Speakers

Christa Schweng,
President, EESC

Christa Schweng was elected President of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) on 28 October 2020 for a period of two and a half years, to run until March 2023. She has been an EESC member for 22 years, working as rapporteur for several opinions.

She is the outgoing president of the EESC's Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship and chaired the Labour Market Observatory from 2013 to 2015.

Ms Schweng gained deep expertise in social and employment issues, working as an advisor both at EU level and in her native Austria. Outside the EESC, she works for the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber.

She has been a member of the Advisory Committee on Safety and Health at Work since 1995 and has held every three years the rotating presidency of the Board of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work since 2001. She chaired the SMEunited Social Affairs Committee between 2001 and 2009.

Christa Schweng holds a master's degree in law from the University of Vienna.

Kadri Simson,
Commissioner, European Commission

Kadri Simson is an Estonian politician from the Centre Party. She is serving as a European Commissioner for Energy in the Von der Leyen Commission since 1 December 2019.

She was previously the Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure in Jüri Ratas' first cabinet from 2016 to 2019. During the Estonian Presidency in the Council of the EU, Simson chaired both energy ministers and transport ministers meetings in TTE Council and ministers of economy format in EU Competitiveness Council.

From 2007–2016 Kadri Simson was a member of the 11th, 12th, and 13th Riigikogu and in 2019 she was also elected to the 14th Riigikogu. She holds a Master's degree in Political Science from University College London.

Laurent Michel,
Ministry for the Ecological Transition, France

Mr Laurent Michel, is the General Director for Energy and Climate at the Ministry for the Ecological Transition. A graduate of the Polytechnique, Laurent Michel has held various positions at the Regional Directorate for Industry, Research and Environment (DRIRE) or at the School of Mines from 1991 to 2006. Director of the DRIRE Midi-Pyrénées from 2003 to 2006, he was then appointed Director of Pollution and Risk Prevention, delegate for major risks, within the Ministry of Ecology and Sustainable Development, before taking charge of the General Directorate for Risk Prevention (DGPR) when the Directorate was formed in 2008. Laurent Michel is the General Director for Energy and Climate (DGEC) at the Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition since December 2012.

 

M. Laurent Michel est directeur général de l’énergie et du climat (DGEC) au ministère de la transition écologique depuis 2012. Diplômé de l’école polytechnique, Laurent Michel débute sa carrière à la DRIRE Lorraine où il est responsable de la division environnement-eau. Il rejoint ensuite la DRIRE Languedoc-Roussillon en tant que chef de la division développement industriel et directeur adjoint. En 2000, il prend la direction de la DRIRE Nord Pas-de-Calais puis celle de la DRIRE Midi-Pyrénées. A partir de 2006, il rejoint le ministère du développement durable où il est nommé directeur la prévention des pollutions et des risques, délégué aux risques majeurs, puis directeur général de la prévention des risques (DGPR).

Baiba Miltoviča,
President, TEN Section, EESC

Baiba Miltoviča has been appointed in 2020 President of the “Transport, Energy, Infrastructure and Information Society” Section (TEN) of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). In her previous mandate at the EESC, Ms Miltoviča held a position as Vice-President of the Diversity Europe Group of the European Economic and Social Committee.

Ms Miltoviča is a member of the Consumer Policy Advisory Group established by the European Commission Directorate-General Justice and Consumers.

At the national level Baiba Miltoviča serves as the International and EU Affairs Adviser of the Latvian National Association for Consumer Protection (LPIAA, member of the European Consumer Organization, BEUC) and is Member of the Advisory Board of the Latvian Public Utilities Commission.

Miguel Morcillo,
Covenant of Mayors

Miguel Morcillo is an Environmental and security engineer, authorized waste and emissions agent and consultant instructor for health and safety by the Technical University of Giessen in Germany, he is responsible of CO2- Monitoring in Climate Alliance and has developed CO2 monitoring municipal methodologies used by more than 2.000 local entities in the countries of Germany, Austria, Italy, Luxemburg, Ukraine and Georgia.

He has developed the Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAPs) of municipalities and counties like Hammel-Pyrmont, Worms, Wiesloch, Kaiserslautern and Hanau, and has worked as an adviser for the development of several SEAPs in Ukraine like, Lviv, Dolyna, Vinnytsia and others. He has been working from the early beginning as Technical Helpdesk the Covenant of Mayors and Covenant of Mayors East, playing a big role in the development the SEAP/SECAP methodology.

He is actually part of the CoM EU office working in CO2 monitoring and reporting and also NKE the Covenant of Mayors East and Japan, being also involved in the technical working groups the Global Covenant of Mayors.

