Speaker biographies Cuenca

Speaker biographies

Alba Villamor

Economist and journalist, with an International MBA. Worked for 10+ years for international organizations  (UNDP, Spanish Economic and Trade Office for East Africa, Esade Business School, Consultancy) in procurement and project management fields. Obtained the position as Civil servant for the Spanish General Administration in 2021, in the specialization of planning and management of water resources. Currently working as head of unit for the General Directorate to Fight Depopulation.  Interests: sports and arts.

Alexia Rouby

Alexia is  a policy coordinator at the European Commission's DG Agriculture and rural development. She is an agro-economist with around 20 years of experience, first in national network coordination on animal health, then in European network coordination on rural policy analysis and project management, and since 2014 in European Commission’s department for agriculture and rural development (DG AGRI). Within the Rural areas and networks unit, she coordinates the team implementing European Commission’s long-term vision for the EU’s rural areas adopted in June 2021, including EU’s Rural action plan and the Rural Pact. Before that, until October 2021, she was responsible for programming research and innovation on rural and social dynamics, social innovation, participatory and territorial approaches in DG AGRI’s Research and innovation unit.

Carolina Gutiérrez Ansótegui

Carolina Gutiérrez Ansótegui is an Agricultural engineer from the Polytechnic University of Madrid; Master in Oenology and Viticulture and Master in Rural Development. From 2004 to 2011, she developed her professional career working in several Spanish wineries, as well as in foreign countries (Chile and New Zealand). She became a civil servant as part of the Agricultural Engineers of the State of the Ministry Of Agriculture in 2012, and currently works as Deputy General Director of Dynamization for rural areas. Nowadays, her career as DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR DINAMIZATION OF RURAL AREAS in the Ministry Of Agriculture,  is focused on designing measures to cover the setting up by young farmers and also encourage entrepreneurship of women in rural areas. In addition, she coordinates the Spanish National Rural Development Program, and the financial instruments, both financed with UE funds (EAFRD)

Carlos Martínez Mínguez

Carlos Martínez Mínguez is the current mayor of Soria, representing the Spanish Socialist Party since 2007. He is serving his fifth term, having secured his position with three absolute majorities in 2011, 2015, 2019, and 2023. With a background in Agricultural Technical Engineering, his political journey includes two terms as a city councilor in Soria, where he held various roles in environmental, cultural, and community engagement initiatives. Committed to municipalism, he emphasizes communication and transparency in local government and was elected as the president of the global organization UCLG (Union of Cities and Local Governments) linked to the UN, becoming the second Spanish mayor to address the United Nations Plenary in New York in April 2022. Following the World Congress of UCLG and the World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders in October 2022, he was appointed as a Special Envoy for the New Urban Agenda.

Darío Francisco Dolz Fernández

Darío Francisco Dolz Fernández, born in Cuenca in 1967, has been serving as the Mayor of Cuenca since June 2019. With a background in forestry as an engineer, he has been a dedicated civil servant in the Junta de Comunidades de Castilla-La Mancha since 1994. His commitment to public service and expertise in forestry align with his role as both a leader in the community and a technical professional.

Deša Srsen

Deša Srsen is a European Commission official since 2013. She currently serves as the Deputy Head of Cabinet of the Vice President of the European Commission in charge of democracy and demography. Before joining the Cabinet, she was the Head of Unit in the Commission’s Directorate general for Regional policy and from 2016 to 2019 part of the Brexit negotiating team under the leadership of Michel Barnier. Before joining the European Commission, Deša worked for the Croatian diplomatic service since 1999, mainly on Croatia's accession negotiations to the European Union. Deša holds a master's degree from the College of Europe in Bruges and from ENA in Paris and Strasbourg and an executive Emerging Leaders program from Bocconi University and ESMT/Berlin. She studied philosophy and political science in Brussels/Belgium. Deša is fluent in four languages - Croatian, English, French, and Dutch and she is a double Belgian and Croatian national. She lives in Brussels, Belgium and has 2 children.

Erika Jaráiz Gulías

Erika Jaráiz Gulías is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Administration at the University of Santiago de Compostela, specializing in political and electoral behavior, public policy analysis, and satisfaction with public services. Her research career has a strong methodological focus, and she has published extensively, presented at numerous conferences, directed PhD theses, and held leadership roles in the field of political science, including serving as Vice-president of the Spanish Political Science Association (AECPA).

