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Political Advisory Committee

Influencing policy on European urban transport

The Political Advisory Committee (PAC) is a small group of leading politicians that acts as the steering group of the CIVITAS initiative and network of cities. Its members participate in a personal capacity. PAC members are mainly responsible for:

  1. Delivering policy recommendations to the European Commission (EC)’s Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE);
  2. Facilitating cooperation between the EC and the CIVITAS city network, and CIVINET national and regional networks;
  3. Choosing the host city and providing input for the annual CIVITAS Forum Conference;
  4. Taking part in key CIVITAS activities, including study tours, peer reviews, and thematic working groups;
  5. Ensuring and strengthening the involvement of politicians from CIVITAS cities in the initiative's activities.

PAC members meet three times a year, including at the yearly CIVITAS Forum Conference. The current PAC was selected in September 2018 and will serve until the election of the new one.

The European Commission appointed the current 15-member PAC (with the PAC Secretariat's support) based on general criteria of representativeness, including type of city and geographical position, CIVITAS experience, and gender.

The first meeting of this PAC took place at the CIVITAS Forum in Umeå, Sweden, between 19-21 September 2018. See its members below.

To see the Terms of Reference for the PAC, click here.

PAC Statements

Statements constitute one of the PAC's most important outputs. Often taking the form of policy recommendations, these contribute to the work of policy makers working in urban mobility at European, national and local level. They also support the identification of CIVITAS's policy priorities and seek to mobilise industry, transport operators, and other stakeholders.

PAC Members

Members of the new Political Advisory Committee (PAC), which was constituted in September 2018, are listed below. The current CIVITAS PAC is Dejan Crnek, Vice-Mayor of Ljubljana (Slovenia).

George Marianakis
Mayor of Rethymno

George Marianakis has been a lawyer since 1982 and became the Mayor of the Municipality of Rethymno (Greece) in 2007.

During his mayoral term, he has focused on sustainable development and placed an emphasis on improving infrastructure and mobility measures like traffic calming and accessibility for all.

He led the coordination of Rethymno's first local Sustainable Development Plan, which was created using a cross-party and multidisciplinary philosophy and led to the creation of the city’s Sustainable Energy Action Plan, which included sustainable mobility as a priority pillar.

Under his leadership, Rethymno has also participated in the European Reference Framework for Sustainable Cities, joined the Covenant of Mayors, its Mayors Adapt initiative, and the Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy.

In addition, during his time in office Rethymno has been one of the founding members of the recently established CIVINET Greece–Cyprus and became the first Greek CIVITAS demonstration city as one of the six cities in the CIVITAS DESTINATIONS project.

As a member of the PAC, he aims to reinforce cooperation between CIVITAS cities, support the implementation of EU policies towards safer, cleaner and inclusive mobility, strengthen the links amongst European policy bodies and local public authorities, and create a common vision and understanding of urban mobility problems and solutions that focusing on engaging new generations and active citizen participation.

Enrico Stefano
Chairman of the Transport Committee of Roma

Enrico Stefano has been a City Councillor in Rome since 2013. In 2016, he was elected Chairman of the Transport Committee.  

The Transport Committee in the Italian capital defines the guidelines that the Mayor acts by for the most important political decisions and topics relating to transport.

He has a Master’s degree in Law, as well as one in Space Law. He has also previously worked for the Italian Space Agency.

Helmuth Moroder
General Manager of Local Public Transport Authority of Bologna

Helmuth Moroder was born in 1961 in Bressanone in the province of Bolzano, Italy. He graduated in 1993 in Civil Engineering at the University of Bologna.

He has always worked as an engineer, both in public and private companies in Bolzano and Bologna, working on public transport planning and transport infrastructure. In Bolzano, he also worked as General Manager of the municipality for five years.

Recently, he has coordinated a working group set up by the Euregio Tirolo (Trentino, Alto Adige and Austrian Tyrol) to elaborate a strategic document on "Sustainable Mobility in the Alpine Regions".

