Our network

Board of Trustees
Etienne Davignon
President of Friends of Europe, Belgian Minister of State and former European Commission Vice-President

Etienne is one of the few statesmen in Europe who has been actively involved in EU affairs from the beginning, from his early role as Chief of Staff to Paul-Henri Spaak to today. He has held high-level positions in both the public and private sectors, including as Vice-President of the European Commission, President of the Société Générale de Belgique, first President of the International Energy Agency and through various board mandates.

Giles Merritt
Founder & Chairman

Giles founded Friends of Europe in 1999, and its policy journal Europe’s World in 2005. His career as a journalist spanned 15 years as a Financial Times foreign correspondent, the last five as Brussels Correspondent, and 25 years as a contributor of Op-Ed columns to the International Herald Tribune on European political and economic issues. In 2010 he was named by the Financial Times as one of 30 ‘Eurostars’ who most influence thinking on Europe’s future. His latest book is “Slippery Slope: Europe’s Troubled Future” (Oxford University Press, 2016).

Pat Cox
President of Jean Monnet Foundation for Europe and President of the European Parliament (2002-2004)

Pat Cox is an Irish politician and former television current affairs presenter. During his political career, he served as a Member of the European Parliament for over fifteen years and also as President of the European Parliament. Among other achievements, he received the 2004 Charlemagne Prize for his efforts in the eastward expansion of the European Union. After his tenure as MEP, Cox became President of the European Movement International in Brussels until 2010 and currently serves as the President of the Jean Monnet Foundation for Europe in Lausanne.

Robert Cox
Senior Advisor to the European Community Humanitarian Office (1993-1998) and former European Commission Representative to Turkey

Robert Cox is a seasoned journalist and senior EU civil servant. After a start in journalism with the “The Economist” in London and later in central Africa, he embarked on a second career with the European Commission. A spell in policy and economics work and international negotiations in the development field was followed by appointment as Head of the European Commission’s Mission in Turkey. On return to Brussels he held senior policy and management posts with the Commission’s information services. After a detachment to Yugoslavia with the EC Monitoring Mission he served as Deputy Head of the new Humanitarian Office ECHO.

Daniel Daianu
Member of the Board of the National Bank of Romania and former Finance Minister of Romania

Daniel Daianu has held various positions in the political and economic sphere and has authored several books on European and economic issues. A Romanian politician, author, professor of economics, he currently serves as Member of the Board of the National Bank of Romania. Formerly a Finance Minister of Romania, Daianu was the Chief Economist of the National Bank of Romania and later became Member of the European Parliament.

Etienne Davignon
President of Friends of Europe, Belgian Minister of State and former European Commission Vice-President

Etienne is one of the few statesmen in Europe who has been actively involved in EU affairs from the beginning, from his early role as Chief of Staff to Paul-Henri Spaak to today. He has held high-level positions in both the public and private sectors, including as Vice-President of the European Commission, President of the Société Générale de Belgique, first President of the International Energy Agency and through various board mandates.

Alexander De Croo
Belgian Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Digital Agenda and Trustee of Friends of Europe

Alexander de Croo is a Flemish liberal politician, economist and businessman who leads the Belgian government’s efforts to improve digital growth and development. Most notably, he initiated the establishment of an advisory board called “Digital Minds for Belgium”, made up of the country’s top ICT experts, and launched an ambitious action plan “Digital Belgium”, aimed at positioning the country as one of Europe’s top three digital member states. This digital revolution includes developing 1,000 new start-ups, creating 50,000 new jobs, and achieving an electronic government by 2020.

Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
President of the Dutch Advisory Council on International Affairs and NATO Secretary General (2004-2009)

Jaap de Hoop Scheffer is a Dutch politician who prominently served as the 11th Secretary General of NATO. Previously, he worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and at the Dutch delegation at NATO headquarters in Brussels. He now works as President of the Advisory Council on International Affairs (AIV) of the Netherlands, an independent body which advises government and parliament on foreign policy. Furthermore, he was appointed to the Pieter Kooijmans Chair for Peace, Law and Security at Leiden University.

Mikolaj Dowgielewicz
European Investment Bank Representative to the EU institutions, and former Secretary of State for European Affairs and Economic Policy

Mikolaj Dowgielewicz is a Polish politician who currently serves as Director General at the European Investment Bank (EIB) and as the Head of its Brussels Office. Previously, he worked in the Cabinet of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, served as Chairman of the Polish Government's Committee for European Affairs and ultimately became Polish Minister for European Affairs. Additionally, he served as Vice-Governor of the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB).

