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Plenary speakers

(In order of appearance)

Martin Schulz
Martin Schulz has served as President of the European Parliament since January 2012. He has been a Member of the European Parliament since 1994 and has served on a number of committees, including the sub-committee on Human Rights and the Committee on Civil Liberties and Home Affairs. He led the SPD MEPs from 2000 and was subsequently elected Vice-Chair of the Socialist MEPs. In 2004 he was elected group leader of the second largest group in the European Parliament. As leader of the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, Martin Schulz campaigned for social justice, promoting jobs and growth, reforming financial markets, fighting climate change, championing equality and creating a stronger and more democratic Europe. View opening speech (Video)|download speech (DE)



Loucas Louca
Loucas Louca assumed his duties as Minister of Justice and Public Order of the Republic of Cyprus in December 2008. In 1998 he was one of the founders of the EPALXIS party and since 2001 he has been a member of its Political Bureau. Mr Louca holds a degree in law and is a member of the Bar Association of Nicosia. Download the speech.
Morten Kjaerum
Morten Kjaerum has served as Director of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights since June 2008. Before joining the FRA, Mr Kjaerum served as the founding Director of the Danish Institute for Human Rights. Over 17 years in top executive roles, Mr Kjaerum built the Institute, Denmark’s national human rights institution, into an internationally recognised institution. An expert in human rights implementation, Mr Kjaerum has been a member of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the President of the International Coordination Committee for National Human Rights Institutions, a network coordinating relations between the United Nations and national institutions. Mr Kaerum has written extensively on issues relating to human rights, in particular on refugee law, the prohibition against racial discrimination, and the role of national human rights institutions. Download speech.
Viviane Reading
Viviane Reding has been the Vice-President of the European Commission, responsible for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, since February 2010. This is Ms Reding’s third term as a Commissioner. Prior to her appointment, she was Commissioner for Information, Society, and Media (2004-2010) and Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth, Media and Sports (1999-2004). Before joining the European Commission, Ms Reding served as City Councillor in her home-town of Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxemburg), as a national parliamentarian, and as a European parliamentarian for 10 years. Ms Reding has been the recipient of many awards and distinctions, including the Gold Medal of European Merit (2001), the Robert Schuman Medal (2004) and the Prince of Asturias International Cooperation Prize (2004). Read Viviane Reding's speech.
Navanethem Pillay
Navanethem Pillay has been the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights since September 2008, a mandate which was renewed for two years as of September 2012. Prior to that, Ms Pillay, a South African national, served as a judge on the International Criminal Court in the Hague (2003-2008). Ms Pillay began her professional career as the first woman to start a law practice in her home province of Natal in 1967 and acted as a defence attorney for anti-apartheid activists. She has also played a critical role in the ground-breaking jurisprudence of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda on rape as genocide, as well as on issues of freedom of speech and hate propaganda. In South Africa, as a member of the Women's National Coalition, she contributed to the inclusion of an equality clause in the country’s Constitution. Keynote address.
Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar MEP
Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar MEPis a Member of the European Parliament, where he chairs the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE). He is also a Member of the Special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering (CRIM) and the Delegation to the ACP (African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States)-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly. As a member of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, Mr Aguilar served as Minister of Justice in the government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. He also represented Las Palmas in the congress between 2000 and 2004. For a number of years Mr Aguilar has been a Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. In November 2006, he was chosen as the socialist candidate for the Presidency of the Canary Islands Government.
Paula Teixeira da Cruz
