Speakers 2016

At SFM each working group is guided by a tutor throughout the five days. In addition, representatives from the European Commission provide the groups with problem statements and introduce the Commission’s position in the area. Various experts from the field visit the working groups and share their insights and views with the participants.

Below you can find an overview of the tutors, Commission representatives and experts.

Towards harmonization of european health policies 


Tutor: Kevin Rieger

German Pharmaceutical Industry Association

Check out his Info here.

Commission Representative: Isabel de la Mata, Principal Advisor for Health and Crisis, WG Health, DG SANTE

Isabel de la Mata studied Medicine and Surgery at the University of the Basque Country and holds post-graduate degrees from the University of Leuven and Paris VI in Public Health, Hospital Administration and Statistics. She is a specialist in Preventive Medicine and Public Health.

Before becoming the Principal Advisor for Health and  Crisis for DG SANTE in 2008, de la Mata worked as Counsellor for Health and Consumers at the Permanent Representation of Spain to the EU, as Deputy Director General for Health Planning at the Spanish Ministry of Health and as Advisor to the Vice-Minister of Health. Furthermore, she held other posts at the Ministry of Health of Spain and the Regional Departments in the Basque Country and in Madrid and she was a member  in various committees and organizations (Source).

Visiting Experts: Anamaria Corca & Carole Rouaud

EU Policy Advisors, Standing Committee of European Doctors

As EU Policy Advisors for the Standing Committee of European Doctors, Anamaria Corça deals with issues such as, patient safety and quality of care, patient empowerment and self-care. Furthermore, she is in charge of the CPME newsletter. Carole Rouad deals with topics such as, eHealth, access to medicine, transparency and ethics as well as data protection (Source).

Visting Expert: Robert Otok

Director of the Association of Public Health Schools in the European Region

Check out his Info here.

Common foreign policy: Coordinating humanitarian and development aid

Tutor: Robert Fahrenhorst

University College Maastricht

Check out his Info here.

Commission Representative: Florika Fink-Hooijer

Director for Strategy, Policy and International Cooperation, DG ECHO

Florika Fink-Hooijer’s career in the European Commission is focused on external policy and security matters, with particular regard to crisis management, conflict prevention and disaster risk management. Furthermore, she has experience with external policy coordination and in justice and home affairs. Previously, Fink-Hooijer was a member of cabinet of the former Commissioners M. Wulf Mathies (regional policy) and F. Bolkestein (internal market & taxation) and Head of Cabinet of Commissioner K. Georgieva (humanitarian aid, international cooperation and crisis response) (Source).

Visiting Expert: Maria Castillo Fernandez

European External Action Service

Maria Castillo Fernandez has a degree in law from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid) and did her postgraduate studies in international relations and European law (College of Europe, Bruges – Institute of European Studies, Strasbourg).

Currently, Ms. Castillo Fernandez is an expert in external relations, in particular regarding Korea and Russia. During her time at the European Commission she worked as a Desk Officer, focusing on political and economic relations with Russia and she was a Legal Advisor on human rights. Later, she became responsible for the EC’s relations with Korea since 2008 she has been the Head of Office of the European Union to Hong Kong and Macao (Source).

Visiting Expert: Adrianus Koetsenruijter

European External Action Service

Check out his Info here.



Tutor: Dr. Heidi Maurer

Assistant Professor Maastricht University Department of Political Science

Heidi Maurer holds a Doctorate from the University of Vienna (Political Science) and obtained a postgraduate certificate in European integration at the Institute of Advanced Studies. She was also the 2012/13 Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation Fellow at the Center of Transatlantic Relations of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, D.C. (Source).

Commission Representative: Joachim Ott

WG Union of and for the citizens & Head of the Citizens’ Dialogues Unit, DG Communication

Joachim Ott, a 53 years old German, is Head of the Citizens’ Dialogues unit in DG Communication. He developed together with his team since 2012 this new format of direct outreach to and political communication with citizens. He has been with the Commission since 1998 and served in different functions in the departments of employment and communication, usually in jobs which were linked to the policy making process. He worked i.a. on questions regarding ethnic minority issues (including the inclusion of the Roma), as liaison officer to the European Parliament on EU legislation in the area of employment and social affairs as well as on industrial relations in agriculture, the construction and the banking industries.

Before joining the Commission Joachim headed the private office of a Member of the German Bundestag and worked as legislative advisor to another German MP. His academic background is in Classics where he holds a Master’s degree and a PhD in Roman history from the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University of Frankfurt/Main. He has studied before at the Heidelberg University and did field work in Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland.

Visiting Experts: Gabriëlle Metz & Jori Keijsper

Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Check out Gabriëlle Metz’s Info here.

Check out Jori Keijsper’s Info here.

Visiting Expert: Simona Pronckute

ECI Campaign

Simona, who holds a degree in European Contemporary History and European Studies, is particularly interested in European democracy and participation. She was  involved in the European Citizens Initiative “Fraternite2020” and was one of the organisers of the international simulation projects “Model European Union 2012 Strasbourg” and “NATO Youth Summit Brussels”. Furthermore, she is a member of JEFEuropean Alternatives and Bringing Europeans Together Association e.V. (BETA) (Source).

Visiting Expert: Lea Pfefferle

Politix EU

Lea learnt about the European Union while studying at Maastricht University and met co-founders Fabian and Maria during an exciting year at LSE. Having interned and worked in EU public institutions and different public and government affairs offices in Brussels, she wants to make sure that EU legislation is not only understandable to those with a law degree but to all EU citizens. At Politix EU she focuses on the advocacy outreach in Brussels and reaches out to our users via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. If you want to have a coffee and chat about Politix EU, the EU in general or just the Belgian weather, connect via LinkedIn.



Tutor: Dr. Christina Rott

Maastricht University

Christina Rott is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Maastricht University School of Business and Economics and she was a visiting scholar at the Columbia Business School. Although her main research interest is Experimental and Behavioral Economics, she is also very interested in gender (Source). 

Tutor: Karin Koole

Leiden University

Karin Koole is a PhD candidate at the Institute of Political Science. Her PhD research focuses on the influence of women’s movements on political decision-making processes, specifically focusing on attention to decision-making about abortion policy and maternal employment policy, as well as the role of contextual factors ,s such as governments, religion, and female legislators (Source).

Commission Representative:Judith Litjens

Policy Officer,WG Equality, DG Justice

Check out her Info here.

Visiting Expert:Véronique de Baets

Belgium Institute of Gender Equality

Véronique’s work at the Belgium Institute of Gender Equality aims to combat all forms of gender-based discrimination. They take in complaints but they also advice the Belgian government (Source).