Francesc Boya

Francesc Boya has been the General Secretary for the Demographic Challenge in the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge since October 2020, overseeing the development of the government's strategy to address demographic challenges and depopulation. He has a background in local and regional governance, having served as a councilor on the Les Town Council, a member of the Parliament of Catalonia, a member of the Province Government of Lleida, and a member of the General Council of the Vall d'Aran. He has also held two terms as the President of the Val d'Aran Council and has extensive experience in depopulation and rural development policies. Additionally, he has held leadership positions in national and international associations related to mountain areas and demographic challenges.

Giulia Testori

Giulia Testori is Project Officer at the B3 Unit (Territorial Development) of the JRC Joint Research Centre of the European Commission based in Seville. She analysis strategies of urban and territorial development at spatial and policy level, developing evidence-base methodological support to policymaking. She holds two PhDs in Urbanism and Architecture from the universities IUAV of Venice and KULeuven, and a postdoc in Critical Urban Studies at University of Leeds. Previously she was technical consultant at UNHabitat Mexico.

Hanna Kanjaa

Over the past decade, Hana Kanjaa has established herself as a successful entrepreneur in the coaching and training industry as certified mentor, coach and facilitator. She is a published author, has been featured in several national media outlets and she is often called upon to disseminate her insights on business transformation, change management, and team dynamics. In her current capacity, she serves as a consultant and facilitator, offering consultancy services to a variety of industries and conducting workshops that sharpen communication and collaborative problem-solving skills.

Heike Hagedorn

Heike Hagedorn has a PhD in Political science and Master of European Governance and Public Administration. She has been working for 3 years in the Division for European Spatial Development Policy and Territorial Cohesion, which is part of the German Ministry for Housing, Urban Development and Building. Before that, she worked in the division for demography in the Federal Ministry of the Interior.

Isabel Ferreira

Isabel Ferreira, currently serving as the Secretary of State for Regional Development in Portugal, is a distinguished figure with a notable career in both academia and public service. As the Main Coordinating Professor in Biochemistry, she held key positions such as Vice-President of IPB - Bragança Polytechnic Institute and Director of the Mountain Research Center. Renowned as one of the world's top 1% most cited researchers, she has received multiple awards, including the Gulbenkian Prize for Encouraging Scientific Research and the European Social Innovation Prize. With a rich editorial background in scientific journals, she has also contributed to international collaborations and played a significant role in monitoring European Framework Programmes. Previously, she served as the Secretary of State for Interior Development in a prior government, showcasing her commitment to both scientific advancement and governmental leadership.

Iulia Fatu

Iulia Fatu is a professional with dual Bachelor's degrees in Accounting and Agri-food Economy, complemented by two distinguished Master's degrees in Agrobusiness and Audit and Financial Management of European Funds. Her career, which began in 2014, has primarily focused on European projects, including the LEADER program, Erasmus, and Social European Funds. I have expanded my knowledge through diplomas and certificates in areas such as European funds management, digital marketing, and human resources. She has actively participated in conferences and events related to rural development and have even served as a speaker at the High Rural Pact Forum. Currently, she works as a Project Coordinator for a Ministry of Agriculture-funded project, SM 16.1 – Bee Smart! Bee Healthy!, which aims to develop an intelligent hive application for beekeepers. Her key skills include perseverance, strong interpersonal skills, teamwork, punctuality, problem-solving, and an eagerness to embrace new ideas.

Jan Edøy

He was born in 1954 in Norway and pursued his education in Political Science (Cand. Polit) at the University of Bergen. Since 1986, he has been actively engaged in international relations within the Norwegian Government. His extensive career includes 18 years as an envoy for the Norwegian Government in Brussels, where he served for ten years as a counselor for regional policy at the Norwegian Mission to the EU. Additionally, he spent four years as a National Expert in the European Commission/DG REGIO and another four years as the Director for the Oslo Region European Office in Brussels. Since 2019, he has been working as a Special Adviser for the Ministry of Regional Development. His involvement extends to various roles, including membership in the ESPON MC and TA2030 NTCCP, as well as participation in other Interreg Programmes.

