The Speakers

Micheál Martin

Taoiseach, Ireland

Micheál Martin was elected Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland in June 2020, succeeding Leo Varadkar (Fine Gael-EPP). He will lead the coalition government of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party-Greens/EFA until December 2022. He has been leader of the Fianna Fáil party since January 2011. He is fully committed to the European project, speaking recently of the need for ‘Ireland to take a more active role not just in defending Europe but in helping to develop Europe’. Mr Martin started his political career in local politics in Cork in 1985, being first elected to the Dáil in 1989. He has held a number of ministerial portfolios including Education and Sciences (1997–2000), Health and Children (2000–2004), Enterprise, Trade and Employment (2004–2008) and Foreign Affairs (2008–2011). He has a BA and MA from University College Cork.

Nicolas Schmit

European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, European Commission

Nicolas Schmit took up office as European Commissioner responsible for Jobs and Social Rights in December 2019. Prior to this, he served as a Member of the European Parliament for the social-democratic Lëtzebuerger Sozialistesch Aarbechterpartei following his election in May 2019. From 2009 to 2018, he held the position of Minister for Labour and Employment in the Luxembourgish government. In 2004, he was appointed Minister Delegate for Foreign Affairs and Immigration. Following a long career of public service, he took up duty as Permanent Representative of Luxembourg to the EU in 1998 for a six-year term. Nicolas Schmit holds a Doctorate in International Economic Relations and a Masters in French Literature from the University of Aix-Marseille.

Ivailo Kalfin

Executive Director, Eurofound

Ivailo Kalfin was appointed Executive Director of Eurofound in 2021. Before taking up this post, he was Director of the Economics and International Relations Institute in Sofia. He has served as Bulgaria’s Deputy Prime Minister on two occasions, as well as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Labour and Social Policy. He was also a Member of the European Parliament (2009–14), a member of the high-level Monti group (2014-2017) and senior adviser on budget at the European Commission (2017–2019). Earlier in his career, he was a member of the Advisory Board of the Bulgarian National Bank and Economic Policy Secretary to the President of Bulgaria. Mr Kalfin holds MSc degrees in international economic relations and international banking from the University of National and World Economy in Sofia and Loughborough University, UK, respectively. He has honorary doctorates from Loughborough University and the University of Ruse, Bulgaria.

Maria Jepsen

Deputy Director, Eurofound

Maria Jepsen joined Eurofound as its Deputy Director in 2019. Prior to this, she was Director of the research department at the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI), and assistant professor and research fellow at the Free University of Brussels (ULB). She is currently also an associate professor in labour economics at ULB and external lecturer at the Catholic University of Louvain (UCL). Her main research interests include gender studies, the impact of welfare states on labour supply, wages and working conditions and, more recently, the development of the European social dimension. Ms Jepsen has been a member of various committees, councils and advisory boards at national and international level dealing with employment, social, gender and research issues. She has also served as a coordinator on the European Commission’s tripartite advisory committee on health and safety at work. She holds a PhD in economics and a Master’s degree in econometrics from ULB.

Massimiliano Mascherini

Head of Unit, Social Policies, Eurofound

Massimiliano Mascherini has been Head of the Social Policies unit ad interim at Eurofound since October 2019. He joined Eurofound in 2009 as a research manager, designing and coordinating projects on youth employment, NEETs and their social inclusion, as well as on the labour market participation of women. In 2017, he became a senior research manager in the Social Policies unit where he spearheaded new research on monitoring convergence in the EU. Previously, he was scientific officer at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission. He studied at the University of Florence, where he majored in actuarial and statistical sciences and attained a PhD in applied statistics. He has been visiting fellow at the University of Sydney and at Aalborg University and visiting professor at the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

Barbara Gerstenberger

Head of Unit, Working Life, Eurofound

Barbara Gerstenberger is Head of the Working Life unit at Eurofound. In this role, she coordinates the research teams investigating job quality in Europe based on the European Working Conditions Survey, runs the European Observatory of Working Life, and carries out research into industrial relations in the EU. She joined Eurofound in 2001 as a research manager in the then newly established European Monitoring Centre on Change (EMCC). In 2007, she moved to Eurofound’s Information and Communication unit as Head of Communication Products, before being appointed Coordinator in the Directorate in March 2011. Previously, she worked as senior research officer in the European Metalworkers’ Federation in Brussels. A graduate in political science from Hamburg University, she completed a Master’s degree in public administration at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Tadas Leončikas

Senior Research Manager Social Policies Unit, Eurofound

Tadas Leončikas is a Senior Research Manager in the Social Policies unit at Eurofound. His main responsibilities are managing the European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) and developing Eurofound’s survey research. Since joining Eurofound in 2010, he has worked on various topics including survey methods, quality of life, social mobility, social inclusion, trust and housing inadequacies. In his earlier career, he headed up the Institute for Ethnic Studies in Lithuania where he worked on studies related to the situation of ethnic minorities, migrants and other vulnerable groups. As a researcher, he has previously collaborated with the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, the United Nations Development Programme and the International Organization for Migration. He has a PhD in sociology.