Jeppe Mikél Jensen,
Climate Alliance

Jeppe Mikél Jensen is Project Manager at Climate Alliance, a European network of more than 1900 local authorities. Having worked on strengthening local climate action in the EU and UN contexts for over ten years, he has begun the development of the Energy Poverty Advisory Hub together with the EPAH consortium. With Jeppe’s background the focus is on bringing the local expertise in play for empowering and fast-tracking actions for a just energy transition in municipalities of all sizes. Jeppe brings the experiences from his work with existing EU initiatives such as the Covenant of Mayors and the Clean Energy for EU Islands.

Laura Rayner,
European Policy Centre

Laura Rayner is a Policy Analyst at the European Policy Centre (EPC), an independent, not-for-profit think tank dedicated to fostering European integration through analysis and debate, supporting and challenging decision-makers to make informed decisions based on evidence and analysis, and providing a platform for engaging partners, stakeholders and citizens in EU policy-making and in the debate about the future of Europe.

As an Analyst in the Social Europe and Wellbeing Programme of the EPC, Laura works on social policy at EU level, in particular on topics such as the wellbeing economy, the green and digital transitions, the Recovery and Resilience Facility, EMU reform, implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, amongst others. She has been leading the work of the EPC on matters related to a fair energy transition and energy poverty, in particular as part of the Fair Energy Transition for All project, which aims to listen to the voices of those people whose interests are often not properly represented in political debates and to create policy recommendations for the development of, and communication about, fair energy transition policies.

Prior to joining the EPC, Laura worked at Eurodiaconia, a European network of churches and Christian NGOs providing social and healthcare services and advocating social justice, and as Chief of Staff to a Member of the European Parliament.

You can follow her on Twitter @lerayner.

Michel Derdevet,
President, Confrontations Europe

Michel DERDEVET, Senior Advisor EY - Parthenon, ancien Secrétaire Général, Membre du Directoire d’Enedis (2013 - 2019), essayiste français spécialisé sur le sujet de l’énergie. Diplômé d’HEC et d’un DEA en Droit public, il a notamment occupé les postes de Chef de Cabinet de Martin Malvy, Ministre chargé des relations avec le Parlement, Porte parole du Gouvernement, puis ministre du budget (1992-1993), Délégué général adjoint aux affaires communautaires d’ EDF (1993 à 1996), Chef de Cabinet de Christian Pierret, Ministre de l’industrie (1997 à 1999), membre du Comité exécutif et Directeur de la communication et des affaires publiques de RTE (2000 à 2012). Il est l'auteur de plusieurs ouvrages, dont "L’Europe en panne d’énergie’ (2009), où il défend la création d’une Communauté européenne de l’énergie et en appelle à un service public européen de l’énergie, qui permettrait de réduire la pauvreté énergétique. Il rendit le 23 février 2015 au Président de la République, le rapport "Energie, l'Europe en réseaux", où il préconise une vraie relance de l'Europe de l'énergie par une coopération industrielle renforcée en matière d'infrastructures. Michel Derdevet préside le Think Tank Confrontations Europe et la Maison de l’Europe de Paris.

Clotilde Clark-Foulquier,
FEANTSA

Clotilde Clark-Foulquier (M.A. International law, B.A law, B.A public administration) is Project Manager for FEANTSA (the European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless). She coordinates the “Housing Solutions Platform”, a partnership between FEANTSA, the Fondation Abbé Pierre and Housing Europe, aiming to identify, debate and promote innovative solutions for affordable housing in Europe. In this framework, she oversees FEANTSA’s work on energy poverty, working for a fair balancing of climate and social objectives, for a Green deal that truly leaves no one behind.

Pierre Jean Coulon, 
Vice-President, TEN section, EESC

Pierre Jean Coulon is the co-founder of the European Energy Poverty Observatory and the former President of the United Nation Organisation NGO: "Right to Energy".

Rapporteur of "Energy Poverty in Europe".

Vice president of the World Order of International Experts.

After studying economics and journalism, and working for a local French newspaper, Mr Coulon joined a major international energy (electricity and gas) firm, where he rose through the ranks to become a senior international executive.

Alongside his career, Mr Coulon was very social engaged through his trade union work, heading the regional branch of the French Confederation of Christian Workers (CFTC), and later becoming president of the Energy Federation and special adviser for European and International Affairs at the CFTC.