Sorin Ducaru
Romanian diplomat and Assistant Secretary General for emerging security challenges at NATO (2013-2017)

Sorin Ducaru is a renowned Romanian diplomat. Until recently, he worked as Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges at NATO. Prior to his appointment, he served as Romania’s Permanent Representative to the North Atlantic Council for over seven years. Ducaru twice received the title of “Ambassador of the Year” from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Romania.

Tanja Fajon
Member of European Parliament Delegation for relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo

Tanja Fajon is a politician and journalist, currently serving as Member of the European Parliament. A passionate advocate of freedom of movement and its economic benefits, Fajon was previously the European Parliament rapporteur on the visa liberalisation process for the Western Balkans. In this position, she was instrumental in helping Albania as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina win the right to visa-free travel to Europe.

Monica Frassoni
Co-President of the European Green Party and Member of the European Parliament (1999-2009)

Monica Frassoni is an Italian politician who currently surves as the Co-President of the European Green Party. Prior to that, during her time as Member of the European Parliament, she was Co-Chair of the European Greens–European Free Alliance group in the European Parliament. Previously she served for ten years as an officer of the Greens group in the European Parliament and was Secretary General of the Young European Federalists. In 2010, she co-founded and is the current President of the European Alliance to Save Energy an organisation which aims to promote and advocate energy savings and a new energy model.

European Young Leaders
Greece
Eleni Antoniadou
Co-Founder of Transplants without Donors

Eleni has been working on artificial organ technology and regenerative medicine in hospitals across the world. After graduating in biomedicine, she participated in the first successful artificial trachea transplant operation on a late-stage cancer patient. She is also the co-founder of the London-based start-up Transplants without Donors, which aims to develop tissue-engineered organs that are transplanted into sick patients. Eleni also trained NASA astronauts in biomedical experimentation for the International Space Station (ISS). 

Portugal
Ana Antunes
Microbiologist

Ana is a microbiologist and formerly a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institut Pasteur in Paris. After completing her PhD in Microbiology in 2010 at the University of Lisbon, she moved to Siena, Italy, where she was awarded a Marie Curie Fellowship and worked for Novartis Vaccines & Diagnostics. Having also lectured in vaccinology and pharmaceutical clinical development, Ana has published in peer-reviewed journals and spoken at numerous international conferences. Over the course of her academic career, she has received various grants and fellowships, including from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT). Ana is also co-founder and President of AGRAFr – The Association des Diplômés Portugais en France, which brings together Portuguese expats and French nationals.

Cyprus
Andreas Araouzos
Actor, Director and Producer

Andreas completed courses at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. In 2002, he founded a theatre productions company, Alpha Square, to enhance theatre in Cyprus and provide spectators with an inspirational selection of plays. Andreas has already directed 14 stage productions in his country, including several award-winning plays and his own musical-comedy adaptation of Cinderella, which will tour Greece in 2017. Andreas has also written several plays, such as ‘The Rich Also Cry’, which was staged by Theatro Ena in 2007. He has translated numerous theatre texts from English to Greek and published a collection of articles in Phileleftheros, the biggest-selling newspaper in Cyprus.

Netherlands
Martijn Arets
Founder & CEO Brand Expedition

Martijn is Founder and CEO of Brand Expedition, a new concept enterprise comprising a foundation, consultancy and publishing experience based on sharing the entrepreneurial lessons and stories of well-known brands and inspiring people in the areas of branding, strategy and social media. With his new initiative Forget The Box, he combines the gems of the new and the old world in order to create and implement new concepts regarding value creation, crowdsourcing and crowdfunding—all guided by his philosophy: don’t try to think out of the box, there is no box! In his book Brand Expedition, a best seller in the Netherlands, Martijn has shared his experience meeting with people behind some of the most popular European brands. In 2011, Martijn won the Dutch Entrepreneur of the Year Award and was nominated for ABN AMRO’s Entrepreneurial Book of the Year Award.