John Hurley

Acting Head of Employment Unit, Eurofound

John Hurley has been acting Head of Unit for Employment at Eurofound since 1 September 2021. He took up the role of research manager in February 2012. In his current role, he manages the Employment unit and is responsible for the European Restructuring Monitor (ERM) events database, while contributing to a number of research projects such as the European Jobs Monitor. He has authored or co-authored over 20 reports as well as journal contributions and edited collections during his time at Eurofound. His main research interests are in the areas of comparative labour market analysis, restructuring and the changing world of work. John is a graduate of both Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin.

Mary McCaughey

Head of Information and Communication, Eurofound

Mary McCaughey is Head of Information and Communication in Eurofound. A graduate of Trinity College, Dublin and the College of Europe, Bruges, she started work in Brussels with Europolitics and the Wall Street Journal Europe. She worked with the Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa (AWEPA) in South Africa during the country’s transition to democracy, and in 1998 she took up the post of spokesperson with the Delegation of the European Union in Pretoria, heading up its press and information department during the negotiation of the EU–South Africa free trade agreement. Following the end of the Kosovo War, she worked as a communications consultant for the European Agency for Reconstruction in Serbia. She took up the post of Editor-in-Chief in Eurofound in 2003.

Élisabeth Borne

Minister for Labour, Employment and Economic Inclusion, France

Élisabeth Borne has served as French Minister of Labour, Employment and Economic Inclusion since July 2020. She spent a large part of her career in the public sector as an advisor in various ministerial cabinets, including the Cabinet of Prime Minister Lionel Jospin from 1997 to 2002. In 2002, she joined the SNCF as Director of Strategy and in 2008 became General Director of urban planning for the City of Paris. In 2013, she was appointed Prefect of the Poitou-Charentes region and in 2015 became Chief Executive Officer of the Paris public transport network RATP. Ms Borne was appointed Minister for Transport in 2017, attached to the Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, before being nominated Minister for Ecological and Inclusive Transition in 2019.

Alexander Boto Bastegieta

General Director, Ihobe

Alexander Boto Bastegieta is the General Director of Ihobe, the Basque Environment Agency. In this role, he leads the organisation’s work to support the government’s department that drives the economic policy and competitiveness of the main economic sectors in the Basque Country, bolstering the regional expertise in key areas such as circular economy, climate change, soil protection and biodiversity, and environmental sustainability, among others.

Alexander has a Degree in Economics and a Master’s in Territorial Planning and Environment from the London School of Economics, and he is an expert of the European Commission on environment and economic competitiveness. Former Director of Environment and Climate Change of the Basque Government, he has been working for more than 20 years in Ihobe, responsible for environmental planning. In his academic facet, he has taught postgraduate classes in different Universities on subjects such as: Agenda 2030, Environmental Innovation, Circular Economy and Climate Change.

Milena Büchs

Associate Professor in Sustainability, Economics and Low Carbon Transitions at the Sustainability Research Institute, University of Leeds.

Milena Büchs is Associate Professor in sustainability, economics and low carbon transitions at the Sustainability Research Institute (SRI), University of Leeds. Blending theories and methods from ecological economics, social policy and sociology, her research focuses on sustainable welfare and just transitions. Dr Büchs is co-investigator at the Centre for Research on Energy Demand Reduction (funded by UK Research and Innovation), where she studies the inequality of energy use and emissions and fair emission reduction. She is also primary investigator at the EU Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship ShaRe project (with co-investigator Dr Diana Ivanova), looking into the role of sharing within and between households for carbon reduction. Prior to joining the SRI, Milena was a lecturer in sociology and social policy at the University of Southampton (2005–2016). She has an MSc in Sociology with Political Science and Economics from the University of Berlin and a PhD in Social Policy from Humboldt University Berlin.

