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About the speakers during the Enfranchising EU Citizens Conference

Sophie in ‘t Veld is a member of the European Parliament since 2004, leader of the D66 delegation and member of the “Renew Europe” group. She is the lead member for her Group in the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committee. In September 2021 she published “A scent of wild animals” ( on the need for the EU to become a fully fledged parliamentary democracy.

Patrick Bijsmans is Assiociate Professor in Teaching & Learning European Studies at Maastricht University. His research interests include media and Euroscepticism, the development of a European public sphere, and EU democracy. Patrick’s work has been published in Comparative European Politicis, the Journal of Contemporary European Studies, the Journal of European Integration, and The Routledge Handbook of Euroscepticism. Patrick is co-moderator of the Ideas on Europe blog platform, hosted by the University Association for Contemporary European Studies (UACES).

Afke Groen is researcher at the Mr. Hans van Mierlo Foundation, the political foundation of D66, and editor-in-chief of the magazine Idee. Previously, she completed a PhD in Political Science at Maastricht University and the Amsterdam Institute for German Studies, where she wrote on transnational contacts between national political parties in the European Union. Among other subjects, she published on the role of national parliaments in the EU. At the Van Mierlo Foundation, she co-edited the volume ‘Naar een nieuw kabinet van sociale rechtvaardigheid’ (Boom, 2021) – a collection of essays on the major societal challenges of the 2020s.

Laurence Guérin is a Professor of Global Citizenship at the Hague University of Applied Sciences and has developed an interdisciplinary undergraduate course in Children’s Rights. She also leads the Citizenship Research Group, including the project MBO Werkplaats Burgerschap working on a vision of citizenship, education and critical thinking in a professional teaching context. Guérin was the project leader of Science Citizenship programme that has been implemented in twelve primary and secondary schools in the Netherlands

Tony Venables began his career working for the parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. He moved to the EU in Brussels in 1972 when his country, the UK, joined. Bored with being a European civil servant he left to run the European consumer lobby, BEUC, which he developed by high-profile campaigning. After this experience, he set up ECAS (European Citizen Action Service) to help others campaign for EU legislation and where in turn he helped set up new  European associations for health and culture. After launching hotlines on visible and hidden barriers to freedom of movement, ECAS was asked by the Commission to run Your Europe advice. From the experience with helping people enforce their European rights, an interest in EU citizenship developed. On retiring from ECAS in 2015, Tony Venables wrote a book “Piecing together Europe’s citizenship” published by Nomos and set up ECIT, a think tank devoted to European citizenship. ECIT hosts a team of Erasmus students “ Voters without borders “ which is running a European citizens’ initiative demanding full political rights for mobile EU citizens.

Thomas Peutz is the organiser of this conference. He will introduce the speakers and moderate the discussion. Thomas is the chair of D66 Delft and initiator of the D66 International Working Group. He has worked and lived abroad for about ten years, mostly in Italy and the UK, and is married to a Northern Irish Catholic who grew up during the struggles. Their children are EU citizens with passports from the Netherlands, Ireland and Great Britain & Northern Ireland.


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Laatst gewijzigd op 24 november 2021