The search for urgent solutions to Europe’s malaise formed the focus of Friends of Europe’s annual State of Europe debate, which drew over 200 influential figures to brainstorm on issues ranging from immigration to boosting inclusive growth.
“We should look at the question of whether Europe matters to the world and whether the world matters to Europe,” said Louise Arbour, UN Special Representative for International Migration, at the opening session of the 15th edition of the high-level roundtable.
Participants examined policy reforms and ways to better promote policies to win back disillusioned voters. The scale of the problem was highlighted by a new Friends of Europe survey that showed 64% of Europeans are not convinced that their lives would be worse without the EU and 49% believe the EU is irrelevant.
“We are totally convinced that we will not build Europe if we don’t have more Europe and better Europe,” said Muriel Pénicaud, French Minister of Labour. “If you ask citizens, they don’t think Europe protects them. They don’t think Europe listens to them. They don’t think Europe serves them.”
Several participants spoke of the need for a strengthened social contract to improve the lives of European citizens, particularly the young.
“Inclusive growth is actually what citizens want, it’s a key ingredient for the survival of our social contract,” said Jacques Bughin, Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company and Director at the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI). “Europe has the power to continue to remain a welfare state.”
Europe needs to up its game in promoting successful policies and making sure the public understands the positive impact of what the EU is doing. “Marketing is not the EU’s overriding strength,” said Marijke Mars, Board Member of Mars Incorporated. “We need to convey our brand message every day … I’m convinced that brand Europe can recapture its market share in citizens’ hearts and minds.”
In particular, Europeans need to take on populist politicians and tackle disinformation campaigns that risk undermining liberal democracies. Fast action is needed, given the approach of the European Parliament elections next year, cautioned Ricken Patel, President and Executive Director of Avaaz.
“There’s one thing I’m afraid off: disinformation, that has knee-capped us in previous elections. Disinformation is a blitzkrieg,” Patel warned. “This is a fundamental threat … they destabilise our societies. We have to mobilise.”
The State of Europe debate was held in the context of #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 years ahead. Using data across a range of fields, Friends of Europe developed a series of scenarios, envisioning a European Union from a 2030-perspective. These were, along with the citizen survey results, factored into the brainstorm discussions throughout State of Europe. The #EuropeMatters project will produce concrete recommendations for the incoming EU leadership.
15th edition of State of Europe – #EuropeMatters
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.
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.
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.
Managing Director at New Horizons Project
Table 1 – Social Models for Tomorrow’s 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?
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Health and Social Affairs
Table 2 – Industrial Policies for the Digital Era
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?
Founder & President of BlaBlaCar and 2015-2016 European Young Leader (EYL40)
Table 3 – The Impact of AI on Europe’s Workforce
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?
Chief Executive Officer of Stemettes and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)
Table 4 – Policy Pushes to decarbonize and close the Carbon Gap
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?
Industrial innovation and low-carbon researcher at the VUB Institute for European Studies
Table 5 – Europe’s Widening Security Neighbourhood
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?
Estonian Deputy Minister for European Affairs
Table 6 – Restructuring the EU’s Political Decision-Making
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?
Founder and Chairman of The Good Lobby, Jean Monnet Professor in EU Law at HEC Paris and 2014 European Young Leader (EYL40)
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.
Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company and Director at the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI)
Spanish Prime Minister
UN Special Representative for International Migration
President and Executive Director of Avaaz
Director, Asia, Peace, Security & Defense, Digital & Chief spokesperson
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?
Board Member Mars Incoporated
Member of the Board of Trustees at the Gulbenkian Foundation, former EU Commissioner and former Portuguese Under Secretary of State
Director, Asia, Peace, Security & Defense, Digital & Chief spokesperson
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.
French Minister of Labour
Corporate Vice-President of Europe, Middle East, Africa, Canada & Latin America at Edwards Lifesciences
Member of the Governing Board, European Youth Parliament
Managing Director at New Horizons Project
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?
Chargé de Mission, Solidar and Head of Young European Socialists Network for the Future of Europe
Chair of the World Refugee Council and Former Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs
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?
Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of AID:Tech
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?
Estonian Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology
CEO of Rovio Entertainment
Chairman of the Joint European Disruptive Initiative (JEDI) and 2013 European Young Leader (EYL40)
Director, Asia, Peace, Security & Defense, Digital & Chief spokesperson
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.
Hailemariam Dessalegn Boshe
former Prime Minister of Ethiopia and former President of the African Union
Anthony L. Gardner
Former US Ambassador to the European Union and Senior Adviser at the Brunswick Group and Sidley & Austin
Austrian Permanent Representative to the Political and Security Committee
Gaitri Issar Kumar
Ambassador of India to Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Union
Managing Director at New Horizons Project
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?