The last two years have seen him involved in the technical elaboration of Bologna's SUMP in the Metropolitan City of Bologna: he has been part of the Management Committee and contributed to drafting the SUMP and its objectives.

In July 2017, he was appointed as General Manager of SRM, the Authority for Mobility and Local Public Transport of Bologna.

Koen Kennis
Deputy Mayor of Antwerp

Koen Kennis is a Flemish politician with over 20 years’ political experience. He is currently the first Deputy Mayor of the city of Antwerp, Belgium. Since 2013, he has been Deputy Mayor for finance, mobility, small- and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), tourism and intra-municipal decentralisation.

Initially, he started his career in the private sector as manager for Belgavia from 1994 till 1997, later becoming a managing consultant for Stork Asset Management Solutions from 1997 until 2009.

From 2009 to 2012, he was the senior advisor to Geert Bourgeois, the then Vice Minister-President of the Flemish Government.

Tiziana Benassi
Deputy Mayor of Environmental Sustainability of Parma

Tiziana Benassi was appointed as Deputy Mayor for Environmental Sustainability of the City of Parma in 2017. She has university degrees in Civil Engineering and Architecture and a Master's degree in Behavioural Science at Luiss University of Rome. This developed her knowledge of land use, mobility, and traffic planning.

She has gained particular experience in urban planning and transport through her several years of time in local administrations as the head of different technical departments.

As Deputy Mayor responsible for sustainable mobility, European projects, environmental and energy policies, and active on  several boards and committees related to transport, Tiziana has a strong interest in sustainable development, urban mobility and European cooperation.

During her mandate, Tiziana will work to make Parma a more sustainable, attractive, green and smart city by encouraging cycling and walking, increasing intermodality and public transport use, and implementing comprehensive charging infrastructure for e-vehicles.

As a CIVITAS PAC member, she is keen to cooperate with the EU and other European cities to increase the role and potential of urban mobility within European strategies for 2020-2030.

George Dimarelos
Deputy Mayor for Urban Resilience and Development Programmes of Thessaloniki

George Dimarelos is a civil and transport engineer with 20 years experience in the private sector and local governance. Between 2001 and 2010, he worked as a transport consultant and project manager in various private sector projects.

Since 2010, he has served as an elected member of Thessaloniki City Council in Greece. He was appointed by the Mayor of Thessaloniki as an executive transport consultant and a member of the Board of Directors of the Thessaloniki Port Authority. He is also a board member of the Thessaloniki Urban Transport Authority.

In March 2017, he was appointed by the Mayor to serve as Deputy Mayor for Education and Sports. After taking an active role on transport issues during the development of the city’s first resilience strategy, he now serves as Deputy Mayor for Urban Resilience and Development Programmes.

He graduated from the University of Birmingham in Civil Engineering and gained a Master's degree (MSc) in Transport Engineering and Operations from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. In 2005, he received a Masters in Business Administration from the American College of Thessaloniki.

Carl Hanssens
Vice-Mayor for Mobility, the Public Domain and City Development of Sint-Niklaas

Carl Hanssens was born and raised in Sint-Niklaas, Belgium, and holds a Master's degree in translation (Dutch, English, and Spanish) and a post-graduate degree in Enterprise Management. He started his professional career in Finance (1997 – 2013) with Euroclear Bank Operations team. In 2010, he became Director of Risk Policy within the Euroclear Group, specialising in operational, business and reputation risk.

In 2012, Carl was elected to the Sint-Niklaas City Council and became Vice Mayor for mobility, local economy  and work. During his tenure, the city has issued its new car parking policy (2014), its second-generation Sustainable Mobility Plan (2015), its Bike Infrastructure and Parking Plan (2016) and Car Circulation Plan (2017).