Joaquín Farinos Dasí

Joaquín Farinos Dasí is a professor of Geography at the University of Valencia. He is a founding member of the IIDL of the university mentioned above, where he is the researcher responsible for the Local Government and Sustainable Territorial Development research group (https://gdls.blogs.uv.es/). Current President of FUNDICOT (Inter-professional Spatial Planning Association –https://www.fundicot.org/-), since April 2019, and Director of the Valencian Territorial Culture Chair (https://catedractv.es/) since 2016. Invited speaker and professor at various conferences, seminars, and postgraduate programs at various Spanish, European, and Latin American universities.

Author of over a hundred books and articles that reflect the author's interest in Sustainable Territorial Development Planning and Governance. Coordinator of research networks between Europe and Latin America (founding member of the Ibero-American Territorial Observation Network -RIDOT- in 2008, of REGIAL, in 2010, and member of the scientific committee of REDETEG, since 2014). Advisor in forums and organizations that try to develop in daily practice some of the issues worked on at an academic level based on different projects and contracts in national and European competitive calls (Horizon, ESPON, Interreg).

Jordi Ortuño

Jordi Ortuño works at Barcelona city council, Innovation Directorate in Municipal Institute of Information and Technology. He is in charge for the strategy for European projects and initiatives as well as project leader of Barcelona Digital Twins. He is deputy chair of EDIC on LDT and chair of Monitoring & Measuring group in Living-in.

Josep Maria Llop Torné

Josep Maria Llop Torné has been an architect since 1974, specializing in Urbanism from the Superior Technical School of Architecture of Barcelona (ETSAB). He gained extensive experience in local urbanism management, serving as the Director of Lleida's Urbanism from 1979 to 1987. He later held positions as the Director and Coordinator of Barcelona's Urbanism leading up to the Olympic Games in 1992 (1988-1991) and as the Director of Urbanism and Environment of Lleida from 1991 to 2003. Additionally, he served as the President of AAUC (Catalan Association of Urbanisms and Towns Planning Architects of Catalonia) from 1989 to 2001.

He is a professor at the University of Lleida, as well as at ESTAB (Polytechnic University of Catalonia) and other universities, teaching in Master's and Postgraduate Courses. During his tenure as the Director of Urban Planning in Lleida from 1995 to 2015, he earned the First Prize of Urbanism of Catalonia, awarded by SCOT and sponsored by the Generalitat de Catalunya. In 2010, he received the Gold Medal from COAC for his contributions to urbanism promotion. Currently, he coordinates a Common Project of the Network URB-AL (Urbanization in Latin America) focused on "Urbanization Management and Control," collaborating with six cities and CEPAL (Economic Commission for Latin America) on "Instruments of redistribution urban revenues" (2003-2005). He has been involved in the international work program of the UIA (International Union of Architects) on the CIMES (1996-2021) and serves as the Director of the UNESCO UdL-CIMES Chair "Intermediate Cities - Urbanization and Development" (2008-2023). He has developed the "base plan" methodology and advocates for the right to the plan as a right to the city.

Currently, he is the scientific coordinator for ESPON reports during the Spanish Presidency of the EU, focusing on small intermediate urban nodes in urban-rural development and addressing the demographic challenge.

Juana López Pagán

Juana López Pagán, General Director of Policies against Depopulation, holds a PhD from the Complutense University of Madrid (III CEMCI Award in Advance Research of administration and local government and Extraordinary PhD Award from UCM). She also earned a Master's in EU Law and Policies from Carlos III University, a Master's in Legal Practice from Complutense University of Madrid, and a Law Degree from the University of Murcia. From 2008 to January 2021, she served as the Responsible for International Relations, European Projects, and Cooperation at the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces. In January 2021, she was appointed General Director of Policies against Depopulation in the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge. Additionally, she has been an associate professor at UCM Faculty of Political Sciences and Sociology since 2016.