Chair of the Board at Crisis Management Initiative (CMI), former prime minister of Finland and Director and Professor at the School of Transnational Governance at the European University Institute
Former prime minister of Denmark and former CEO of Save the Children International
Editor at Debating Europe
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.
Independent Adviser, former women’s representative to the United Nations and 2014 European Young Leader (EYL40)
Founder and CEO of Financing Agency for Social Entrepreneurship (FASE) and 2017 European Young Leader (EYL40)
Ana Teresa Lehmann
Portuguese State Secretary for Industry
Managing Director at Foxdixneuf , 2013 European Young Leader
Deputy Executive Director UN Women and former Swedish Minister for Gender Equality
General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC)
Founder & CEO of OpenCollective and Co-Founder of Storify and 2017 European Young Leader (EYL40)
Chair of Biodiversity and Collective Behaviour at the University of Konstanz
Parliamentary State Secretary of the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and former Chairwoman of the European Affairs Committee of the Latvian Parliament and 2017 European Young Leader (EYL40)
Senior Fellow at the German Council on Foreign Relations and 2014 European Young Leader (EYL40)
Secretary General European Health Forum
Senior Fellow for Connected Europe, Founder and CEO of W4.org and 2012 European Young Leader (EYL40)
Journalist and analyst specialising in the Euro-Mediterranean region with a particular focus on Libya, European Young Leader Alumna
Foresighter, Founding Partner & CEO, Bureau für Zeitgeschehen
Managing Director at New Horizons Project
Conclusions and the way ahead: Europe fights back
European Commissioner for Justice
President of Friends of Europe, Belgian Minister of State and former vice-president of the European Commission
Jamila is a leading innovator in the fields of youth involvement and social outreach in the Netherlands. She currently works as an independent strategic consultant and sits on the supervisory board of Stichting JES Rijnland, an organisation which promotes the rights of children and young people in education and society. Jamila previously worked as a senior international political trainer for the the Max van der Stoel Foundation, where she worked with political parties and politicians in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and North Africa on a range of topics, including diversity, the inclusion of young people and women, EU enlargement and democracy. She is the former Dutch women’s representative to the United Nations and a former member of the European Elections Programme Committee of the Social Democratic Party of the Netherlands (PVDA). Jamila is also an alumna of Israel’s future European leaders programme and the US Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program.
Alberto Alemanno is an academic, author and activist. He is currently Jean Monnet Professor of EU Law and Public Policy at HEC Paris. Committed to bridging the gap between academic research and policy action, Alberto has pioneered innovative forms of civic engagement and campaigning in the EU transnational space through his civic start-up, The Good Lobby. His book, “Lobbying for Change: Find Your Voice to Create a Better Society”, provides a timely analysis and guide to levelling the democratic playing field by empowering ordinary citizens to speak up and inform policy decisions at the local, national and international levels. He is a regular contributor to Le Monde, Bloomberg, Politico Europe, Forbes, and Il Sole 24 Ore, and his scholarly work has been featured in The Economist, The New York Times, The Financial Times, as well as Science and Nature.
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’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 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 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 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, fin-tech, 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”. He is a fellow of the Aspen Institute, ECORE, and KUL University.
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 is an engineer in computer science who is passionate about the digital renaissance. In 1999, while still at secondary school, he founded Tribal, a site that gathered student content from around Belgium for publication in a magazine that was distributed to 30,000 students nationwide. Ten years later, he co-founded Storify, a social media curation platform that enables users to create stories or timelines using content from social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Storify is now used by top brands, organisations and publishers around the world, including CNN, the New York Times, the United Nations and the White House. More recently, he co-founded OpenCollective, a company that enables groups to collect and spend money transparently without having to create a new bank account.
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 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 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 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 €6m 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. He has experience of working with many social enterprises in finding appropriate financing solutions and scaling-up the impact of proven business models. Markus worked for seven years as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company, where one of his roles was providing pro-bono consulting for social entrepreneurs.
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 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 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.
Prior to founding Project Alloy, Jakob was the CEO and Co-Founder of Tinyclues SAS, a Paris-based software startup with the objective of industrialising datamining on Big Data with the help of advanced machine learning algorithms in a Cloud Computing environment. Previously he was a partner and consultant at McKinsey & Company in Germany and France where he worked on topics ranging from Banking to Public Sector Reform to Global Public Health issues, notably the creation and distribution of child HIV treatments. Prior to McKinsey he briefly worked at the World Bank. He holds a Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a Bachelor of Science from the University of St. Gallen. Jakob is also a founding partner of the “Cercle du Leadership”.