Camilla Cavendish

Contributing Editor at the Financial Times

Camilla Cavendish is a journalist and broadcaster who is an independent peer in the UK House of Lords. She is a Senior Fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School and a Contributing Editor at the Financial Times where she writes a weekly OpEd column. Camilla’s career has spanned both the private and public sectors. She was Head of the Downing Street Policy Unit under Prime Minister David Cameron and a non-executive Director of the Care Quality Commission, the national NHS and care regulator. In 2020, Ms Cavendish became a temporary adviser to the Secretary of State for Health during the Covid-19 pandemic, drafting a set of recommendations on health and social care reform. She started her career at McKinsey & Co and also worked for the CEO of Pearson PLC. She is the author of Extra time: Ten lessons for an ageing world (Harper Collins, 2019). She holds degrees from Oxford and Harvard.

Emmy Coffey Nguyen

Youth representative and Ireland’s alternative citizen representative to Conference on the Future of Europe

Emmy Coffey Nguyen is an entrepreneur, athlete and activist. She is the founder of tech start-up ProudPlanet, a platform dedicated to tackling greenwashing and helping businesses communicate their social and environmental aims. In 2021, she was appointed by the Irish Minister of European Affairs as the Alternate National Citizen Representative to the Conference on The Future of Europe. A former Board Director and Deputy Chair of the Africa Ireland Centre, she previously worked with Sport Against Racism Ireland and UNICEF. Her private sector experience in international trade and digital transformation was gained from positions held with the World Trade Centre Dublin/World Trade Centre Association and Salesforce. Ms Coffey Nguyen has a degree in politics and international relations from University College Dublin and is a graduate of the business sustainability management course at Cambridge’s Institute of Sustainability Leadership (CISL). She is a regular speaker on issues related to human rights and corporate social responsibility, with notable contributions made at the United Nations and OSCE.

Nicholas Creswell

Global Head of Culture & Talent, Ørsted

Nicholas Creswell is Global Head of Culture & Talent at Ørsted, the Danish renewable energy company, whose vision is to create a world run entirely on green energy. For over 25 years, he has helped global organisations identify, develop and deploy a diverse group of employees and build cultures where everyone can thrive. Prior to his current position, he worked at media giant Thomson Reuters for nine years, and earlier worked at Google, Korn/Ferry and United Biscuits. He has a BA in Government and EU Studies from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and an MBA from London Business School.

Zsolt Darvas

Senior Fellow at Bruegel, Senior Research Fellow at Corvinus University of Budapest

Zsolt Darvas is a Senior Fellow at the Brussels-based think tank, Bruegel, and a Senior Research Fellow at the Corvinus University of Budapest. Before joining Bruegel, he was Research Advisor of the Argenta Financial Research Group in Budapest. Earlier, he worked in the research unit of the Central Bank of Hungary where he served as Deputy Head between 2001 and 2005. He has held visiting researcher positions at the Bank of Finland, Deutsche Bundesbank, De Nederlandsche Bank, Stockholm School of Economics and Bruegel, and worked on research projects conducted by the European Commission, European Parliament, OECD, World Bank and Asian Development Bank. A citizen of Hungary, Mr Darvas holds a PhD in economics from Corvinus University of Budapest, where he also currently teaches econometrics. His current work focuses on policy-related issues, such as policies to address the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, European economic governance, income inequality and migration.

Otilia Dhand

Managing Director, Teneo

Otilia Dhand is a Managing Director at Teneo, the global CEO advisory firm. She is also a member of the High-Level Advisory Group to the European Commissioner for Economy, Paolo Gentiloni, which assesses the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on European economy and society. She holds a PhD in geopolitics from King’s College London, a degree in Russian and East European studies from St Anthony’s College, Oxford University, and a degree in international relations and diplomacy from Matej Bel University in Slovakia. She is regularly quoted in the international media, including The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN and Reuters, and she frequently appears in live commentaries and expert debates on the BBC, Bloomberg TV and CNBC.

Anna Diamantopoulou

Chair of the High-Level Group on the Future of Social Protection in the EU

Anna Diamantopoulou is Chair of the European Commission’s high-level group on the future of social protection and of the welfare state in the EU. She is also President of DIKTIO (Network for Reform in Greece and Europe), a leading non-partisan, Athens-based think tank. Ms Diamantopoulou served as European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities (1999-2004) and has also held several ministerial portfolios in the Greek government. Ms Diamantopoulou is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Brussels-based think tank Friends of Europe, a Council Member of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), a member of the Scientific Council of the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) and a member of the Advisory Board of the Delphi Economic Forum. She serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Coca Cola HBC and on the Global Advisory Board of KEKST CNC, a global strategic communications firm.

