PROFILE OF SPEAKERS
Klaus Hänsch is a German politician. He was a Member of the European Parliament representing the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) from 1979 until 2009, and sat with the Group of European Socialists (PES). He was President of the European Parliament from 1994 to 1997. From 1989 to 1994 and from 1997 to 2002 he was Vice-Chairman of the PES group. During his time in the EP, Hänsch served as Chairman of the European Parliament’s Delegation for relations with the United States, Coordinator for Foreign Affairs and Security of the PES-Group, Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Security and Defence (former Political Committee) and Member of the Committee on Institutional Affairs. He also was involved in the elaboration of the Treaty on a Constitution for Europe as Member of the Presidium of the Convention on the Future of Europe (2002-2003) and Representative of the European Parliament in the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) on the Constitutional Treaty (2003-2004). He was elected in June 2022 as President of the European Parliament Former Members Association.
Othmar Karas (born 24 December 1957) is an Austrian politician (ÖVP) who has been serving as the First Vice-President of the European Parliament since January 2022, having been an MEP since 1999. He held the position of EP Vice-President from 2019 to 2021 and from 2012 to 2014.
Karas is also Vice-Chair of the FISC Subcommittee and a Member of the ECON, ITRE and AFCO Committees. In 2017, Karas received his Doctorate Degree in Political Science from the University of Vienna.
In addition to his activities as President of the Austrian “Hilfswerk”, Karas founded the non-party association “Citizens’ Forum Europe” in 2010 of which he is still the spokesman today.
In the EP, he is a Member of the EPP Group, where he held the Vice-Presidency from 2004 to 2011.
Monica Baldi, architect and urban planner, is Grand Officer of Merit of the Italian Republic. Deputy and Secretary of the Commission for Foreign and Community Affairs at the Chamber of Deputies from 2001 to 2006. MEP and Deputy President of the Committee for Culture, Youth, Education, Media and Sport from 1994 to 1999. She is Vice President of the European Parliament Former Members Association (FMA) and of ARS PACE. Baldi was Vice President of the Red Cross of Pistoia and President of the associations: Pinocchio di Carlo Lorenzini, Pinocchioworld, Laurus and Professional Cycling Groups League. She is speaker and promoter of conferences on: international politics, cooperation and development, culture, urban planning, environment. She has always been committed to the defence of Human Rights and in particular for the Rights of Women.
Hans-Gert Pöttering is a German politician (CDU) and was the only Member of the European Parliament who has served continuously from the first direct election in 1979 until July 1st 2014 – with 35 years of uninterrupted membership. He held a number of leading positions in the EP and European People’s Party throughout his political career. From 1999 to 2007 he was Chairman of the European People’s Party-European Democrats Group in the European Parliament. From 2007 until 2009 he was President of the European Parliament. He initiated the House of European History which was opened in Brussels in May 2017 and he currently is the Chairman of its Board of Trustees. He was Chairman of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) from 2010 to 2018. He was President of the Former Members’ Association from 2018 to 2022.
Michael Hindley served as a Member of the European Parliament from 1984 to 1999, during which time he held the position of Vice-President of the External Economic Affairs Committee. This role involved overseeing EU external bilateral and multilateral relations, giving the individual considerable parliamentary responsibilities.
After his time in parliament, Mr Hindley continued to contribute to European affairs as an expert for the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) from 2008 to 2020. He also held several academic positions, including serving as an Associate Professor at Georgetown University for the MBA Programme ‘Government Business Relations in the age of globalization’. Additionally, he lectured on ‘European Studies’ at several prestigious institutions, including Lancaster University, the London School of Economics (LSE), the University of California (Berkeley), and Taras Shevchenko University (Kiev).
Mr Hindley’s expertise in European affairs was recognized beyond academia and politics as he served as an election observer for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (EESC). He also shared their knowledge and experience through the ‘EP to Campus’ programme, acting as a guest lecturer in Germany, India, Romania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Russia, and Malta.
Jo Leinen has a background in law and economics from universities in Saarbrücken and Bonn. He pursued postgraduate studies at the College of Europe in Bruges and later worked as a lawyer for public and environmental law in Freiburg. He served as the Minister for Environment in the Government of Saarland for two periods. He was a Member of the European Parliament from 1999 to 2019, where he chaired the ENVI and AFCO Committees and the China Delegation. He is now the Honorary President of the European Movement International (MEI).