You made your first contact with one of the European institutions at the age of 28, when you were a Schuman scholar at the European Parliament in Luxembourg, and your master’s thesis was on the impact of cultural factors on European political cooperation. Europe as a political body seems to have cast a spell on you – what makes this field so attractive to you?
I got in touch with European affairs through my studies, and then later on in what you could call field studies in the European Parliament. But my ‘European awakening’ started in Paris, where I had the opportunity to spend a number of years. First, at the age of 18, I worked as an au pair and later on – which was more relevant – I studied in Paris. Living and studying abroad at that age was a defining experience that anchored the idea and the value of European integration deeply in my aspirations.
Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen
Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen has been spokeswoman of the European Commission since November 2009. Previously, she was the deputy spokesperson and head of the spokespersons’ service planning group. Since May 2006, Ahrenkilde Hansen had been head of the spokesperson service coordination and planning unit. The Danish-born Hansen had joined the European Commission as an administrator in 1995. She holds a certificat d’etudes politiques from the Institut d’études Politiques de Paris, as well as a bachelor of science in business administration and modern languages and a master of science in international business administration and modern languages, both from Copenhagen Business School.