Speakers Profiles

Johannes Hahn is the current Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement
Negotiations. In this portfolio, he launched together with High Representative of the Union for
Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, a comprehensive reform of the European
Neighbourhood Policy. From 2010-2014 he has served as Commissioner for Regional Policy. At the
national level, Mr. Hahn served in the Austrian Government between 2007-2010 as Minister of
Science in Research. Between 1996-2007 he was a member of the Vienna regional parliament. From
1997-2003 he worked in the private sector as a board member and later CEO of Novomatic AG. Mr
Hahn holds a doctorate in philosophy obtained at the University of Vienna.

Steven Blockmans is a senior research fellow and the head of the 'EU foreign policy' and 'politics
and institutions' units of the Centre European Policy Studies (CEPS). He has published widely on
the institutional structures for EU external action, the Union’s role in global governance, norm
promotion and norm absorption, the EU enlargement policy, relations with neighbouring countries,
Common Foreign and Security Policy, Common Security and Defence Policy, trade, development,
and humanitarian aid. Mr. Blockmans is a Professor of EU External Relations Law and Governance
at the University of Amsterdam (part-time) and one of the founding members of the Centre for the
Law of EU External Relations (CLEER). Previously he was head of the department of research at
the T.M.C. Asser Institute, an inter-university research centre based in The Hague. Throughout his
career, Mr Blockmans has combined his academic work with contract research carried out for EU and national donors,
consultancy and training activities for professionals.

Helga Schmid is the current Secretary General of the European External Action Service since
September 2016 and previously served as its Political Director and Deputy Secretary General from
2011 to 2016. Previously she worked for the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin as Head of the Political
Staff and Head of the Minister's Office from 2003 to 2005 and Deputy Head from 2000 to 2003.
Between 1994-2000 Ms. Schmid was Political Adviser under two German Foreign Ministers:
Joschka Fischer and Klaus Kinkel. Before that she was the Press and Public Affairs Officer at the
German Embassy in Washington, from 1991 to 1994 and Assistant Private Secretary to the Minister
for European Affairs, from 1990 to 1991. Ms. Schimd’s has studied international and European law,
economics, international relations at the Diplomatic Academy and holds an MA in English and
Romance languages, literature, history and politics from the Ludwig Maximilians Universität, Munich and Sorbonne,


Katarína Mathernová is Deputy Director-General at the EC Directorate-General for the
Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, where she is in charge of Eastern Neighbourhood,
IFIs and Coordination of Roma Policy. She previously served as Director, Deputy Director –
General and Hors Classe Adviser at the EC Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy.
Before joining the European institutions, she held senior positions at the World Bank, the Ministry
of Economic Affairs of the Slovak Republic and leading international law firms. Ms. Mathernová is
Board member of the Roma Education Fund and Open Society Institute Fellow.

Natalia Gherman is a career diplomat holding the diplomatic rank of Ambassador. Between 20132016 she has served as Deputy Prime-Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European
Integration of the Republic of Moldova. In June-July 2015 she was Acting Prime-Minister of the
Republic of Moldova. Her leadership qualities and excellent negotiation skills are highly appreciated
in her own country and internationally. Ms. Gherman began her public service career in 1991 as the
Second and then First Secretary for the Department of International Organizations of the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Moldova. Between 1994-1997, she was Counsellor and Deputy
Permanent Representative to the UN Agencies in Vienna and the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Between 1997-2001, Ms. Gherman became the Deputy Head of the Department of
European Security and Political-Military Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She served as Minister-Counsellor
of the Embassy of the Republic of Moldova in Brussels as well as Deputy Head of the Mission of Moldova to NATO
from 2001 to 2002. In 2016 she was the Moldovan government’s nomination for UN Secretary-General. Ms. Gherman
received her BA from the State University of the Republic of Moldova and her MA in War Studies from King's College,
University of London.

Heidi Hautala is a third term Member of the European Parliament, member of the Green Group,
Co-President of the European Parliament Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly and
Co-chair of the European Parliamentary Working Group on Reproductive Health HIV/AIDS and
Development. She was previously served as an MEP between 1995-2003 and 2009-2011, when she
the chair of the Committee on Human Rights. Her particular areas of expertise are related to human
rights, transparency, global justice and environmentally responsible legislation. In her home country,
Finland, Ms. Hautala has served as Minister of Development, from 2011 to 2013, and was Member
of the Finnish Parliament, from 2003 to 2009. From 2006 to 2011 she worked as a Member of the
Supervisory Board for Neste Oil. Ms Hautala holds a Master of Sciences degree in Agriculture and
Forestry from the University of Helsinki.