Paula Teixeira da Cruz is Minister of Justice of Portugal. Previously she served as a Member of the High Council of the Public Prosecutor’s Office (1999-2003), Member of the General Council of the Bar Association (2002-2005), and Member of the Supreme Judicial Council (2003-2005). She is also a member of the Portuguese Association of European Law (APDE), Association for the Progress of Law and Portuguese Association of Arbitration. Within the Social Democratic Party, she has been a Member (1997-1998) and two-times Vice-Chair of the National Political Committee, and a Chair of the Lisbon District Political Committee. Paula Teixeira da Cruz served as a Councillor (without portfolio) on Lisbon City Council (1998-2002), and a Chair of the Municipal Assembly of Lisbon (2005 -2009).
Paula Teixeira da Cruz
Teresa Jiménez-Becerril Barrio is a Member of the European Parliament, where she serves as Member of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) and on the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality. She is part of the Group of the European People’s Party (EPP). Ms Jiménez-Becerril Barrio was rapporteur of the recently adopted Directive establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime.
Françoise Castex
Françoise Castex is a Member of the European Parliament and Vice-Chair of the Committee on Legal Affairs. She is also member of the Special Committee on Organised Crime, Corruption and Money Laundering (CRIM). As a MEP, she has continuously advocated for the protection of fundamental rights in the EU. In 2011, for example, Ms Castex together with a group of other MEPs launched a Written Declaration on infringement of fundamental rights of the detainees in the EU. Previously, Ms Castex held different positions in the area of education, including Special Advisor for Educational Cooperation in the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2002 -2004), Advisor in the office of the Minister responsible for vocational education (2000-2002) and Advisor in the Office of the Chairman of the Gers Departmental Council (1998-2000).
Maura McGowan
Maura McGowan QC, is Vice-Chairperson of the Bar for England and Wales for 2012 and Chairperson elect for 2013. She is a criminal practitioner in London and at Lincoln House Chambers in Manchester. She has extensive experience in all areas of crime, most notably murder, drugs, violent and sexual assault and child abuse. She also appears in serious and complex fraud cases. A Deputy High Court Judge since 2010 and a Recorder since 1996, she is an elected member of the Bar Council (serving on the Law Reform Committee and as Vice-Chairperson of the Professional Practice Committee). She is the Director of Education and Training for the South Eastern Circuit and a serving committee member of the Criminal Bar Association. She is a Bencher of Middle Temple and an advocacy trainer.
Lotta Hakansson-Harju
Lotta Hakansson-Harju is a Member of the Committee of the Regions (CoR) of the European Union. She is Member of Järfälla Municipal Council in Sweden. As member of the CoR's Commission for Citizenship, Governance, Institutional & External Affairs (CIVEX) she was rapporteur for the CoR opinion on the Strategy for the effective implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights.
Claude Moraes
Claude Moraes is Member of the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE). He is currently Spokesperson for the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament for the LIBE Committee and Deputy Leader of the European Parliamentary Labour Party. First elected to the European Parliament in 1999 for London, Mr Moraes was the first Asian origin MEP. He was previously Director of Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, the national migration and refugee charity, and Chief Executive of the Immigrants' Aid Trust. Prior to that he held a senior position in the British Trades Union Congress and was UK Commissioner for Race Equality. With a legal background, Claude has campaigned, written widely and provided regular media commentary on human rights and migration issues and organised legal test cases in UK and the European Courts.
Luigi Berlinguer
Luigi Berlinguer has been Member of the European Parliament since 2009. He serves as the Socialists and Democrats Group Coordinator of the Committee on Legal Affairs and he is also member of the Industry, Research and Energy Committee. Previously, Mr Berlinguer held a number of high level positions in Italy, among them, acting Minister of Higher Education and Scientific and Technological Research (1996-1998), Minister of Education (1996-2000), chair of the Italian Chamber of Deputies' Standing Committee on European Union Policies, member of the Senate Committee on European Communities Affairs, member of the Supreme Judicial Council (2002-2006). He is also Founder and former president of the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary (ENCJ). Mr Berlinquer holds Grand Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, French Legion of Honour and Grand Cross of the Republic of Italy.
Julia Laffranque
Julia Laffranque