Mr Coulon has been active in various bodies: as chair of the Family Allowance Office, a member of the employment tribunal (Conseil de Prud'hommes), member of the Economic and Social Council of his region, as well as chair of the regional Red Cross, where he worked with Michel Barnier, president of the Albertville Olympic Games, in 1992. Mr Coulon also served as deputy secretary on the European Works Councils (EWCs) of his firm.

His interest in energy and his social activism led to him co-found the NGO Right to Energy SOS Future, of which he later became president. Embracing some 250 organisations located in almost 60 countries, the organisation collaborates closely with the UN, where Mr Coulon was a member of the Commission for Sustainable Development for six years and took part in many summits and COPs, including the ones in Johannesburg, Rio, Copenhagen, Marrakesh and, of course, Paris in 2015.

During this period he set up the Order of International Experts (OMEI), based in Geneva, of which he is currently vice-president with responsibility for Europe.

Mr Coulon joined the European Economic and Social Committee in 2010 (after two years as an alternate), where he is a member of the TEN section (bureau member, vice-president, then president from 2015 to 2020) and the REX section (with a particular interest in the Western Balkans). He has been rapporteur for almost 25 opinions, including the opinion on energy poverty in 2012, which marked the Committee's first recognition of energy poverty as an important issue.

Sébastien Jumel,
Director, ENEDIS

Sébastien Jumel began his professional career as a strategy consultant. He then moved to the EDF Group, where he put his skills to good use in ten positions: group leader in R&D, creator of a start-up incubator, co-founder of EDF Business Innovation (a corporate venture entity), director of partnerships, chief of staff to the CEO of EDF, regional sales director for the Ile de France region, director of marketing for individuals and professionals at EDF, managing director of Edelia (the EDF Group's digital subsidiary), and head of the Europe zone in the International Division.

In 2020, he joined Enedis. As a member of the Executive Committee, he is in charge of Development, Innovation and Digital, Chairman of Enedis D & Chairman of the ORE agency.

Florian Guillotte,
Les 7 Vents

Florian Guillotte, Co-manager, Head of the “Innovation and European projects” division, Les 7 Vents, REScoop.eu member

Florian Guillotte joined the SCIC Les 7 Vents du Cotentin in 2005 as a research officer. He developed activities related to international cooperation, wind energy and hydroelectricity. Gradually, his activities were oriented towards the transversality of territorial, energy and sustainable development approaches as a project manager.

Since 2012, he is Head of the Innovation and Sustainable Development Laboratory. Concerning the emergence of innovative projects, he participated in the creation of the first local energy agency in Basse-Normandie by writing the project proposal submitted to the European Union. He then developed a state of the art and a proposal to create the conditions for the emergence of a sustainable fuel cell industry in Lower Normandy. His work is also focused on the implementation of the ACE project, in which ten partners from five countries aim to use international cooperation to develop renewable energy in North-Western Europe.

Florian Guillotte holds a master's degree in Technological Innovation and the European Union from the Institut Des Sciences et Techniques de l'Ingénieur in Angers.

Marina Varvesi,
AISFOR

Marina Varvesi has been working on energy poverty at European and Italian level over the last 10 years with a very practical on the ground approach. As responsible of the innovation and research area within the Italian company AISFOR, she has worked on numerous European projects related to energy poverty and she coordinated the ASSIST project (grant number 754051). Today she is also responsible in AISFOR of the European initiative on energy poverty EPAH (Energy Poverty Advisory Hub).

Building on the results of the ASSIST project, aiming to test an innovative holistic model to support the implementation of actions supporting citizens in need based on the figure of the household energy advisors (HEA), she worked to consolidate and scale the model in Italy. Since the beginning of 2022, she is co-founder and President of the non-profit organisation called RETE ASSIST with the aim to create a national network of all actors (operators and actors) actively engaged on the ground to address energy poverty. RETE ASSIST will be responsible of the training and networking of the HEAs, operators already active on the ground with empowered competencies, specifically trained to support vulnerable consumers and to design and carry out actions to address energy poverty. RETE ASSIST will also support the networking between the different stakeholders and promote the bridge between the HEAs and the actors with the final objective to increase the knowledge and capacity of al actors to address energy poverty.

