Neva

JOB TITLE
Secretary General of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group

INDUSTRY
Government organisation

EMPLOYER
Committee of the Regions, EU

I chose Kent because I liked the combined degree option and the opportunity it gave for me to complement my degree in Kent with a year in a French university. I also got a really good vibe from the university when I visited it. I am glad I chose to study at Kent and have not regretted my choice.

After graduating, I spent the summer working for the Washington, D.C. based think tank Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). I then did a Master’s degree at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), following which I started working for the European Union (EU).

I have been based in Brussels and working for the EU since 2010. My EU career began in the Enlargement Strategy Unit of the European Commission’s former Enlargement Directorate-General. I subsequently worked in the European Parliament as an advisor. I helped form the centre-right European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) Group in the EU’s Committee of the Regions (CoR) in 2013, of which I am the Secretary-General.

I am a manager at the EU’s political assembly of local and regional authorities, the CoR. My role consists of heading the Secretariat of the centre-right ECR Group, which includes the British Conservatives. As Secretary General, I manage the work of our Secretariat and provide strategic advice to the Presidency of our Group.

As the CoR, we play a formal role in the EU’s decision-making process. We provide an opinion of the EU’s local and regional governments on EU legislative proposals and we also have the power to take the EU to court if the principle of subsidiarity (decisions being taken at the EU only when justifiable) is not respected. We ultimately help match EU policies with the situation on the ground. We also help in the sharing of best-practices within the EU and with the EU’s neighbouring countries.

The one piece of advice I would offer current students is to take the time to engage in society activities – either in terms of being an active member or in running it as a board member. The skills you develop through such activities will complement your academic development with soft skills that will help you in your career.

My university years were formative. Your views can change of course on certain topics the more you read and discuss topics during your degree and afterwards. Your views are also then shaped by your professional experiences. The principles that guide me, I would say have not changed too much from when I was a child – trying to be fair, just and true. My university years were also the first time I left home so it was a moment when I learnt to be an adult and learnt how to try to translate my principles into practice as an adult.