The bureau of FEPS

  • Maria Joao RODRIGUES

    position: President of FEPS


    Maria Joao Rodrigues, was elected Member of the European Parliament in 2014, becoming a member of the S&D Group, the second most important EP Group, with 190 members coming from the 28 Member States. She was then elected by this Group as its Vice-President, in charge of general coordination and interface with the other EU institutions and working with the Committees of Economic and Social Affairs.

    After being a Minister of Employment in Portugal, she moved since 2000 to different roles of policy maker in the European Institutions, particularly as member of EU Presidencies leading teams and as special adivisor to the European Commission.

    The main outcomes she has been working for are:

    • The Economic Policy for Recovery
    • The European Pillar of Social Rights
    • The EU Strategy for growth and jobs, the Lisbon Strategy followed by the EU2020 Strategy
    • The EU agenda for globalization and the strategic partnerships with the USA, China, Russia, India and Brazil for a new growth model
    • The development of several policy areas: employment, education, innovation, research, regional and industrial policies
    • Special EU initiatives: the new Erasmus for mobility, New Skills for New Jobs
    • The final negotiation of the Lisbon Treaty
    • The responses to the euro-zone crisis and the reform of the Economic and Monetary Union

    In academic terms, she was professor of European economic policies in the European Studies Institute - Université Libre de Bruxelles and in the Lisbon University Institute. She was also the chair of the European Commission Advisory Board for socio-economic sciences and she was also chair or member of several other High-Level Groups in the European Commission. She is author of more than one hundred publications, notably the books:

    - The New Knowledge Economy in Europe - A Strategy for International Competitiveness and Social Cohesion, Edward Elgar: Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA, 2002.

    - European Policies for a Knowledge Economy, Edward Elgar: Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA, 2003.

    - Europe, Globalization and the Lisbon Agenda, Edward Elgar: Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA, 2009.

    - Europe is Still Possible, Xlibris-Penguin Group, UK and USA, 2013.

    - Eurozone Crisis and the Transformation of the EU Governance, edited with Eleni Xiarchogiannopoulou , Ashgate, 2014.



     Nominated for the Gaetan Pirou Award (Economic Science Award given by French universities at national level), 1986.

     and Gulbenkian Science and Technology National Award in Portugal, 1986 for her PhD thesis on the Employment System

     Highly mentioned in the Boa Esperança Science and Technology Award in Portugal, 1992.

     Ordre de la Couronne de Chêne au grade de Commandeur of the GrandDuchy of Luxembourg for her contribution to the promotion of social Europe, 2000.

     Ordem do Infante Dom Henrique, Grand Official of the Portuguese Republic for her academic and public service functions and for her European contribution, 2003.

     Légion d’Honneur – Chevalier of the French Republic for her role in the European integration and the EU Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs, 2005. Promotion to the degree of Officier for her role in the EU Presidency and the Lisbon Treaty, 2008.

    Short CV

    Long CV

    Personal website

  • Ernst STETTER

    position: Secretary General


    Ernst Stetter is the Secretary General of Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) since 2008. He is also a regular commentator on EU affairs in the media and visiting fellow at University of Greenwich, London.

    He is an Economist and Political Scientist. He studied in Tübingen and Heidelberg (Germany) focusing on international trade, finance, economic and social policy as well as development issues. In 1980 he obtained his PhD in political science entitled “The Association of ACP-Countries (Lomé I and II) to the European Community and the STABEX-System.”

    In 1976 Ernst Stetter began his professional career as a lecturer in economics at the DGB Trade Union Centre for Vocational Training in Heidelberg. From 1980 to 2008 he worked for the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) in various positions. He spent the first four years at the FES as a Consultant in Dakar, Senegal. In 1988, Ernst Stetter was appointed as Head of the Africa Department. In 1994 he started working as Head of the Central Europe Unit. In 1997 he moved to Paris and became Director of the FES Office in France, then in 2003 he was appointed Director of the EU-Office of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) in Brussels.