Thierry Coosemans,
Renaissance - Horizon 2020 project

Thierry Coosemans obtained his PhD in Engineering Sciences from Ghent University in 2006. After several years in the industry, he became a member of the MOBI research team at the VUB, where he works now as the co-director of the EVERGI team on sustainable energy communities and Vice-president of the Electric Engineering and Energy Technology Department (ETEC). He is currently involved in the scientific support for the Green Energy Park Zellik, and had an active role in Flanders Make, the Living Labs Electric Vehicles Flanders and the VLAIO-funded projects ROLECS, MAMUET and OPTIBIDS. On a European level, Thierry was and is involved in the H2020 and FP7 projects SafeDrive, OPERA4FEV, SuperLIB, Smart EV-VC, Batteries20202, GO4SEM, FIVEVB, ELIPTIC, MOBILITY4EU, FUTURE-RADAR, OBELICS, REDIFUEL, CEVOLVER, BD4OPEM, INTERCONNECT and RENAISSANCE, which he coordinates. His main research interests are the development of CO2-neutral Sustainable Local Energy Systems, electric and hybrid propulsion systems, and the performances of electric-vehicle fleets under real-life conditions, including in a V2G perspective. Thierry Coosemans is an active member of EARPA, EGVIA, the Bridge Initiative and Flux 50.

Martha Myers,
Right to Energy Coalition

Martha Myers is Climate Justice and Energy Poverty Campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe. Before joining Friends of the Earth Europe, she was Zero Waste Hub coordinator at SHRUB Coop, as well as International Solidarity Team coordinator at Extinction Rebellion.

She holds a master’s degree in Sustainable Development and Anthropology from the University of Edinburgh.

Lutz Ribbe,
Member, EESC

Lutz Ribbe is an EESC Member of Diversity Europe Group (Group III); member of the Section for Transport, Energy, Infrastructure and the Information Society and of the Section for Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment.

Director of the Department for Nature Conservation Policy at the environmental foundation EuroNatur.

Lutz Ribbe has been a German member of the European Economic and Social Committee for more than 20 years. His work at the Committee focuses on energy policy and environmental issues. In recent years, he has taken a special interest in the transition towards a sustainable, decentralised energy supply structure in Europe and the central role citizens and local communities should play in this process. His work in Brussels draws on his distinguished career in leading German environmental non-government organisations (EuroNatur, BUND) and his hands-on experience as an advisor and developer of local energy transition projects in different EU Member states. He is also the author of more than 200 publications in the field of energy and environment, including the co-authoring of four monographs.

Aleksandra Tomczak,
Member of Cabinet of the Executive Vice President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans

Aleksandra Tomczak is a Member of Cabinet of the Executive Vice President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans in charge of the European Green Deal. As part of the Green Deal Cabinet Aleksandra is responsible for Just Transition in European coal and carbon-intensive regions. Prior to joining the Cabinet of Frans Timmermans, Aleksandra has been leading the establishment of the European Commission Platform for Coal Regions in Transition and has been responsible for the European Commission policy on coal.
Before joining the European Commission Aleksandra spent five years working for the international coal industry in areas such as carbon capture and storage.

Aleksandra holds a post-graduate degree in European Politics and Administration from the College of Europe and a graduate degree in International Relations from Sciences Po Bordeaux and Cardiff University. She speaks Polish, English and French and has basic knowledge of Bulgarian and Spanish.

Patrizia Heidegger,
European Environmental Bureau

Patrizia Heidegger is the Director for Global Policies and Sustainability at the European Environmental Bureau. She has been working as an advocate for global justice at the intersection of human rights, environment and development for more than 10 years.

She was previously Executive Director of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, a global coalition of environmental, human and labour rights organisations. She was also Policy Advisor & Coordinator and Personal Advisor of the chairmen of the Green Group in the Bavarian Parliament.

She holds a master's degree in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law from the European-University Viadrina in Frankfurt.

Adel El Gammal,
European Energy Research Alliance

Adel El Gammal is the Secretary General of the European Energy Research Alliance (EERA). He is a recognized expert and a senior EU Affairs professional in the fields of low carbon technologies, clean energy transition, and climate change. He is also invited professor at the Free University of Brussels (ULB) where he teaches Geopolitics of Energy.

Before joining EERA, he was active in the EU climate energy debate for 14 years, notably as Director of the Becquerel Institute, Executive Director of LowCarbonFacts (European Climate Foundation programme), and Secretary General of the EU Photovoltaic Industry Association (now SolarPower Europe).  Previously to focusing his activities on the clean energy transition, Adel held various international executive positions in blue chip companies active in the field of IT and management consulting.

Adel is civil engineer from Ecole Polytechnique of Brussels, holds degrees in Business Administration from Solvay Business School (Belgium) and Insead (France), and he later specialized in Environment Management (IGEAT, Belgium).

Sorcha Edwards,
Housing of Europe

Sorcha Edwards has been General Secretary of Housing of Europe, the European Federation of Public, Cooperative and Social Housing since 2014.