is an Estonian jurist, judge, legal scientist. She has been a judge on the European Court of Human Rights since 2011, earlier a justice at the Supreme Court of Estonia and professor of European law at the University of Tartu. Ms Laffranque has also served as a President of International Federation for European Law (2011-2012), as well as President and beforehand Vice-president of the Council of Europe Consultative Council of European Judges (2006-2008). She is also President of the Estonian Association for European Law. Ms Laffranque holds 4th class Order of the White Star of the Republic of Estonia and Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Mérite of the Republic of France.
Marcella Prunbauer-Glaser
Marcella Prunbauer-Glaser became president of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) in 2012, having served as vice president from 2010. Ms Prunbauer-Glaser is an Austrian lawyer, partner of Prunbauer & Romig, Vienna. She is also Vice-President of the Austrian Bar and a member of the Vienna Bar Council. Her main practice areas are intellectual property law, trademarks, unfair competition, general corporate law and international transactions. She is also a lecturer at the Austrian Lawyers Academy and was formerly a lecturer at the Vienna Business School.
Miguel Carmona Ruano
Miguel Carmona Ruano is serving as a president of the Executive Board of the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary for the period 2011-2012. He joined the Network’s Executive Board in 2008. He was President of the Provincial Court of Seville from 1992 to 2008, when he was appointed as a Member of the General Council for the Judiciary of Spain (CGPJ), chairing the Committee on International Relations. He is the author of many articles and has been lecturer on juridical subjects as criminal procedure, trial by jury, judicial cooperation in criminal matters and judicial organisation.
Joanna Goodey
Joanna Goodey is Head of the Freedoms and Justice Department at the FRA. Ms Goodey has a PhD in criminology. From the mid-1990s she held lectureships in criminology and criminal justice – first in the Law Faculty at the University of Sheffield, and then at the University of Leeds. Subsequent to that she was a research fellow at the UN Office on Drugs and Crime for two years. Ms Goodey is the author of the academic textbook ‘Victims and Victimology: Research, Policy and Practice’ (2005), and co-editor of the book, together with A. Crawford, on ‘Integrating a Victim Perspective within Criminal Justice: International Perspectives’ (2000). To date, she has published over thirty academic journal articles and book chapters on issues ranging from the criminalisation of migrants, through to human trafficking and survey research.
Nils Muižnieks
Nils Muižnieks was elected Commissioner for Human Rights, the third person to hold the post, on 24 January 2012 by the Parliamentary Assembly and took up his position on 1 April 2012. Other posts he has held include: Chairman of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (2010-2012); Latvian minister responsible for social integration, anti-discrimination, minority rights, and civil society development (2002-2004); and Director of the Latvian Centre for Human Rights and Ethnic Studies – now Latvian Human Rights Centre (1994-2002). Download speech.
Jonas Grimheden
Jonas Grimheden is programme manager for justice-related projects at the FRA, where he coordinates the work in the area of access to justice. He is presently working on studies related to victims support services; fundamental rights indicators and freedom to conduct a business. Before joining the FRA in 2009, Mr Grimheden was a researcher and teacher based at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute (RWI), at Lund University in Sweden where he was the Deputy Head of the Academic Department. Earlier he worked for the RWI with human rights development cooperation where he established and headed an office in China (1999–2000). As a specialist in international human rights law, Jonas Grimheden has conducted research and taught at both academic and practitioner levels in the US, Europe, and Asia. Download presentation (pdf).
Maija Sakslin
Maija Sakslin, is the Chairperson of the FRA Management Board and Finland’s Deputy Parliamentary Ombudsman. She is an expert in constitutional and EU law, especially fundamental social rights and social security coordination in the EU. Previously, Ms Sakslin was a researcher at the Social Insurance Institution in Finland and at the Institution of International Economic Law at the University of Helsinki. She participated as an expert in a number of working groups and committees reforming the Finnish constitution. She also took part in various EU research projects, among them Observatory for Migrant workers and trESS, Training and reporting on social security coordination. View closing remarks.

