The bureau of FEPS

  • Maria Joao RODRIGUES

    position: President of FEPS


    President of FEPS

    Maria João Rodrigues - former Portuguese minister of Prime Minister Antonio Guterres, is a European politician with a long track in all European institutions: EU Presidencies, Council, European Council, European Commission and, more recently, European Parliament. She played a relevant role is several big European initiatives: the EU growth and jobs strategy, the Lisbon Treaty, the Eurozone reform, the European Social Pillar, the interface with EU external strategic partners and the Roadmap for EU’s future.

    Since 2017 is the President of the European Foundation of Progressive Studies (FEPS), the only progressive think tank at the European level, formed by forty national member foundations across Europe.

    Recently, she was Vice-President of S&D Group in the European Parliament, a parliamentary group with 189 members from all Member States, where she was in charge of the coordination of the parliamentary work and the inter-institutional negotiation on the EU agenda.

    As an academic, she is full professor and was the Chair of the European Commission Board for socio-economic research. She has around one hundred publications and as expert and politician, has done more than two thousands conferences across Europe and the world.

    Short CV

    Long CV

    Personal website

  • Enrique BARÓN CRESPO

    position: Vice-President of FEPS


    • Vice president of FEPS and President of FEPS Scientific Board.

    • Born in Madrid, 1944. he speaks seven European languages.

    • Former President of the European Parliament (1989-92), President the Socialist and Democrats in the EP (1999-2004)Member of the European Parliament (1986-2008),Former Chairman to the Foreign Affairs Committee and to the International Trade Committee of the EP

    • Former Minister of the Spanish Government which adhered to the EC (1982-85)

    • Former Member of the Spanish National Parliament( 1977-87), Father of the Spanish Constitution

    • Chair Jean Monnet “ad honorem”, visiting Professor in Universities all over the World
    • Lawyer and Economist. P.H.D. in Law and Economics ( Universidad Complutense, ICADE - Madrid ) & Diplômé Ecole Supérieure des Sciences Economiques et Commerciales (ESSEC)

    • Human Rights Lawyer under Franco’s Dictatorship

    • Author. Most recent books:“Europe at the dawn of the millennium” ;" Europa, Pasión y Razón; a handbook on “The Treaty of Lisbon & Charter of Fundamental Rights” (published in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Polish and Rumanian); “Más Europa Unida, ¡Unida!”, "Memoirs" and “La Era del federalismo”.

    • Former President of the “Former Members Association of the European Parliament”, President of Honour of the “International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation”, Former Vice-President of the Istituto Internazionale per l’Opera e la Poesia di Verona-UNESCO, member of the Fundación Dalí and of the Board of Trustees of Friends of Europe and Notre Europe.



  • László ANDOR

    position: Secretary General


    László Andor is a Hungarian economist, and former EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (2010-2014). Since stepping down from the Commission, he has been head of department of economic policy at Corvinus University (Budapest), Senior Fellow at Hertie School of Governance (Berlin) and a visiting professor at ULB (Brussels) as well as Sciences Po (Paris). He also became member in various think tanks (EPC, RAND Europe, Friends of Europe) in an advisory capacity.

    Between 1991 and 2005, Andor taught political science and economic policy in Budapest, and was editor of the progressive social science journal Eszmélet. He was also a regular columnist for the weekly business magazine Figyelő and the daily Népszava. He has authored, edited or co-edited a dozen books in Hungary, including on economic and political history, comparative economics and globalization. Andor has also taught at Rutgers (State University of New Jersey, USA) as Visiting Fulbright Professor (1997-8) and worked as an adviser for the World Bank on SAPRI (Structural Adjustment Participatory Review Initiative). He also worked as an adviser for the Budget Committee of the Hungarian Parliament (1998-9) and the Prime Minister’s Office (2002-5). From 2005 to 2010, he was a Member of the Board of Directors of the EBRD (London), representing the Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary and Slovakia.

    Andor holds a degree in Economic Sciences from Karl Marx (now Corvinus) University, an MA in Development Economics from the University of Manchester, and PhD from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (1995). He was awarded Doctor Honoris Causa at Sofia University of National and World Economy and the Legion of Honour by the French President in 2014.

    Follow him on Twitter | Download his photo

  • Jan-Erik STØSTAD

    position: Vice-Presidents of FEPS


    Treasurer. Jan-Erik Støstad (born 1953) is Secretary General of SAMAK, the Cooperation Committee of the Nordic Socialdemocratic parties and trade unions. He is a Norwegian politician and economist, and was state secretary in the Labour ministry 2005-2012. He has written one book on social dumping and two books on the provision of welfare services.





    position: Vice-Presidents of FEPS


    Dr. Uwe Optenhögel (born 1952) is a political scientist and economist. Uwe studied in Bonn, Washington D.C., Hamburg and Lisbon. He holds a master’s degree in political science and a PhD from the University of Hamburg. Prior to his work with FES he was a policy officer at the Cultural Authority of the city of Hamburg (1978-80) and CEO of an Education Cooperative in Lisbon, Portugal (1982-1984).

    From 2013-18 Uwe Optenhögel was director of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation’s EU office in Brussels. Prior to this position, he was director at several international FES offices in Brazil, Cuba/Dominican Republic, Madagascar/Mauritius and the Scandinavian countries. From 1991 to 2004, Uwe Optenhögel was at FES headquarters in Bonn and Berlin, serving as head of the Department for Central and Eastern Europe and as International Director of the Foundation. He has been or is a member of the Task Force ‘Stability Pact for the Balkans’ (1997-2000), of the editorial board of the “Journal of International Politics and Society (IPG)”, of the Steering Committees of the “Petersburg Dialog” (2000-2004), of the European Task Force on Security and Defence headed by Javier Solana (2014-2016), As of October 2017, he is CEO of the publishing house J.H.W. Dietz Nachf. in Bonn.