José Julián Garde López-Brea

José Julián Garde López-Brea, born in Madrid in 1966, is a married father of one and has been a University Professor since 2003 at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Agrónomos y de Montes (ETSIAM). He completed his undergraduate and doctoral studies in Veterinary Medicine at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, earning his Ph.D. in 1993. His teaching at UCLM in the field of Animal Production has focused on Physiology and Reproduction in various degree programs and master's programs. He initiated his research career in 1989 at the Department of Animal Reproduction at the National Institute of Agricultural and Food Research and Technology (INIA), pioneering several lines of research in reproductive biotechnologies for animal conservation and production. With over 30 research projects under his direction and more than 140 published research papers in international journals, including contributions to Science, Garde López-Brea is a prominent figure in veterinary sciences and reproductive biology. He holds academic positions in prestigious institutions and has held various university management roles, contributing nationally to evaluation and strategic planning in research and innovation in higher education.

László Gere

László Gere, a geographer by education, embarked on a dynamic career that seamlessly blended his expertise in geography with a fervent dedication to public service. Beginning in 2009, he contributed significantly to Hungary's national level territorial development and territorial policy matters within ministerial background institutes. Over the years, László actively participated in European transnational cooperation networks such as EUKN, URBACT, ESPON, and Central Europe, enhancing his understanding of international relations. Transitioning to the realm of think tanks in 2015, he spent six years delving into the nuanced analysis of global affairs and geopolitics. In 2021, László returned to the public administration sector, initially focusing on Hungary's urban development, particularly in the realm of smart cities. Later, he assumed a pivotal role in the ministerial department, specializing in the coordination of transnational territorial cooperation—a testament to his enduring commitment to shaping effective and collaborative policies at both national and international levels.

Luisa Pedrazzini

Luisa Pedrazzini is a territorial and landscape planner. After an extensive experience in European, spatial and landscape planning in Regione Lombardia, now she is free-lance consultant and researcher. She designed and managed the territorial and landscape plan of the Lombardy Region, as well as other regional plans and collaborates with the Ministries of Culture, Environment, Infrastructure, and the Presidency of the Council of Ministers in national and international projects. She held important roles as national coordinator and Italian representative in several monitoring committees, such as ESPON, Alpine Space, Alpine Convention and MRS EUSALP. In addition, she has carried out research and teaching activities at the Politecnico di Milano and other universities in Italy and abroad. she is a member of institutes such as the Istituto Nazionale di Urbanistica and the Akademie für Raumforschung und Landesplanung. He has published numerous articles on topics related to urban and spatial planning, landscape planning and EU spatial policy.

Maarten De Backer

Maarten De Backer is an urban planner who is active in the spatial planning office of the Brussels Capital Region, perspective.brussels. Currently, he works on the coordination team on urban matters for the upcoming Belgian Presidency EU24. Previously, Maarten coordinated the implementation of public space projects in Brussels such as parks, roads, squares and masterplans. With a degree in urbanism and land surveying, his enthusiasm for urban planning and architecture is always close by.

Marco Del Fiore

Marco Del Fiore is an urban planner and a PhD Candidate in Urban and Regional Development at Politecnico di Torino. He holds a master’s degree in “Territorial, Urban, Environmental and Landscape planning” between Politecnico di Torino and Sorbonne Université de Paris. He also holds a second-level master’s degree at Sapienza Università di Roma with an internship at the Italian Presidency of the Council of Ministers on the theme of European territorial cooperation. 

He is conducting his research at FULL (Future Urban Legacy Lab), an interdepartmental center of the Politecnico di Torino. He is a member of the Youth Council of Interreg ALCOTRA Programme.

Marek Bobis

Marek Bobis works at the European Committee of the Region's (CoR) secretariat of the Commission for Economic Policy, where he is in charge of digital policy. As part of the 'digital team', Marek manages the Broadband Platform initiative for dialogue between the European Commission DG Connect and the CoR, coordinates the monitoring and measuring working group for digital transformation of cities as part of the Living in EU initiative, guides the production of CoR's opinions related to digital transition, drafts relevant policy analyses and supervises studies to monitor current trends in European cities and regions in the field of digital. His contribution will feature the presentation of the brand-new LORDIMAS benchmarking tool for self-assessment on the digital maturity of cities and municipalities.

Maria Gargano

Maria Gargano joined the Egmont Institute in June 2022 to work in the European Affairs programme as Junior Researcher. Her research interests include migration, demography and the interlinkages between development and human mobility. At the Egmont Institute she is currently running a series of workshops on the EU Demographic Transition which explore how the EU can equip Member States to adapt to it. Prior to this, she was a Pan-European fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations specialising on migration and human mobility.  She gained experience as a trainee in the European Commission and at Migration Policy Institute Europe. She holds a Master of Arts from College of Europe in European Interdisciplinary studies and an LL.M in European Laws from Maastricht University. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in International Relations, Development and Cooperation at the University of Turin.