Spain
Inés Arrimadas García
Leader of the Opposition in the Catalan parliament

Inés started her career in the private sector working for an industrial services company. In 2010, she attended a Ciudadanos rally with a friend and joined the party shortly afterward as the youth section spokesperson. In 2012, she was elected to the Catalonian Parliament as deputy spokesperson. She sat on the Committee on Business and Employment where she focused on socio-economic issues, such as the fight against inequalities and unemployment. Throughout her mandate, she was actively involved in different programmes at local, regional and national level. In 2015, she was appointed Leader of the Opposition as Ciudadanos climbed to second place in the Catalan parliamentary election

Spain
Eneko Atxa
Chef at three-Michelin-starred restaurant Azurmendi

Eneko is a leader in international cuisine. In 2007, he opened his now-renowned restaurant Azurmendi in the Basque country. Within five years, the restaurant – located in the beautiful town of Larrabetzu – had been awarded three Michelin stars. Azurmendi was named Most Sustainable Restaurant in the World by the World’s 50 Best in 2014 and as number two on Elite Traveler’s 2016 list of the best restaurants in the world. Eneko has a creative mind, skilled hands and a work ethic based on care, precision and speed. His intense cuisine is deeply rooted in the local Basque identity. He has been named Champion Young Chef in Spain and Best Chef of the Year by the prestigious French gourmet club Fourchettes.

United Kingdom
Dawood Azami
Multi-Media Editor at the BBC World Service

Dawood is one of the most promising young journalists and scholars of his generation in the UK. He has been working for the BBC World Service in London as a Senior Broadcast Journalist and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Westminster, where he teaches Globalization, Power and International Governance. He joined the BBC in 1998 and also worked as the BBC World Service Bureau Chief and Editor in Kabul, Afghanistan. He was also a visiting scholar at Ohio State University, USA. He holds three Bachelor's and three Master's degrees, including Science, Law, International Relations and Diplomacy. In 2010, Dawood became the youngest person to ever win the biggest award in the BBC, the “Global Reith Award for Outstanding Contribution”. He is also a poet/writer, calligrapher and painter/artist.

Syria
Tammam Azzam
Painter & Graphic Artist, MENA Delegate

Born in Damascus, Tammam started his career in Syria as a painter and a graphic designer and has since participated with his works in solo and group exhibitions around the world. Following the start of the uprising in Syria, he turned to digital media and graphic art to create visual composites of the conflict that resonated with international viewers. These widely distributed works are informed by his interest in the interventionist potential of digital photography and street art as powerful and direct forms of protest that are difficult to suppress. In early 2013, Tammam made worldwide headlines when his Freedom Graffiti print went viral on social media.

Portugal
Ricardo Baptista Leite
Member, National Parliament of Portugal

Ricardo is best known as a Member of the Portuguese Parliament representing the Social Democratic Party. He is also a medical doctor with specific training in infectious diseases, having studied at Johns Hopkins University and Harvard Medical School, and has an active role on a number of scientific and advisory boards of health-related foundations and organisations – including his role as Head of Public Health at the Catholic University of Portugal. Combining his expert medical knowledge and political career, Riccardo worked towards a PhD in Public Health/Health Management at Maastricht University. Since his election in 2011, the Portuguese-Canadian citizen has expanded his focus beyond health issues and currently serves as Coordinator and Permanent Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee as well as President of the Portugal-Canada Parliamentary Friendship Group.

Romania
Cristina Batlan
Founder, CEO & Head of Design, Musette

Cristina is Founder, CEO and Head of Design at Musette, one of the leading fashion accessory companies in Romania. The brand is present all over the world, with stores in Paris, New York, Luxembourg, Beirut, Budapest, Bulgaria and Israel. In 2004, Cristina was named one of Romania’s “Top Successful Women” and obtained the Oskar Capital award in the “Promising Entrepreneur of the Year” category. In 2005 she launched a new brand, Cristhelen B, exclusive property of Musette. In 2011, she received the prestigious Entrepreneurship Prize at the Business Woman Gala and was named one of the 100 Romanian Successful Young Managers of the Year. She is also Founder of the Arena Leilor Foundation and a member of the International Dinners Club.

Authors and speakers
Adam Daniel Rotfeld
Adam Nyman
Adam Rapacki
Adam S. Posen
Adel Samiei
Adel Zabbarov
Admiral Luigi Binelli Mantelli
Adriaan Schout
Adrián Brito
Adrian Limbidis