    He currently serves as Vice President of the Foundation of European Progressive Studies (FEPS).

    Apart from his work for FES, Uwe Optenhögel has been a freelance political analyst and consultant for a broad range of public and private organizations in Germany, Europe and beyond.



    position: Representatives of national political foundations and think tanks


    Maria Maltschnig (32) studied Socio-Economics in Vienna. After working for the Austrian Chamber of Labour and the Federal Ministry of Finance, she was an Assistant to the CEO of the Austrian Federal Railways. After that she became head of the cabinet of the Austrian Chancellor. At the end of 2016 she turned director of the Karl-Renner-Institute, the political academy of the Austrian Social Democratic Party.

  • Arjen BERKVENS

    position: Representatives of national political foundations and think tanks


    Director Foundation Max van der Stoel

  • Jean-Marc AYRAULT

    position: Representatives of national political foundations and think tanks


    Secretary General of the Fondation Jean-Jaurès from January 2018

    Jean-Marc Ayrault holds the (CAPES) diploma for teaching German in Secondary Schools. He developed a passion for politics at a young age and became member of the Socialist Party (PS) at the age of 21.

    In 1977 he became Mayor of Saint-Herblain, then of Nantes in 1989, where he was re-elected three times. From 1986 he was a Member of Parliament for the Loire-Atlantique region. Where he played an important role and. in 1997 became leader of the Socialist Parliamentary group within the Assemblée générale. On the 15th May 2012 he was appointed as Prime Minister by the newly-elected President of the French Republic, François Hollande. He was then re-elected MP in his constituency at the first round the following 10th June. On the 31st March 2014 he left his position as Prime Minister and became a Member of Parliament again until March 2016. From February 2016 to February 2018 Jean-Marc Ayrault was Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development.

    Photo: @Fondation Jean Jaurès

  • Jean-Paul BUFFAT

    position: Representatives of national political foundations and think tanks


    Jean-Paul has a degree in public law and European affairs. After having successfully conducted several European projects for a European network of local authorities based in Paris, he moved to Brussels, where he joined the Cabinet of the Mayor of the City of Brussels and later that of the President of the Brussels-Capital Region. In 2011, he joined the Belgian Progressive Foundation – the Emile Vandervelde Institute - to advise its President and became his diplomatic adviser in the Prime minister's office.


    position: Representatives of national political foundations and think tanks


    Mojca Kleva Kekus is a former Member of the European Parliament (S&D) that devoted her mandate to fight against inequalities, mostly on tax evasion, fraud and tax havens and fight for equality between women and men. She worked in REGI committee on financial instruments in Cohesion policy, especially in Central and Eastern Europe and on the MFF 2014-2020.

    Before her political mandate in the EP she held a diplomatic post as the Slovenian National Assembly representative in Brussels and worked for seven years in the Slovenian Parliament (Education, Human Rights and EU Affairs).

    Mojca was politically engaged during her studies when she was elected as the youngest Councillor in Slovenia (City Council of Koper for 10 years). During those years, she was active in civil society movements, mostly devoted to women emancipation and youth participation in politics.

    Mojca holds a Master degree in International relations and is currently working in the Cabinet of the Rector of the University of Primorska, responsible for Legal Affairs, Human Resources and PR relations.

    She is bilingual Slovenian-Italian and speaks English, Serbo-Croatian and Spanish.

  • Iratxe GARCÍA

    position: Ex-officio members


    Iratxe García Pérez is a Spanish politician member of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party. She has served as Member of the European Parliament since 2004, and she was elected Leader of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats parliamentary group in 2019.

  • Jordi HARRISON

    position: Ex-officio members


    Secretary General of PES Group in the Committee of the Regions. 


  • Sergei STANISHEV

    position: Vice-President of FEPS


    Ex-officio member as President of PES

    Member of the European Parliament elected in 2014.

    Prime Minister of Bulgaria 2005 - 2009

    On the 24th November 2011, he became PES President.

    Sergei Stanishev was born on the 5th May 1966. He studied history, in which he holds a PhD. He was a visiting fellow in International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Prior to his political career he worked as a journalist.

    In 1996 he became Head of the foreign policy and international relations department of the Bulgarian Socialist Party. In 2001 he was elected Member of the Bulgarian Parliament. Since December 2001 he has been Chairman of the National Council of the Bulgarian Socialist Party. He was re-elected as Party Chair in 2002, 2005 and 2009. From 2002 to 2009 he was a member of the PES Presidency. During his term as Prime Minister Bulgaria became a member of the European Union. Currently he is a Member of Parliament and Chairman of the Parliamentary Group of the Coalition for Bulgaria.

  • Alicia HOMS

    position: Ex-officio members


    Alicia Homs is a Spanish politician who was elected Member of the European Parliament in 2019

    Born on 15 October 1993 in Palma de mallorca, she obtained a degree in Political Science and Public Management at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. She was worked as technical advisor for the Regional Ministry of Labor of the Balearic Islands. 


  • Zita GURMAI

    position: Vice-Presidents of FEPS


    PES Women President. Member of the Hungarian Parliament.

    Former Member of the European Parliament vice-chair of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality in the 2004-2009 term, member of the Committee on Regional Development between 2009-2014 and also substitute in the Committee on Transport and Tourism in the last term.

    After finishing the University of Economic Sciences in Budapest, Zita Gurmai worked in the private sphere, in numerous companies. She finally turned to politics in 1995, becoming the chargé d'affaires of the Women's Organisation of the Hungarian Socialist Party, that she has been chairing since 2001. She became vice-chair of the Socialist International in 1999 and 2003 until 2008. She has benn member of the Hungarian Parliament between 2002 and 2004 and from April 2018 to date.