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You will see below the current speaker list. Please do check back regularly for updates or, alternatively, contact Charlene Selmer on / +44 (0) 2920 783 024 for further details.

Speaker Biographies

Janez Potočnik

Janez Potočnik

EU Commissioner for the Environment, European Commission


Dr Janez Potočnik was born in 1958. He graduated with honours from the Faculty of Economics at the University of Ljubljana. He continued his studies at the same University where he did his Master's degree in 1989 and a Ph.D. degree in 1993.

For several years (1989-1993), he worked as a researcher at the Institute of Economic Research in Ljubljana. In July 1994, he was appointed Director of the Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development of the Republic of Slovenia. In April 1998, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia appointed Dr Potočnik Head of Negotiating Team for Accession of the Republic of Slovenia to the European Union. From June 2000 to December 2000, he was also the acting director of Government Office for European Affairs. In June 2001, he was appointed a Minister Councillor at the Office of the Prime Minister. On January 24, 2002, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia appointed him for the Minister without portfolio responsible for European Affairs.

From 1991 until 2004 Dr Potočnik has also been an assistant professor at the Faculty of Law at the University of Ljubljana, where he lectured on statistics and economy.

Dr Potočnik became a Member of the European Commission on the May 1 2004. In his first mandate (2004 – 2009) he was responsible for the Science and Research. In February 2010 he started a second mandate as a Commissioner for Environment.

In May 2008 he was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Science by London Imperial College. In March 2009 he received the honorary degree from Ghent University (Belgium)

Isabelle Durant

Isabelle Durant

Vice-President, European Parliament


Isabelle Durant began her political career in 1991 in the Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region. She also worked as Federal Secretary and Spokesperson of Ecolo (Green Party of Belgium) with Jacky Morael between 1994 and 1999.

In 1999, she became Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Mobility and Transport in the Government Verhofstadt I.
In 2004, she was again Federal Secretary and Spokesperson of Ecolo, this time with Jean-Michel Javaux and Claude Brouir, then becoming Minister of the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region. From 2007 to 2009, Isabelle Durant was re-elected co-president of Ecolo, (the term "co-president" replaces that of "federal secretary" in the statutes of Ecolo).

In 2009, she was elected MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament.

Fotis Karamitsos

Fotis Karamitsos

Deputy Director-General, DG MOVE, European Commission


Mr Karamitsos is Director of the Logistics, Innovation, Co-modality and Maritime Transport Directorate (G) within the Directorate General Energy and Transport (DG TREN) of the European Commission. The Directorate is responsible for the development and follow-up of the implementation of Maritime transport policy and Inland Waterways, but also
Intelligent Transport Systems and GALILEO, Logistics, Coordination of Energy and Transport RTD. It also covers policy on Urban Transport and Clean Vehicles.

He has been with the European Commission for the last 25 years, where he has worked on various Transport issues, as well on Telecommunications, Information society, Environment and Tourism.

Before joining the Commission he worked with the World Health Organisation's programme on Greater Athens Pollution Control and on the Greek Academic and Public Sectors.
He holds degrees in Civil Engineering and Transportation planning from the Technical University of Athens and from Leeds University.

Matthias Groote

Matthias Groote

Chair, ENVI Committee, European Parliament


Matthias Groote was born on 21 October 1973 in Leer/Ostfriesland (Lower-Saxony, Germany). He is married and has two daughters.

Since 2005 he is a Member of the European Parliament. Currently he serves on the Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO) and as substitute on the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI), the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) and the Committee on Fisheries (PECH). Furthermore he is a member of the Delegation for relations with the United States of America and a substitute member of the delegation for relations with the Arab Peninsula. His key activities in the EP include European Climate Policy, European Environmental Policy and Energy issues. Moreover, Matthias has been a member of the conciliations committee on telecommunications and oversees policies on E-Participation, E-Democracy and internet legislation in the ITRE Committee.

Prior to serving as MEP, Matthias Groote was working as a sales and mechanical engineer in the field of plant construction, after graduating as an industrial engineer from the University of Applied Sciences in Wilhelmshaven (Germany). Before studying, he completed a vocational training as a mechanical engineer at Deutsche Bahn AG.

In 1996 Matthias joined the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD); he holds several positions within the SPD on regional and local level. He is, for instance, Member of the council of the Leer district (2001 - 2006) and Member of the executive committee of the SPD society of the Weser-Ems district (since 2007).

Nikos Chrysogelos

Nikos Chrysogelos

Vice-Chair, REGI Committee, European Parliament


Vice-Chair of the Commitee Regional Development
Substitute Member of the Commitee Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

Member of the Delegation Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo
Substitute Member of the Delegation EU-Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Helga Trüpel

Helga Trüpel

Vice-Chair, CULT Committee, European Parliament


In the 2004 European elections in Bremen Helga Trüpel scored a top score of 24 percent and represents the Hanseatic city since as members of the Alliance 90/The Greens in the European Parliament. There, she was elected Vice-Chairman of the Culture Committee. She is also a member of the Budget Committee and a representative member of the Budgetary Control.

Cultural policy was always focus of Helga Trüpels political work. From 1991 to 1995 she belonged to the Bremen Senate as a Senator for Culture and the integration of foreigners, from 1987 to 2004 she was deputy Bremen city council, most recently as Vice President of the Landtag.

Bruno De Lille

Bruno De Lille

Secretary of State, Brussels Capital Region


Bruno De Lille (1973) is a politician for the Green! Party. He is Secretary of State of the Brussels Capital Region, a Flemish Community board member and councilor in the city of Brussels. As Secretary of State he is in charge of Mobility, Civil Service, Equal Opportunity and Administrative Simplification. As a board member of the Flemish Community Commission (VGC), he is in charge of Culture, Youth, Sport and Civil Service.

Erik Oddershede

Erik Oddershede

President, ETRA


Erik Oddershede has been in the bicycle business for more than 40 years. After graduating for a master’s degree in sales and marketing he became an independent bicycle dealer and owned three bicycle shops in 19 years. In that period he started two bicycle buying groups in Denmark which to-day are the leading retailers in the bicycle business.

In 1988 he became sales manager in Yamaha Motor Denmark which was a Danish bicycle, moped and motorcycle supplier owned by Yamaha. In 1992 he changed job and became sales director for Smith & Co., which at that time was the largest bicycle producer in Denmark.

In 1996 he became managing director for Danske Cykelhandlere (Danish Twowheel Retailers Association). At the same time he became editor in chief for the Danish trade magazine Cykelbranchen. Erik Oddershede has among other things implemented a certification for bicycle shops, which has raised the competence of the bicycle dealers. He is one of the founders of the Cycling Embassy of Denmark.

He is one of the founders of ETRA (European Twowheel Retailers Association) and has been member of the committee from the beginning. He has also functioned as vice president and is to-day president for ETRA.



Tuesday 18 September, 2012
09.00 to 16.30




Esplanade of the European Parliament

Rue Wiertz 60
1047 Brussels

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