Bernhard Ebbinghaus

Professor of Sociology at the University of Mannheim

Bernhard Ebbinghaus is Professor of Sociology at the University of Mannheim, Germany. Previously he spent five years at Oxford, where he was Professor of Social Policy and Head of the Department of Social Policy and Intervention (2017–20) and Senior Research Fellow at Green Templeton College. He holds a PhD from the European University Institute and was awarded a habilitation in sociology by the University of Cologne. His research interests include the politics and outcomes of welfare state reforms, comparing pension systems, employment policies during crises, and the role of public attitudes and organised interests. Most recently he edited (with J. Timo Weishaupt) The role of social partners in managing Europe’s Great Recession: Crisis corporatism or corporatism in crisis? (Routledge, 2021) and (with Elias Naumann) Welfare state reforms seen from below: Comparing public attitudes and organized interests in Britain and Germany (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).

Gita Gopinath

First Deputy Managing Director, International Monetary Fund

Eva Jensen

Head of Climate change, Energy and Transport at EEA

Eva Jensen is Head of Climate change, Energy and Transport (CET) at the European Environment Agency (EEA). In this role, she is responsible for the strategic development of the Agency’s work in the areas of climate change mitigation and adaptation, land use change and forestry, as well as the cross-cutting themes of energy and transport. Before joining the EEA, she worked as Director of Secretariat for the Danish Council on Climate Change, Head of Cabinet and Deputy Head of Cabinet for the European Commissioner for Climate action, and as Head of Department and Special Advisor at the Danish Ministry of Climate and Energy, the Danish Ministry of the Environment, the Danish Environmental Protection Agency and the Danish Energy Agency. Ms Jensen has an MSc in economics and management from the University of Copenhagen and almost 20 years of professional experience in climate and energy issues.

Barbara Kauffman

Director, Employment and Social Governance, European Commission

Barbara Kauffmann is Director of Employment and Social Governance at the European Commission (DG for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion) since 2015. Her current responsibilities include the European Semester coordination, EU legislative initiatives including an EU framework on minimum wages, as well as fair green and digital transition aspects. She is also in charge of the support to Greece and Cyprus notably through the European Social Fund and was in charge of Social Dialogue for six years. Ms Kauffmann studied economics at the University of Heidelberg and obtained her PHD at the University of Florida. After working at the Kiel Institute of World Economics and the German Ministry of Finance, she joined the Commission (DG for Economic and Financial Affairs) in 1991, and was mainly responsible for country and fiscal surveillance until she joined DG Employment.

Anna Kopp

Director IT, Microsoft

Anna Kopp has been IT Director at Microsoft Germany since 2015 and has worked with the company since 2004. She is co-chair of the Women@Microsoft Board. She previously worked at a global level as Customer Satisfaction Lead and led the EMEA-wide mid-market sales organisation. She has been working in the IT industry since 1993, in a variety of sales, operations and management roles. She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Munich Business School and of the Board of Directors of Münchner Kreis. A graduate in international communication from Stockholm University, Ms Kopp is a native of Sweden but has lived in Germany since completing her studies in 1992. She has won a number of technology and industry awards and in 2020 was voted one of Germany’s most inspiring women. She is an expert in the new world of work viewed from a cultural, political and practical perspective and advocates flexible working models.

Ivan Krastev

Chair of the Centre for Liberal Strategies

Ivan Krastev is Chair of the Centre for Liberal Strategies in Sofia and a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM) in Vienna. A political scientist, he is a founding board member of the European Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the Board of Trustees of the International Crisis Group and a member of the Board of Directors of GLOBSEC.
He is also an Associate Editor of Europe’s World and a Member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Democracy and the journal Transit – Europäische Revue. He was a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times from 2015 to 2021. Mr Krastev is the author of several works, including Is it tomorrow, yet? Paradoxes of the pandemic and The light that failed: A reckoning, on East European politics (co-authored with Stephen Holmes), which was awarded the Lionel Gelber Prize. He is a graduate of Sofia University.

Albert Kruft

Advisor, Central Works Council of Solvay, Germany

Albert Kruft is an Advisor at the central works council of Solvay in Germany. Following his studies as a technician in chemistry, he started his professional life in 1973 as an apprentice with Solvay. During his long career at Solvay, his roles have included production manager, business economist and head of the logistics department. He began his union activities as a member of the local works council and became a member of the central works council of Germany. In 1996 he joined the European Works Council as a member and representative from Germany. In 2014, Mr Kruft was elected as chair of the central works council from Germany and took on the full-time position of employee representative. Mr Kruft was the one of the architects of Solvay’s Global Forum started in 2016. He has been a member of many works groups at European level, notably the Workers Voice of the Hans Boeckler Foundation, and has negotiated and signed many agreements.