    In 2003 he received the French decoration of Chevalier de l'Ordre national du Mérite.

    Statements and speeches


    The brave new world needs to be progressively harnessed.  5th annual FEPS – Policy Network – Renner Institut Symposium (July 2017)


    Millennials 4 Europe! Youth Participation in Democratic Life Launch of the Millennial Dialogue report Italy (March 2017)


    Introductory remarks to New year’s conference with the Fabian Society (January 2017)


    Qui nous dit la jeunesse mondiale?. Launch of the Millennial Dialogue report Senegal (FR) (December 2016)


    Eulogy for Karl A. Duffek at his funeral in Vienna (August 2016)

    Speech in English

    Speech in German


    Renewal of Social Democratic and Progressive Politics in Europe - The State of the Movement (July 2016)

    Speech at The state of Social Democracy in Hannover, Germany


    Renewal of Social Democratic and Progressive Politics in Europe - The State of the Movement (June 2016)

    Speech at the Seminar on what next for European social democracy in Helsinki, Finland


    Challenges and opportunities for the new Silk Road: How to enhance cooperation and integration in developing the initiative (February 2016)

    Speech at the 1st Annual Conference of the Silk Road Think Tank Association, Shenzhen, China.


    Towards establishing a fair aand sustainable European society (February, 2016)

    French Version 

    Speech delivered by Ernst Stetter, Secretary General of FEPS, in Paris during one of the conferences of the cycle about equality carried out with FEPS' partner Fondation Jean-Jaurès. 


    Building an equitable and sustainable society (January, 2016)

    Speech delivered during the launching of the Greenwich Political Economy Research Centre at the University of Greenwich (London).  


    The Welfare State and the fight against inequality (November, 2015)

    Paper inspired by the speech delivered at Columbia University (New York, US) about "The European Social Model as an element of European identity. With special reference to the German case".


    Millennial Dialogue: Launch in Norway (November, 2015)

    Speech during the launching of the Millennial Dialogue Study on Norway. 

    Greece forward: providing progressives solutions for today and tomorrow (October, 2015)

    Speech delivered in Athens in the conference celebrated in cooperation with DIKTIO. 

    The Europe of tensions (October 2015)

    Speech delivered in Paris about Europe's current political challenges.

    Re Launching Europe (September, 2015)

    Speech during S&D event in Warsaw (Poland) 


    The social reality of Europe after the crisis (September, 2015)

    Presentation in Amsterdam of the report “social reality of Europe after the crisis. Trends, challenges and responses”, which was elaborated within an ambitious research project realized together by FEPS and Policy Network.

    Populism in the European political debates  (June, 2015)

    Video: Speech during the workshop "Illiberal democracies -what can the European Union in case a member state reguralry and systematically breaches European values and regulations?" at the European Parliament. 

    Rebuilding the welfare State in Multicultural Societies (May, 2015)

    Speech delivered in Tel Aviv abou this crucial question of the labour movement and Social democracy in general.

    Illiberal Democracies and their impact on Europe (November 2014)

    Opening speech of the homonymous conference celebrated in Budapest the 27h-28th of November. 

    Imaginer L'Afrique: socialisme, developpement et democratie (July 2014)

    Speaking points related with FEPS Next Left Project in the framework of the conference held in Senegal.

    Not “more” but a “more democratic” Europe! (March 2014)

    Lecture delivered at the Conference for the Reconstruction of Europeanism organised by FEPS in cooperation with Fundació Gabriel Alomar in Palma de Mallorca (Spain).





  • Enrique BARÓN CRESPO

    position: Vice-President of FEPS


    • Vice president of FEPS and President of FEPS Scientific Board.

    • Born in Madrid, 1944. he speaks seven European languages.

