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CRMs, Innovation and Trade Conference

24th September 2013


On 24 September 2013, BeST organised a productive conference at the European Parliament on Critical Raw Materials and Trade. The conference was hosted by MEP Zofija Mazej-Kukovič and consisted of three high-level panels which were moderated by Maurits Bruggink from BeST and Ms Mazej-Kukovič.

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Speaker Profiles

Antti Pelotomaki Antti Peltomäki, Deputy Director-General, DG Enterprise and Industry

Antti Peltomäki is Deputy Director-General of DG Enterprise and Industry. In this function, Mr Peltomäki is responsible for industrial innovation and mobility industries, textiles, chemicals, metals, mechanical, electrical industries, raw materials, tourism and key enabling technologies. Before that, Mr Peltomäki was Deputy Director-General in DG Information Society and Media. Prior to joining the Commission in 2006, he worked for almost ten years in the office of the Prime Minister of Finland.

Vladko Todorov Panayotov, Member of the European Parliament

Professor Vladko Panayotov is a Bulgarian MEP and member of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee. He is the Vice President of the Interparliamentary Raw Minerals Group to the EU Parliament. Mr Panayotov created an environmentally friendly technology which extracts non-ferrous metals from industrial waste (including copper, nickel and aluminum). He recently received the award for best MEP in the ‘Environment’ section.

Johannes Drielsma, Deputy Director, Euromines

Johannes Drielsma is the Deputy Director of Euromines. An environmental engineer by training, he has 10 years’ industrial experience in mining of raw materials as well as research and product applications. He has been representing Euromines since 2005. Currently, he is sitting on the Ad-Hoc Working Group on criticality which is in charge of defining critical raw materials.

Lina Viltrakienė, Minister-Counselor of the Foreign Affairs Council (Trade) and Deputy TPC, Lithuanian Permanent Representation to the EU

Lina Viltrakienė is the Minister-Counselor in the Trade Department of the Permanent Representation of Lithuania to the EU and the Deputy of the Trade Policy Committee. Lithuania currently holds the Presidency of the EU Council and seeks to promote free trade and investment agreements with EU strategic partners. Before coming to Brussels, Ms Viltrakienė was the First Secretary of the Permanent Representation of Lithuania to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva.

Pawel Zalewski, Member of the European Parliament and Vice-Chair of the International Trade Committee

Pawel Zalewski has been an MEP since 2009 and is an expert on international affairs and respected commentator on Polish Foreign Policy. He is the Vice-Chair of the International Trade Committee, member of the Subcommittee on Security and Defense and substitute of the Foreign Affairs Committee. Before joining the European Parliament, he was a member of the Polish Parliament I, V and VI. In 2006-2007 Mr Zalewski was recognized by the weekly ‘Polityka’ as the best Polish Member of Parliament.

Frank Hoffmeister, Deputy Head of Cabinet, Commissioner de Gucht

After a distinguished academic career, Frank Hoffmeister began his career at the European Commission in 2001, in DG Enlargement. After this he worked in the legal service for a number of years, where he was assigned a number of cases before the ECJ, the WTO and the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes.

He has been in his current position as Deputy Head of Cabinet for Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht since February 2010. Alongside this he lectures part-time in International Economic Law at the Vrije Universiteit Brussels.

Beryl Blecher, Minister Counselor of Commercial Affairs at the US Mission to the European Union

Beryl Blecher has been Minister Counselor of Commercial Affairs at the US Mission to the European Union since January 2010. Her mission is to promote and protect US business interests in the EU through advocacy, information dissemination, and company counselling.

Before coming to Brussels, Ms Blecher served as Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs at the US Embassy in Moscow, Russia supervising offices in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Vladivostok. Prior to that, she served as Senior Commercial Officer in Australia and New Zealand; Regional Senior Commercial Officer for Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia; Deputy Senior Commercial Officer at the US Embassy in Moscow; and was Director of the US Trade Center in Tokyo. She was awarded the Secretary of Commerce’s Gold Medal for her outstanding service in representing US commercial interests in the Balkans.

Zofija Mazej Kukovic Zofija Mazej Kukovič, Member of the European Parliament and host of the conference

Zofija Mazej Kukovic is a Slovenian MEP and is a member of the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety as well as a substitute in the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy. Before and during the Slovenian Presidency of the EU Council in 2008 she was the Slovenian Minister of Health. She holds a degree in electrotechnics-electronics.

Ambassador Andreas Papastravou, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Representation of Greece to the EU

After two years of military service, Ambassador Papastavrou joined the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1983. Since then, he has held positions in Paris, Beijing, Brussels and Jerusalem. In June 2007 he was promoted to Minister Plenipotentiary in Jerusalem. In September 2008 he became the Director of the Diplomatic Office of the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Yannis Valinakis, and in January 2010 he became the Special Advisor to the Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece, Mr Dimitris Droutsas. Since September 2010 he has been the Deputy Permanent Representative of Greece to the European Union.

Daniel Skoch, Executive Vice-President, Materion Corporation

Daniel A. Skoch has been the Executive Vice-President of Materion Corporation since July 2000. Prior to that, he served as Vice President, Administration and Human Resources from March 1996. He was Vice President, Human Resources from July 1991 and before that, he was Corporate Director, Personnel.


24th September 2013
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