Meet the Open Europe team

Our international and multilingual team is drawn from a variety of backgrounds, and possesses a wide range of expertise in EU affairs. Meet them below.

1502 Mats Persson Director

Mats has been Director of Open Europe since 2010. He is also an Advisory Board member of Open Europe Berlin gGmbH. A frequent contributor to broadcast and print media, Mats has written extensively on EU policy, including the eurozone crisis, financial regulation, employment law and the EU budget. Before Open Europe, he worked for a political consulting firm in Washington DC. Mats has been named one of 99 influential international leaders under 33 by the Diplomatic Courier and Young Professionals in Foreign Policy. Winning an athletic scholarship for basketball and several university awards, Mats graduated from Liberty University in Virginia, US with a perfect 4.0. Grade Point Average and went on to a master's degree at the London School of Economics. He is a native of Bankeryd, Sweden.

1498 Nina Schick Communications Director

Nina Schick joined Open Europe in 2013, previously working in journalism and political research at organisations including BBC Parliament, Spiegel Online, the Sunday Times and UK Parliament. Nina studied history and Spanish at University College London, and also holds an M.Phil. degree in history and politics from the University of Cambridge, where she graduated with distinction. She has a keen interest in EU policy, specialising in the political interaction between Germany and the rest of Europe. Half-German and half-Nepali, Nina speaks fluent German, Spanish, Nepali and Tamang; she also speaks French and Hindi.

1503 Stephen Booth Research Director

Stephen joined Open Europe in 2008 and has been Research Director since 2011. While at Open Europe he has written on EU regulation, justice and home affairs and EU aid policy. Stephen holds an undergraduate degree in political science and was awarded the Jean Monnet Prize for his master's degree in European studies from the University of Sussex. Stephen's professional interests include democracy and transparency in the EU, the interaction between domestic and EU law and European cooperation in crime and policing. He is half Dutch.

1506 Pieter Cleppe Head of Brussels Office

Pieter is the Head of the Brussels office of Open Europe (Open Europe Brussels VZW). A trained lawyer, he has been practicing law in Belgium and has worked as a cabinet advisor and speechwriter to the Belgian State Secretary for Administrative Reform and as an analyst at the Belgian Itinera Institute, which he helped establish. Pieter received his legal training at the Catholic University of Leuven, and also studied law and economics at the universities of Hamburg, Bologna and Vienna. Pieter is fluent in Dutch and French. He also speaks German and understands Italian.

1504 Raoul Ruparel Head of Economic Research

Raoul has authored several reports on the eurozone crisis and on the role of the ECB. A regular contributor to the media, he has recently appeared on the BBC, Bloomberg, CNBC, and Sky News, and his analysis has featured in several leading financial magazines and papers. Prior to joining Open Europe, Raoul gained work experience at financial firm Habibbank AG Zurich. He holds two masters degrees in economics and public policy from the University of Chicago and a BA in economics and politics from the University of Manchester. Areas of interest include: eurozone, sovereign debt crisis, macroeconomics, monetary policy and financial regulation. Raoul speaks intermediate German and basic French.

1505 Timm Luebben Head of Digital Affairs

Prior to joining Open Europe in 2012, Timm worked at the World Affairs Council of Houston  – one of the largest and most active foreign policy forums in the US – and at the European Union Delegation to the United Nations in New York. He holds an MA in international relations from the University of Groningen, and a BA in European Studies from the University of Maastricht, during which he also studied at the University of Oslo. At Open Europe, Timm takes a leading role in communications and social media, while also focussing on German politics and economics. He is fluent in German, French, and Dutch. 

1507 Christopher Howarth Senior Analyst

Christopher joined Open Europe in 2011, taking a leading role in the think tank's policy analysis. He has previously worked for a city law firm and accountancy firms where he specialised in international tax. Immediately prior to joining Open Europe, Christopher worked for a shadow Conservative Europe minister and in the party's research department as their Foreign Affairs adviser. Christopher is a graduate of St Andrew's University in Scotland, the Ecole de Management in Bordeaux, France and of the College of Law, York, where he obtained a post-graduate diploma in law. He speaks intermediate French.

1508 Vincenzo Scarpetta Research

Vincenzo holds a master's degree (hons) in international relations and world politics from the University of Naples "L'Orientale" and a master's in international affairs from the University of Bologna "Alma Mater Studiorum". He gained work experience at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, before joining Open Europe in December 2009. Vincenzo specialises in the economics and politics of Southern Europe and has written on employment law, financial regulation and the European Neighbourhood Policy. An Italian native, he is also fluent in French and Spanish, and speaks basic German. Vincenzo has also worked as a musician and achieved a diploma in classical piano from the Conservatory of Music of Avellino, his home town in Italy.

1501 Pawel Swidlicki Research

Pawel joined Open Europe in 2011, prior to which he worked for a City firm for two years and subsequently gained work experience in Westminster, interning for a Lib Dem MP. Pawel specialises in Central and Eastern European politics and economics, as well as in German domestic politics. Pawel studied history at the University of Leicester, during which he also spent a year at the University of Regensburg in Germany, and he holds an MA in politics and international relations from the University of Nottingham. He is fluent in Polish and speaks German.

480 Sophie Horsford Administration & Fundraising Manager

Sophie holds a degree in Sport and Leisure Management (Hons) from the University of Brighton and a Master’s degree in International Relations and Management from Oxford Brookes University. She has previously worked for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) where she took a leading role in fundraising and events planning at the organisation’s Cambridgeshire fundraising office. At Open Europe, Sophie combines administration, fundraising and events duties.  Sophie is a keen runner and has completed several marathons and triathlons.

443 Victoria Borwick Fundraising

Victoria works part-time on fundraising. Victoria was previously a Director at P&O Events, latterly Clarion Events, a division of The P&O Group. She is an elected Member of the Greater London Assembly, Chair of the Health and Public Services Committee, member of the Transport Committee, member of the Economy Culture and Sport committee which covers the 2012 Olympics and Conservative aviation spokesman. Formerly a member of the Metropolitan Police Authority and Chair of the Civil Liberties Panel.

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