    • Former President of the European Parliament (1989-92), President the Socialist and Democrats in the EP (1999-2004)Member of the European Parliament (1986-2008),Former Chairman to the Foreign Affairs Committee and to the International Trade Committee of the EP

    • Former Minister of the Spanish Government which adhered to the EC (1982-85)

    • Former Member of the Spanish National Parliament( 1977-87), Father of the Spanish Constitution

    • Chair Jean Monnet “ad honorem”, visiting Professor in Universities all over the World
    • Lawyer and Economist. P.H.D. in Law and Economics ( Universidad Complutense, ICADE - Madrid ) & Diplômé Ecole Supérieure des Sciences Economiques et Commerciales (ESSEC)

    • Human Rights Lawyer under Franco’s Dictatorship

    • Author. Most recent books:“Europe at the dawn of the millennium” ;" Europa, Pasión y Razón; a handbook on “The Treaty of Lisbon & Charter of Fundamental Rights” (published in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Polish and Rumanian); “Más Europa Unida, ¡Unida!”, "Memoirs" and “La Era del federalismo”.

    • Former President of the “Former Members Association of the European Parliament”, President of Honour of the “International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation”, Former Vice-President of the Istituto Internazionale per l’Opera e la Poesia di Verona-UNESCO, member of the Fundación Dalí and of the Board of Trustees of Friends of Europe and Notre Europe.




    position: Ex-officio members


    Udo Bullmann is the president of the S&D Group and leads the Group's 188 MEPs. After joining German social democratic party SPD in 1975, Udo immediately became an active member of the party’s youth organisation JUSOS. From 1989-1991, Udo acted as the chairperson of JUSOS in his home region of Hessen. Since December 2016, Udo has been a member of the SPD executive committee and, since March 2017, the executive committee’s European affairs spokesperson. In 1999, Udo Bullmann was elected as a Member of the European Parliament, where he joined our parliamentary group, then called Group of the Party of European Socialists. Since his election, Udo has been serving on the economic and monetary affairs (ECON) committee. In this work, which saw him take responsibility as rapporteur for a number of legislative and non-legislative files, he has focused in particular on making financial markets fairer and more transparent, on fighting the misguided dogma of austerity policies, and on mobilising strategic investments in order to create sustainable growth and quality jobs in Europe. From 2009-2012, Udo also acted as the S&D Group’s ECON spokesperson.

    From 2012 to 2017, Udo Bullmann led the German SPD delegation in the S&D Group until his election as first Vice-President of the S&D Group. As Vice-President responsible for economic and social model policy, Udo joined forces to implement a new approach to policy-making. This approach, which builds on the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals, focusses on extensive, cross-committee policy coordination and engagement with civil society, for instance through the S&D’s newly created Progressive Society initiative. In March 2018 Udo was elected as President of the S&D Group.

    Already before becoming an MEP, the issue of European integration lay at the heart of Udo Bullmann’s political and professional identity. A political scientist by training, Udo went on to earn a PhD and later on a Jean-Monet Professorship in European Studies, both at the University of Giessen. As part of his academic career, Udo also served as a visiting research fellow at Strathclyde University Glasgow.

  • Jean-Marc AYRAULT

    position: Representatives of national political foundations and think tanks


    Secretary General of the Fondation Jean-Jaurès from January 2018

    Jean-Marc Ayrault holds the (CAPES) diploma for teaching German in Secondary Schools. He developed a passion for politics at a young age and became member of the Socialist Party (PS) at the age of 21.

    In 1977 he became Mayor of Saint-Herblain, then of Nantes in 1989, where he was re-elected three times. From 1986 he was a Member of Parliament for the Loire-Atlantique region. Where he played an important role and. in 1997 became leader of the Socialist Parliamentary group within the Assemblée générale. On the 15th May 2012 he was appointed as Prime Minister by the newly-elected President of the French Republic, François Hollande. He was then re-elected MP in his constituency at the first round the following 10th June. On the 31st March 2014 he left his position as Prime Minister and became a Member of Parliament again until March 2016. From February 2016 to February 2018 Jean-Marc Ayrault was Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development.

