Personalities: The European Commission appoints a new Director in DG INTPA and four Principal Legal Advisers in the Legal Service

On October 5, 2021, the European Commission has appointed Antti Karhunen, a Finnish national, as Director for ‘Sustainable Finance, Investment and Jobs; Economy that works for the People’ at the Directorate-General for International Partnerships (DG INTPA). This DG aims to contribute to sustainable development, the eradication of poverty, peace as well as to the protection of human rights, through international partnerships that uphold and promote European values and interests.

Antti Karhunen

During his 25 years of service within the European Commission, Antti Karhunen has built a solid and broad experience on many EU policy areas. He has steered EU policy on the role of the private sector and trade in development over the past several years, and helped design sustainable finance- and investment-related work in DG DEVCO and DG INTPA. Having managed highly qualified teams and important financial resources for many years, together with his most recent role in providing strategic advice as member of DG INTPA senior management, have equipped Antti Karhunen with strong management experience and a thorough understanding of sustainable finance and economic policies related to international partnerships. His numerous years of experience at DG INTPA have also endowed him with an in-depth knowledge of the structure and organisation of the Directorate-General that will help him lead the work of his new Directorate.

Antti Karhunen is currently Principal Adviser at DG INTPA, in which role he has focused on trade and development matters and the Green Deal. He has had various management and advisory roles serving as Head of the Unit dealing with private sector and trade in DG DEVCO, Deputy Head of Cabinet of the Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs, Deputy Head of Unit in the Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry and Member of Cabinet for the two cabinets of Erkki Liikanen, Commissioner for Enterprise and Information Society, and Commissioner for Budget, Personnel and Administration. Lawyer by education, Antti Karhunen worked in Finnish diplomatic service and as a company lawyer prior to joining the European Commission. The date of effect will be determined later.

The European Commission appoints four Principal Legal Advisers in the Legal Service

The Commission has on October 5, 2021, appointed four Principal Legal Advisers in the Legal Service, which is the in-house legal counsel to the Commission. It ensures that Commission decisions comply with EU law, preventing or reducing the risk of subsequent litigation. The Principal Legal Advisers advise the Commission and its departments in legal matters and define the legal positions on the decisions to be taken by the Commission and its departments in the areas covered by their team.

Chiara Cattabriga

They notably represent the Commission as an agent in litigation before the Court of Justice and other courts in major cases. The date of effect of these appointments will be determined later. Chiara Cattabriga, an Italian national, will be the Principal Legal Adviser for the AGRI team (Agriculture and fisheries).  She is currently Legal Adviser in the ‘Justice, freedom and security team’ and has served as a member of the Legal Service in various Teams such as ‘Agriculture’, ‘Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection’ and ‘Justice, Freedom and Security’ since 2001 when she joined the Commission.

Prior to that, she was legal secretary at the General Court and professor and researcher in the field of union law and international law. Maria Isabel Martínez del Peral Cagigal, a Spanish national, has been appointed as Principal Legal Adviser for the SOC Team (Employment and Social Affairs, Education and Culture, Health and Consumer Protection).

She is currently working as Deputy Director and Legal Adviser in the Institutional Team of the Legal Service, advising the President’s Cabinet and the Secretariat-General on the procedure for appointing the Commission and the replacement of Commissioners, as well as on the application of the Code of Conduct for Commissioners. She joined the Legal Service in 1995. Earlier in her career, she was rapporteur of the ‘Merger Task Force’ in the Directorate-General for Competition and Head of Service in the Directorate-General for Competition of the Ministry of Economy and Finance in Spain.

Leo Flynn

Leo Flynn, an Irish national, will be the Principal Legal Adviser for the AIDE team (State Aid and Dumping). He is currently Legal Adviser in the AIDE team. Earlier on, he was Legal Adviser for the INSTIT team and then Eurozone team dealing in both with economic policy coordination, fiscal surveillance, monetary policy issues, and financial assistance to Member States and third countries. From 2002 until 2015, he was member of the Legal Service, assigned to the AIDE and BUDG teams.

In parallel to his Commission career, he has also been visiting professor for various universities. Bernd Martenczuk, a German national, will be the Principal Legal Adviser for the BUDG team (Budget, Customs, Taxation). He is currently Legal Adviser and Assistant to the Director-General of the Legal Service responsible for legal coordination in the areas of institutional law, justice and home affairs, external relations, trade, economic and monetary union, budget, customs and tax, and staff law. From 2014 to 2017, he served as Cabinet Expert and Legal Advisor for First Vice-President Timmermans. From 1999 until 2014, he was a member of the Legal Service, working successively in the teams dealing with external relations and trade, state aid and institutional law.

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