When designing these policies and plans, the city experimented with different stakeholder management and participation methods in order to increase public support. 2018 and 2019 will see a new Public Transport Region launched, with Sint-Niklaas forming the region's centre.

Sint-Niklaas is part of the CIVITAS PROSPERITY project as a Champion City, with Carl joining its training programme as a coach on sustainable mobility and stakeholder management.

Andrzej Bień
Vice-Chairman of the City Council of Gdynia

Alongside being Vice Chairman of the Gdynia City Council, he is also Plenipotentiary of the Mayor for Safety.

Mr Bień has been a councilor since 1998, with a short break from 2006 to 2007. In addition, he is a Member of the City of Gdynia Road Safety Committee and the City Planning Commission in Gdynia City Council.

Beyond his civic positions, he is a former Chairman of the Transport Committee at UBC and specialises in real estate.

With regards to his education, he gained a Master of Science in Engineering from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at Gdańsk University of Technology.

After this, he completed his postgraduate studies in the "Management of Spatial Development of Cities" at the Faculty of Architecture at the Gdańsk University of Technology.

Dejan Crnek
Vice-Mayor of Ljubljana

Before being elected member of the Ljubljana City Council and appointed Vice-Mayor in 2014, he has served three terms as President of the District Council of Šmarna gora. In that role he has dedicated much attention to the development and improvement of  the public infrastructure in the district, with a special focus on mobility measures like calming the traffic and improving accessibility by public transport (extending PT lines, introducing  additional bus stops...). In the role of Vice-Mayor he is actively involved in the implementation of the new traffic policy of the City of Ljubljana with a strong emphasis on promotion of alternative mobility modes and multimodality. He actively participates in the European Mobility Week and Ljubljana European Green Capital 2016 activities. Other main fields of his activity within the City of Ljubljana are sports and cooperation with city districts.

Carlos Bernardes
Mayor of Torres Vedras

Master in Tourism Enterprises Management and PhD student in Tourism, became Vice Mayor in 2004, during this time implemented the Torres Vedras Local Agenda21, the Mobility City Strategy that encourage cycling and the use of public transportation, he led the implementation of the “Sustainable Energy Plan” and actually is leading the development of Torres Vedras “Climate Change Adaptation Plan”, booth promoted in the commitments framework of Covenant of Mayors, and Mayors Adapt. He is also, Municipality representative in CIVINET Spain & Portugal, in HyER the European Association for Hydrogen and fuel cells and Electro-mobility in European Regions and Quality Coast - EUCC Ambassador. He has coordinated the application to Civitas 2014 Award in the Technology and Innovation category, in which the municipality was awarded with the” Integrated City Parking Management Project”. Under his coordination, in 2015, Torres Vedras has won a European Green Leaf in the first year of the new European competition which recognizes a city's commitment to better environmental outcomes.

Margareta Rönngren
Vice Mayor of Umea

Margareta Rönngren is a member of the Executive Committee of the Municipal Assembly of Umeå and a member of the city’s Budget Preparation Committee and the Economic Development and Planning Committee. Furthermore, she is active on several boards and committees related to transport infrastructure (with a focus on railways and ports), and urban mobility. For example she serves on the board of Umeå’s public transport company, and as chair of the board of the county level public transport operator. Margareta Rönngren has a genuine interest in sustainable development and is active in several bilateral exchange programs at the international level for sustainable development as well as programs for exchange of experience in environmental engineering. For several legislatures she has been chair of the Municipal board for Primary and Secondary School in Umeå. As a member of CIVITAS PAC, she will focus on sustainable urban mobility in a long term perspective, recognizing the importance of integrating land use and transport policies, as well as implementing new smart solutions, in order to reduce reliance on fossil fuel.

Contact

Mr. Ivo Cré
PAC Secretary
Rue du Trône, 98
B - 1050, Brussels
Belgium

Ms Luana Bidasca
PAC Secretary
Rue du Trône, 98
B - 1050, Brussels
Belgium

pac@civitas.eu