    Photo: @Fondation Jean Jaurès

  • Jean-Paul BUFFAT

    position: Representatives of national political foundations and think tanks


    Jean-Paul has a degree in public law and European affairs. After having successfully conducted several European projects for a European network of local authorities based in Paris, he moved to Brussels, where he joined the Cabinet of the Mayor of the City of Brussels and later that of the President of the Brussels-Capital Region. In 2011, he joined the Belgian Progressive Foundation – the Emile Vandervelde Institute - to advise its President and became his diplomatic adviser in the Prime minister's office.


    position: Representatives of national political foundations and think tanks


    Mojca Kleva Kekus is a former Member of the European Parliament (S&D) that devoted her mandate to fight against inequalities, mostly on tax evasion, fraud and tax havens and fight for equality between women and men. She worked in REGI committee on financial instruments in Cohesion policy, especially in Central and Eastern Europe and on the MFF 2014-2020.

    Before her political mandate in the EP she held a diplomatic post as the Slovenian National Assembly representative in Brussels and worked for seven years in the Slovenian Parliament (Education, Human Rights and EU Affairs).

    Mojca was politically engaged during her studies when she was elected as the youngest Councillor in Slovenia (City Council of Koper for 10 years). During those years, she was active in civil society movements, mostly devoted to women emancipation and youth participation in politics.

    Mojca holds a Master degree in International relations and is currently working in the Cabinet of the Rector of the University of Primorska, responsible for Legal Affairs, Human Resources and PR relations.

    She is bilingual Slovenian-Italian and speaks English, Serbo-Croatian and Spanish.

  • Catiusca MARINI

    position: Ex-officio members


    President of PES Group in the Committee of the Regions. 

    Catiuscia Marini is president of the Umbria Region in Italy.

    From 1997 to 2007, she served as mayor of Todi and was president of the Bureau of the National Association of Italian Municipalities (ANCI) from 2004 to 2007.

    From 2008 to 2009, she was a member of the European Parliament, following the works of the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection.

    Catiuscia Marini has been a CoR member since June 2010, following her election as president of the Region of Umbria in March 2010. She was re-elected for a second term of office to the Region's presidency in May 2015.

    From June 2014 until February 2015, she held the position of first vice-president of the PES Group at the CoR.

    She has been CoR rapporteur on a number of key political dossiers such as the "General regulation for the Structural Funds" for the 2014-2020 period, the opinion on "Promoting quality of public spending in matters subject to EU action" and on ​the "Mid-term review of the ESF preparing the post-2020 proposal".

    She is currently co-rapporteur for the CoR opinion on the 'Common Provisions Regulation' for the 2021-2027 period.

  • Sergei STANISHEV

    position: Vice-President of FEPS


    Ex-officio member as President of PES

    Member of the European Parliament elected in 2014.

    Prime Minister of Bulgaria 2005 - 2009

    On the 24th November 2011, he became PES President.

    Sergei Stanishev was born on the 5th May 1966. He studied history, in which he holds a PhD. He was a visiting fellow in International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Prior to his political career he worked as a journalist.

    In 1996 he became Head of the foreign policy and international relations department of the Bulgarian Socialist Party. In 2001 he was elected Member of the Bulgarian Parliament. Since December 2001 he has been Chairman of the National Council of the Bulgarian Socialist Party. He was re-elected as Party Chair in 2002, 2005 and 2009. From 2002 to 2009 he was a member of the PES Presidency. During his term as Prime Minister Bulgaria became a member of the European Union. Currently he is a Member of Parliament and Chairman of the Parliamentary Group of the Coalition for Bulgaria.


    position: Ex-officio members


    João Albuquerque, 31, Portugal | President of YES – Young European Socialists

    I am currently working as an Advisor to the Interior Minister of Portugal.