Liselotte Lyngsø

Managing Partner, Future Navigator

Liselotte Lyngsø is Managing Partner of innovation and futurist company Future Navigator. Prior to that, she was Director at Fahrenheit 212, an ideas company owned by Saatchi. Previously she worked for eight years as Director of Research at the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies. Since 2002, she has been a member of the EU Foresight editorial board and she is a founding member of the Global Future Forum. Ms Lyngsø works extensively with scenarios for the future, innovation, technologies, and megatrends that have consequences for the way we think, work, feel and travel. Liselotte is in high demand as a keynote speaker throughout Europe and the United States and a consultant for several global organisations. Born in Denmark, she has an MPhil in Economics and Politics from St Antony’s College, Oxford University.

Debora Revoltella

Director, Economics Department, European Investment Bank

Debora Revoltella is Director of the Economics Department of the European Investment Bank and also the bank’s Chief Economist, a position she has held since 2011. She previously worked as an adjunct professor in macroeconomics at Bocconi University, before joining the research department of Banca Commerciale Italiana. In 2001, she joined UniCredit as the chief economist for Central and Eastern Europe. During her tenure there, the department developed into a leading research centre for the region. Ms Revoltella holds an MA in economics from Bocconi University and a PhD in economics from the University of Ancona. She is a member of the steering committees of the Vienna Initiative and the CompNet, and a member of the boards of the Joint Vienna Initiative, the European Money and Finance Forum (SUERF) and the Euro 50 Group.

Carlien Scheele

Director of the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE)

Carlien Scheele is Director of the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), the EU agency based in Vilnius, Lithuania. EIGE’s mission is to provide reliable and policy-oriented research to support the EU and its Member States in promoting gender equality. At the helm since February 2020, Ms Scheele is responsible for overseeing EIGE’s strategic programmes of activities and budgets. Her aim is to consolidate EIGE’s position as the EU’s knowledge centre on gender equality and to deepen collaboration within and beyond Europe. Before taking up her post at EIGE, Ms Scheele was seconded from the Dutch government to work as a Senior Gender Equality Adviser/Senior Human Resources Adviser at the Council of Europe. Previously, she was Director for Gender and LGBT Equality for the Dutch government, where she coordinated national gender and LGBT equality policies

André Sobczak

Vice-president of Nantes Métropole

André Sobczak is Vice-President of the Nantes Métropole conurbation, with responsibility for Europe, employment and corporate social responsibility. He chairs the Territorial Association for the Development of Jobs and Skills of Nantes Metropole and the École de la 2ème Chance (E2C – Second chance school) of Nantes Saint-Nazaire. He represents Nantes Métropole on the Eurocities Executive Committee and was Vice-President, then President, of the Eurocities Economic Development Forum. In addition to his political commitment, André Sobczak is professor of corporate social responsibility at Audencia Business School, where he directs the Positive Impact Chair and the specialised master’s degree ‘Actor for energy transition’. He has a master’s in social law from Nantes University and a PhD in European social law from the European University Institute.

Natacha Valla

Dean of the School of Management and Innovation at Sciences Po Paris

Natacha Valla is Dean of the School of Management and Innovation at Sciences Po Paris. She is also a non-executive Director of LVMH, Scor and ASF/Cofiroute Vinci Motorways. She spent most of her career at the European Central Bank, where she was Deputy Director General for Monetary Policy under the leadership of Mario Draghi until 2020. She also worked for seven years in global investment research at Goldman Sachs. An economist by profession, her areas of expertise are monetary and international economics and she has written a number of books and articles on related subjects. She studied at Université Lyon II, Georgetown University and holds a PhD in economics from the European University Institute. Her current areas of interest include the future of money and monetary policy, the implications of extra-financial accounting rules for environmental and social sustainability, and the development of new finance.

Luca Visentini

General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation

Luca Visentini is General Secretary of ETUC, having been re-elected to this position for a second term in 2019. Prior to this, he served as ETUC Confederal Secretary. As General Secretary, he is responsible for guiding and coordinating ETUC policy. This involves engaging in meetings with EU and national leaders, institutions and social partner organisations, coordinating the relationship with affiliates, supervising the budget and human resources, and keeping ETUC staff abreast of European policy developments affecting trade unions. He has taken part in EU-level negotiations on the European Pillar of Social Rights, the future of Europe, the relaunching of European social dialogue, public investment and economic governance. Mr Visentini has been active in the trade union movement since 1989. Prior to his work with ETUC, he contributed to UIL’s work as General Secretary in one of the 20 Italian regions and as a member of the UIL steering and executive committees.