Board members


Janez POTOČNIK (SI) - Chairman

Janez Potočnik is the former European Commissioner for the Environment (2010-2014) and the former European Commissioner for Science and Research (2004-2010). Prior to this he was Minister Councillor at the Slovenian Prime Minister's Cabinet from 2001 to 2002 and Minister for European Affairs from 2002 to 2004. He headed the negotiating team for the accession of Slovenia to the EU between 1998 and 2004. He holds a PhD in Economics.




Thierry DE L’ESCAILLE (BE) – Treasurer

Thierry de l’Escaille is Secretary General of the European Landowners’ Organisation and Secretary General of the Friends of the Countryside (FCS).  In addition, he manages his family agricultural business which consists of the production of vegetables, sugar beet, wheat and flowers in Belgium, France and the Netherlands.



Paolo de Castro is an MEP and former Chairman of the European Parliament Agriculture and Rural Development Committee of which he is now Shadow Rapporteur.  He is a Professor of Agricultural Economics at the Agriculture Academy of Bologna, the Georgofili Agricultural Economics Academy of Florence, the Agriculture Academy of Pesaro and the National Academy of Treja.  In addition, he runs the International Agricultural Policy Magazine edited by the Informatore Agrario in Verona.  From 1996 to 1998 he was economic advisor of Prime Minister Romano Prodi and Economic Advisor of the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Resources, Michele Pinto.  


BUREN Christoph

Christoph BÜREN (FR)

Christoph BÜREN is the current President of the European Landowners’ Organisation and Vice-President of the French farmers’ society, SAF-agriculteurs de France and is the leader of SAF’s work on the EU Common Agricultural Policy. He is an agricultural entrepreneur from the Marne area of France and is a former Secretary General of the Association of French Wheat Growers (AGPB), and a Director of ARVALIS (crops research institute) and Parmentine (a French potato company).


Mella Frewen is the Director General of FoodDrinkEurope, representing Europe’s largest manufacturing industry, since July 2007. Mella Frewen’s previous positions include Director for Government Affairs EMEA at Monsanto, Director of International Relations for Cerestar and earlier roles in the Ferruzzi and Eridania Bégin-Say Groups. She has a wide experience of relations with International institutions, with the Institutions of the European Union and trade associations within the food chain, as well as with the agri-food and non-food, and chemical sectors.



Jon Parr is Chief Operating Officer of Syngenta.  Prior to his current role he was Head of Global Crops & Assets for Syngenta in 2014, Regional Director for EAME (2009–2013), Head of Syngenta Flowers (2007–2008), Head of Marketing and Strategy (2004–2007) and European Manufacturing Manager (2000–2003). Before joining Syngenta, he worked for AstraZeneca as a Factory Manager (1998–2000), Global Product Manager Fungicides (1996–1998) and Supply Chain Project Manager (1994–1996). From 1987 to 1994, he held Project and Engineering Management roles at Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI). He is a Chartered Engineer.

DE POUS PieterPieter de Pous (NL)

Pieter is head of the conservation and environment department at NABU, the BirdLife partner in Germany as well as a member of the EEB, since November 2017. He has a masters degree in forest and conservation science from the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands. Before joining NABU he was EEB's EU Policy Director where he led the EEB's EU policy team and worked on environmental policies, as well as agriculture, energy, regulatory reform and trade.


Koen Van Keer is a Sustainability Affairs and Stakeholder Relations Expert with Yara International (a global fertilizer company). His work focuses on EU agri-env policies and regulations dealing ao with fertilizers, circular economy and nutrient recycling, and soils. Prior to his current role he held various overseas positions in the fertilizers industry, and before that he was an academic field researcher. He holds a PhD degree in agronomy, and has a broad experience with soil science/management, crop nutrition, and cropping systems in temperate (Europe), dry (Middle East) and tropical regions (Asia).


Giuseppe Visconti is a land manager who runs a business operating in the wine industry and producing cereals, rice and poplars.  He is also a former President of the Friends of the Countryside, and of the Federazione Nazionale della Proprietà Fondiaria, where he remains a columnist.  He is an academic of the Accademia die Georgofili of Florence and Director of the “Società Agraria di Lombardia

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