    Majored in Political Science and International Relations and Mastered in History, Defence and International Relations, with a thesis on "Humanitarian Intervention Law - The Genocide in Bosnia and Rwanda.

    I am the President of Young European Socialists (YES) and I have been active in politics ever since I was 18. After many other jobs, I've worked in Brussels, in the European Parliament. Previously, I was an advisor at the largest of Lisbon's districts – Lumiar – on public planning and communication.


  • Zita GURMAI

    position: Vice-Presidents of FEPS


    PES Women President. Member of the Hungarian Parliament.

    Former Member of the European Parliament vice-chair of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality in the 2004-2009 term, member of the Committee on Regional Development between 2009-2014 and also substitute in the Committee on Transport and Tourism in the last term.

    After finishing the University of Economic Sciences in Budapest, Zita Gurmai worked in the private sphere, in numerous companies. She finally turned to politics in 1995, becoming the chargé d'affaires of the Women's Organisation of the Hungarian Socialist Party, that she has been chairing since 2001. She became vice-chair of the Socialist International in 1999 and 2003 until 2008. She has benn member of the Hungarian Parliament between 2002 and 2004 and from April 2018 to date.


    position: Representatives of national political foundations and think tanks


    Maria Maltschnig (32) studied Socio-Economics in Vienna. After working for the Austrian Chamber of Labour and the Federal Ministry of Finance, she was an Assistant to the CEO of the Austrian Federal Railways. After that she became head of the cabinet of the Austrian Chancellor. At the end of 2016 she turned director of the Karl-Renner-Institute, the political academy of the Austrian Social Democratic Party.


    position: Vice-Presidents of FEPS


    Dr. Uwe Optenhögel (born 1952) is a political scientist and economist. Uwe studied in Bonn, Washington D.C., Hamburg and Lisbon. He holds a master’s degree in political science and a PhD from the University of Hamburg. Prior to his work with FES he was a policy officer at the Cultural Authority of the city of Hamburg (1978-80) and CEO of an Education Cooperative in Lisbon, Portugal (1982-1984).

    From 2013-18 Uwe Optenhögel was director of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation’s EU office in Brussels. Prior to this position, he was director at several international FES offices in Brazil, Cuba/Dominican Republic, Madagascar/Mauritius and the Scandinavian countries. From 1991 to 2004, Uwe Optenhögel was at FES headquarters in Bonn and Berlin, serving as head of the Department for Central and Eastern Europe and as International Director of the Foundation. He has been or is a member of the Task Force ‘Stability Pact for the Balkans’ (1997-2000), of the editorial board of the “Journal of International Politics and Society (IPG)”, of the Steering Committees of the “Petersburg Dialog” (2000-2004), of the European Task Force on Security and Defence headed by Javier Solana (2014-2016), As of October 2017, he is CEO of the publishing house J.H.W. Dietz Nachf. in Bonn.

    He currently serves as Vice President of the Foundation of European Progressive Studies (FEPS).

    Apart from his work for FES, Uwe Optenhögel has been a freelance political analyst and consultant for a broad range of public and private organizations in Germany, Europe and beyond.


  • Jan-Erik STØSTAD

    position: Vice-Presidents of FEPS


    Treasurer. Jan-Erik Støstad (born 1953) is Secretary General of SAMAK, the Cooperation Committee of the Nordic Socialdemocratic parties and trade unions. He is a Norwegian politician and economist, and was state secretary in the Labour ministry 2005-2012. He has written one book on social dumping and two books on the provision of welfare services.




  • Adrio DE CAROLIS

    position: Representatives of national political foundations and think tanks


    Adrio Maria de Carolis is member of the Board of Directors of Fondazione EYU. He is an interpreneur and created one of the first Italian web agencies. He is also founder of Mowgli SpA and was CEO of the Dmail Group. Currently, he is CEO of SWG.