Working group chairs

Dick Heimans
Dick Heimans is Deputy Head of the Criminal Law Unit in the Directorate-General for Justice of the European Commission. He is mainly responsible for managing and developing the European e-Justice Portal, but also involved in the criminal law work of the unit. He studied international and criminal law at Leiden University before joining the Dutch Ministry of Justice in 1989, where he worked on international law enforcement issues. In 1995, he became the first legal adviser to Europol, and in 1999 Head of the Legal Affairs unit at that organisation. In 2004, he joined the European Commission, where he has worked in policy areas such as cybercrime, counter-terrorism and protection of critical infrastructure before accepting his current position.
Nathalie Griesbeck
Nathalie Griesbeck has been Member of the European Parliament since 2004. She is Member of the French Democratic Movement national executive bureau and is part of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE). Ms Griesbeck is a Member of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and currently a rapporteur of the EP on Unaccompanied Minors. Before that she was permanent rapporteur on the Structural Funds for the European Parliament's Committee on Budgets (2005-2009) and Vice-Chairwoman of the Intergroup on the Family and Child Welfare (2004-2009). Ms Griesbeck is also Vice-Chairwoman of the Moselle Departmental Council and Chairwoman of the Committee on Social Affairs, Schools, Universities and Research (since 2011). She is also Knight of the Order of Academic Palms and Knight of the National Order of Merit.
Tadeusz Zwiefka
Tadeusz Zwiefka is a Polish politician who has been a Member of the European Parliament since 2004. He currently serves as a member of the Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) and Member of the Special Committee on Organised crime, corruption and money laundering (CRIM). He is also a Member of the Civic Platform National Executive, Member of the Board of the Hipolit Cegielski Society and a Spokesman for 'Stowarzyszenie Pomocy Mieszkaniowej dla Sierot', an association providing housing assistance to orphans. Previously Mr Zwiefka has held numerous positions at the Polish TV (TVP). He was an editor-in-chief of Polish TV regional centre in Poznan, later a journalist in central TVP1 news (Wiadomosci), parliamentary reporter and director of the Szczecin TV regional centre. He holds the Bronze Cross of Merit of the Republic of Poland and Commander's Cross of the Order of St Stanislas.
Jozef de Witte
Jozef De Witte chairs the Executive Board of the European Network of Equality Bodies (EQUINET). Since 2004, Mr de Witte has led the Belgian equality body and national human rights institution, the Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism. The centre’s mission is to combat racism and discrimination and to promote equal opportunities on all grounds except gender, to inform the authorities on migration patterns; to guarantee respect for the fundamental rights of foreigners and to foster the fight against human trafficking. Recently, the Centre was appointed as the independent mechanism to monitor the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Giuseppe De Palo
Giuseppe De Palo is President of the ADR Center – member of JAMS International, the largest private mediation firm in continental Europe. A full-time mediator since 1998, he has contributed to the resolution of over 400 complex commercial disputes. Mr De Palo is also an international professor of Alternative Dispute Resolution Law and Practice at Hamline University School of Law (St. Paul, USA) and has written extensively on the subject, his latest book being EU Mediation Law and Practice, co-edited with Mary Trevor and published by Oxford University Press (November 2012). Over the last ten years, he has led teams on several large-scale projects - funded by the World Bank, the European Commission and the Inter-American Development Bank - to promote mediation on four different continents. Download: [article] [presentation] [speech]


Sangita Myska is a BBC correspondent, presenter and journalist, currently working with the BBC. Sangita primarily works on the BBC’s rolling news network and has presented a range of current affairs programmes and documentaries. Among them, in 2008 Sangita Myska presented the BBC’s first under-cover investigation into child trafficking in the European Union. In 2012, Ms Myska became winner of the international Asian Woman of Achievement in the Media Award.
Friso Roscam Abbing
Friso Roscam Abbing has served as Head of Communication Department at the FRA since 2009. Prior to this, Mr Roscam Abbing was a Member of Cabinet of the European Commission Vice-President Jacques Barrot, the Commissioner for Freedom, Security and Justice. From 2004–2008, he was the spokesman of European Commission Vice President Franco Frattini, the Commissioner responsible for Freedom, Security and Justice issues. Between 2000 and 2004, he headed the EU Asylum Polices sector at the European Commission's DG Justice, Freedom and Security. Before this, he led the EU Office of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE, 1994-2000) after starting his career as Head of the Legal Department at the Dutch Refugee Council (1986-1994).