Anne-Marie co-founded and became the CEO of Stemettes in 2013. 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. A child prodigy, Anne-Marie’s passion and success in the STEM scene started at an early age, with passing two GCSEs at the age of ten, and being the youngest girl ever to pass A-Level Computing. In recognition of her influence and achievements, Anne-Marie was awarded an MBE in 2017.
Zanda started her professional career at Jurmala’s city council in 1998. She then worked at the Ministry of Regional Development before joining the Strategic Analysis Commission, where she advised Latvian President Valdis Zatlers on strategic planning. She was elected to the Latvian Parliament in 2011. During her mandate, she chaired the Committee on European Affairs and the Reform Party parliamentary group. In 2014, Zanda was appointed Parliamentary State Secretary in the Latvian government. Her role is to ensure cooperation between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Latvian Parliament and the European Parliament.
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 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 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.
Prior to assuming his current role, Jean-Luc Lemercier served as the Vice-President of transcatheter heart valves EMEA. Under his leadership at Edwards Lifesciences, 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. Jean-Luc also serves as Chair of the Cardiovascular Sector Group of MedTech Europe, the association representing the medical technology industry in Europe.
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 is an entrepreneur and has held leadership positions in private equity, government and industry. He is currently the Chairman of JEDI, which aims to accelerate Europe’s leadership by financing and nurture the development of breakthrough technologies. André previously served as a special advisor to the French Minister of Defence, where he was responsible in particular for European defence policy, as well as technology and innovation, prior to which he has 15 years of experience in private equity and venture capital. André is a lecturer at SciencesPo and a regular columnist at several international media outlets. He has also studied aerospace engineering, and is a private pilot and Colonel with the French Air Force People’s Reserve.
Matti has been heavily involved in effectively implementing the aims of the Estonian Presidency of the EU, the priorities of which include encouraging technological progress, from ensuring the availability and quality of electronic communications to developing cross-border e-commerce as well as digital public services. In addition, Matti works on implementing the Estonian Presidency’s initiatives in the field of migration, security and the EU neighbourhood policy, including fulfilling the objectives of the Eastern Partnership.
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 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. Today, with more than 20 million members worldwide and several million people transported per month, BlaBlaCar is making road travel social, money-saving and more sustainable. Frédéric holds an MBA from INSEAD, a Masters of Science in Computer Science from Stanford and a Masters of Physics from ENS Ulm (Normale Sup). Prior to founding BlaBlaCar, he worked for 3 years as a scientific researcher at NASA (USA), and NTT (Japan). Frédéric is a regular speaker at international conferences and in the media (CNN, Bloomberg, CNBC) on the theme of sustainable development, entrepreneurship, global marketplaces and building trust in online communities. He is also an accomplished classical pianist.
Lindsey Nefesh-Clarke is Founder & CEO of W4.org, a social enterprise dedicated to protecting girls’ and women’s human rights and promoting their empowerment around the world, with a focus on Sustainable Development Goal 5b: harnessing technologies. With a B.A. from Cambridge University & an Executive MBA from ESCP Europe, Lindsey worked in human rights and development in Africa and Asia (Human Rights Watch, UNICEF, Enfants d’Asie) before founding W4. Named a “Women in IT Role Model” by the European Commission and one of the “Inspiring Fifty” women leaders in Europe’s technology sector, Lindsey is a board member of the Women’s Economic Imperative (WEI), which aims to advance the work of the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment. She is also a European Young Leader in the Friends of Europe EYL40 programme and a member of the advisory board of UN Women France.
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 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.
Within his mandate as EU Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders is responsible for ensuring the upholding of the rule of law across the Commissions portfolio including the digital transformation, the green transition as well as the rights of SME and consumer empowerment and protection. The full implementation and enforcement of the General Data Protection Regulation and its global outreach is part of these efforts. A lawyer by training, Didier has more than 20 years of political experience. He formerly served as the Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium, as well as Minister for Defence, Foreign Affairs, and Finance.
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 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.
From serving in the highest office in Finland to participating in the race for the European presidency and being both a Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB) and an academic, Alexander Stubb has done it all. As an avid supporter of the European project, he was at the centre of the negotiations during the Treaties of Amsterdam, Nice and Lisbon. He has also been highly active on the national level, having served as Finance Minister, Foreign Minister and Trade and Europe Minister. For all these efforts, Alexander is widely recognised as an unparalleled force in European politics.
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.
Shahin is Senior Fellow at the German Council on Foreign Relations. He is also 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. 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.
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 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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