Housing Europe brings together public, cooperative and social housing providers from across Europe. They share a vision of a Europe which provides access to decent and affordable housing for all in communities which are socially, economically and environmentally sustainable and where everyone is enabled to reach their full potential. The sector manages 25 million homes and delivers over 200,000 new homes and renovations annually.

Sorcha leads the team and coordinates the network for maximum impact aiming at better regulation, better knowledge and better finance for housing. Under her leadership Housing Europe is a point of reference for sustainable housing systems in Europe and beyond.

Before being named Secretary General, Sorcha has dedicated herself to promoting inclusive housing policies and a fair energy transition in the EU and across Europe in several institutions. She graduated from the University of the City of Dublin in applied languages, with a Master in European Studies from the Catholic University of Louvain and a Graduate Certificate focused on Advanced Studies of Energy and Environment from the Alternative Technology Center/University of East London.

Claire Péage,
Sciences Po, Strasbourg

In her final year of the Master's program in European Politics and Public Affairs at Sciences Po Strasbourg, Claire Péage has been involved in various associations promoting environmental protection in France and Spain. In addition, she worked to reduce the energy impact of the French Embassy in Madrid during a "Green Embassy" internship in the summer of 2021. Her interest in social and environmental regulations at the European level encouraged her to study fuel poverty as part of her academic curriculum, in partnership with the Think Tank Confrontation Europe.

Théo Giubilei,
Sciences Po Strasbourg

Théo Giubilei est l'un des auteurs du rapport "16 propositions concrètes pour mettre fin à la pauvreté énergétique dans l'Union européenne", rédigé par dix étudiants du Master 2 Europe de Sciences Po Strasbourg.
Étudiant en "Politiques européennes et affaires publiques", il a décidé de se spécialiser dans les questions énergétiques et environnementales européennes et a rédigé son mémoire de master sur "la décentralisation énergétique comme nouveau moteur de la transition énergétique européenne". Il est actuellement stagiaire au Conseil des Communes et Régions d'Europe dans l'équipe Climat & Energie. Dans ce cadre, il travaille notamment sur le paquet 'Fit for 55' et sur le lien entre le genre et la pauvreté énergétique.

Théo Giubilei is one the author of the report "16 concrete proposals to end energy poverty in the European Union”, which was drafted by ten students of the Master 2 Europe of Sciences Po Strasbourg.
Studying « European politics and public affairs », he has decided to specialize in European energy and environmental issues and wrote his master thesis on « Energy decentralization as a new driver of the European energy transition ». He is currently a trainee in the Council of European Municipalities and Regions in the Climate & Energy Team. He is notably working on the Fit for 55 package and on the link between Gender and Energy Poverty.

Stefano Mallia,
Member of the EESC

Stefano Mallia is a partner at EMCS Ltd responsible for Business and EU Advisory Services, the President of Employers' Group at the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and member of the EESC's Section for Economic and Monetary Union and Economic and Social Cohesion, EESC's Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship and EESC's Section for External Relations. He has been actively involved as Rapporteur in the drawing up of a number of key Opinions on issues such as Brexit, Cohesion Policy, On-Line Gaming, the Common Strategic Framework, Immigration in the Mediterranean, and the drawing up of a Macro-Regional Strategy for the Mediterranean area.

He is also former president of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry, ex-officio Council Member and was heavily involved in the merger between the Malta Chamber of Commerce and the Malta Federation of Industry. He was also the President of the Malta Business Foundation and Board Member of the European Chamber of Commerce.

Stefano Mallia holds an Honours degree in business management as well as a master's degree in European studies from the St Aloysius College Malta.

Ioannis Vardakastanis, President of the European Disability Forum, President of the NCDP of Greece and Vice-President of the Diversity Europe Group (EESC)

Ioannis Vardakastanis was born in Zakynthos, Greece in 1957. He has been an active disability rights campaigner in Greece, Europe and across the world throughout his life. From 2010 until now, he is a member of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) representing the National Confederation of Disabled People of Greece (N.C.D.P.) in Group III. Vardakastanis holds the office of one of the Vice - Presidents of Group III. He has been the President of the N.C.D.P. since 1993, which is the umbrella organization of the Greek disability movement. Also, he has been the President of the European Disability Forum (EDF) since 1999. Since 2007 he has been the EDF representative in the International Disability Alliance (IDA), where from 2010 to 2012 he held the position of the Vice-Chair and from 2012 to 2014 the position of the Chair. Today he holds the office of IDA Treasurer.