Speakers

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Věra Jourová,
Vice-President of the European Commission
(2019-2024)

Věra Jourová is Vice-President of the European Commission (EC) - (2019-2024)

  • Leading the Commission’s work on values and transparency, upholding the rule of law.
  • Ensuring the democratic system is open, transparent, protected from external interference.
  • Chairing the Commissioners’ Group on a New Push for European Democracy.
  • Playing a lead role in the Conference on the Future of Europe and its follow-up on democratic processes and institutional matters.
  • Brokering talks on improving, notably, the lead candidate system and transnational lists.
  • Maintaining an open, transparent and regular dialogue with other EU institutions, citizens, representative associations and civil society. 
  • Coordinating an EU Democracy Action Plan to address external intervention in EU elections.
  • Tabling legislative proposals to ensure more transparency in paid political advertising and clearer rules on financing European political parties.
  • Supporting work on countering disinformation and fake information, while preserving freedom of expression, freedom of the press and media pluralism.
  • Monitoring implementation of the Code of Practice, with regulatory intervention if necessary.
  • Identifying risks to plurality in the media sector, and proposing cross-border projects to support independent and diverse journalistic activities. 
  • Leading talks on a Transparency Register and independent ethics body for EU institutions
  • Coordinating the European Citizens’ Initiative, giving European more say in decision making.
  • Leading the work on the EU’s accession to the European Convention on Human Rights
  • Monitoring the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights.
  • Safeguarding the right of peaceful assembly and the freedom of association
  • Raising awareness of EU citizenship rights with the Rights, Equalities and Citizenship Programme.
  • Coordinating work on inclusion and building a genuine Union of equality and diversity.

Christa Schweng,
President of the European Economic and Social Committee

Christa Schweng 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.

Cillian Lohan,
Vice-President of the EESC in charge of Communication

Cillian Lohan has been Vice-President for Communication of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) since October 2020, and an active member of the institution since 2015.

He has worked extensively in the corporate and environmental sectors.

He is a leader in the Circular Economy field and was the inaugural chair of the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform, which he helped to establish. Cillian has extensive experience as a delegate to the United Nations, working on initiatives such as the COP climate negotiations and the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

As CEO of the Green Economy Foundation, he has overseen ambitious projects including the planting of over one million trees in Ireland and the establishment of a wildlife reserve in Tobago.

Cillian graduated from University College Cork and the University of Ulster with a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Science.

Ruurd Oosterwoud,
Founder and director of DROG

Ruurd Oosterwoud (1989) is the founder and director of DROG, an organisation that develops innovative ways to combat fake news and disinformation. Ruurd has an MA in Russian and Eurasian Studies. As a student at Leiden University, he was the first to specialise in Russian disinformation (2015). He has provided policy recommendations for a.o. the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the British House of Commons and the European Commission., an organisation that develops innovative ways to combat fake news and disinformation. Ruurd has an MA in Russian and Eurasian Studies. As a student at Leiden University, he was the first to specialise in Russian disinformation (2015). He has provided policy recommendations for a.o. the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the British House of Commons and the European Commission.

Juliane von Reppert-Bismarck,
Founder and Executive Director of Lie Detectors

Juliane von Reppert-Bismarck is the founder and Executive Director of Lie Detectors, an award-winning organisation that works with more than 250 professional journalists to promote critical media literacy among schoolchildren and teachers. She directs Lie Detectors’ development and strategy and designed its concept and training approach.

Juliane advises the European Union institutions, including within the EU Expert Group on Digital Literacy and  High Level Expert Group on Digital Disinformation and Fake News and has advised politicians and lawmakers on anti-radicalisation and lateral literacy in an age of media pluralism. To create Lie Detectors, Juliane put aside an award-winning journalism career, during which she wrote for The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Reuters, MLex and Spiegel Online among others, reporting from Europe and the US as well as from sub-Sarahan Africa, the Middle East and Arctic.

She is an alumna of New York City’s Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the University of Edinburgh and speaks German, English, Spanish and French.