save the Children International after a career of public service. As the prime minister of Denmark, she led a coalition government from 2011 until 2015, successfully steering Denmark through a difficult period of transition after the global financial crisis. Prior to her time as prime minister, Helle was member of Danish Parliament and the leader of the Social Democratic Party for 10 years. She was a member of the European Parliament from 1999 to 2004, and previously worked as an international adviser to the Confederation of Trade Unions.
Shahin Vallée
PhD Candidate, London School of Economics, European Institute and European Young Leader (EYL40)
Shahin is affiliated with the European Institute of the London School of Economics and is a member of the euro50 group, a group of senior current and former European policymakers in Europe. He is currently a PhD Candidate at the LSE. Prior to this Shahin was a Senior Economist at Soros Fund Management and he was also the Economic Advisor to the French Economy Minister until April 2015. Shahin has also been the Economic Advisor to the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy. In this capacity, he worked in particular on issues pertaining to European economic policy, the architecture of the euro area and the consequences of the economic and financial crisis.
Frank Vandenbroucke
University Professor at the University of Amsterdam and Trustee of Friends of Europe
Frank is a professor at the University of Amsterdam and former Belgian deputy prime minister. His current research focuses on the impact of the EU on the development of social and employment policy in European Member States. Previously, he was minister for Foreign Affairs and, later on, for Social Security, Health Insurance, Pensions and Employment in the Belgian Government. Furthermore, Frank is the Chairman of a High-Level Group convened by Friends of Europe, which produced the report “Unequal Europe – Recommendations for a more caring EU”.
Luca Visentini
General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC)
Luca was elected as ETUC General Secretary in 2015, after four years as ETUC Confederal Secretary. His trade union experience encompasses 26 years at a regional, national and European level. Luca has taken part in negotiations at EU level on the European Pillar of Social Rights, the future of Europe, relaunching European social dialogue, public investment, economic governance and many other issues of importance to European workers.
Anna Widegren
Secretary General European Health Forum
Anna is the Secretary General of the European Youth Forum, which works to empower young people to participate actively in society to improve their own lives by representing and advocating their needs and interest and those of their organisations. To overcome the challenges faced by young people, the European Youth Forum has three main goals: greater youth participation, stronger youth organisations and increased youth autonomy and inclusion. Prior to her current position, Anna served as the head of secretariat of the European Students’ Union (ESU).  

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Event starts
11 October