Marko Vešligaj

Marko Vešligaj is a Croatian politician and public servant with a rich and diverse professional background. Currently serving as the Mayor of the city of Pregrada since 2013, Marko has been a pivotal figure in local governance, leading initiatives and development projects. Prior to his mayoral role, he demonstrated his commitment to public service as a Member of Parliament in the Croatian Parliament. Recognized for his contributions, Marko is currently representing Croatia as a Member of the European Committee of the Regions. With a comprehensive skill set and a dedication to public service, Marko Vešligaj continues to make significant strides in both local and European spheres.

Mathilde Konstantopoulou

Mathilde Konstantopoulou is a highly qualified professional with a background in Economics and a postgraduate degree in Finance from Lancaster University in the UK. With over a decade of experience in the banking and financial sector, she currently serves as an Advisor on European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) issues at the Special Secretariat for the ERDF & CF programmes of the Ministry of Economy & Finance in Greece. In this role, she is responsible for both the preparation and implementation of territorial cooperation programs managed by the Interreg 2021-2027 Managing Authority. Mathilde plays a crucial role as the national representative and member of the Monitoring Committees for European Territorial Cooperation Programmes such as URBACT and ESPON. She has been instrumental in the trialogues and adoption of ETC and EGTC Regulations for the 2021-2027 programming period. With a comprehensive background in planning, evaluation, and implementation, she contributes significantly to Cohesion Policy, focusing on territorial cohesion, sustainable urban development, and blue economy matters. Additionally, Mathilde holds key positions as the Deputy National Coordinator for ESI Funds at the Governing Board of the Adriatic-Ionian macro-regional strategy (EUSAIR) and as the Project Coordinator of the EUSAIR Facility Point Greece, actively contributing to the strategic project's implementation across the eligible area.

Matteo Luigi Bianchi

Matteo Luigi Bianchi, born in 1979, is a seasoned local administrator with over twenty years of experience. He graduated in Political Science and International Relations, with a thesis focusing on the Balkans conflict. Having served as the former Mayor of his municipality in the Varese area, Matteo delves into the intricacies of European subsidiarity and the role of Local Authorities within European Institutions. Notably, he held the position of National Vice President of the Italian Association of Italian Municipalities. In the 18th legislature, Matteo was elected as a deputy and subsequently became the vice-president of the 14th Commission, specializing in European Union policies. Additionally, he became a member of the parliamentary delegation to NATO, where he assumed the role of vice-president of the transition and development subcommittee. Recognized for his expertise, Matteo was appointed by the President of the Chamber of Deputies to represent the Italian Parliament in the Conference on the Future of Europe. His commitment extends to election observation missions for the OSCE/ODIHR, advisory roles with the Italy-USA Foundation, promotion of the Italy-Switzerland parliamentary friendship intergroup, membership in the Aerospace Intergroup, and presidency of the bilateral Italy-Slovenia friendship section. Throughout his career, Matteo has contributed to the insights on international scenarios and European legislative monitoring, working with members of the European Parliament.

Mercedes Molina

Mercedes Molina Ibáñez is an Emeritus Professor of Human Geography at the Complutense University of Madrid. Her research, focused on the study of depopulated and disadvantaged territories in the EU, particularly in Spain, manifests in numerous projects, publications, conferences, and scientific meetings. In recent years, she has actively contributed to the development of the report approved by the European Parliament on demographic challenges, participated in the reform of the European Regional Development Fund (FEDER), and currently collaborates with the Spanish Directorate General of Policies against Depopulation. Prof. Molina Ibáñez's dedication to addressing demographic issues and her extensive involvement in academia and policy initiatives underscore her significant impact on the understanding and mitigation of challenges faced by depopulated regions.

Nuria Matarredona Desantes

Nuria Matarredona Desantes, a doctor of architecture with a master's degree in the conservation of architectural heritage, is a dedicated professional, educator, and researcher. Throughout her career, she has focused on the management and enhancement of cultural heritage, advocating for collaborative design solutions and innovative mechanisms, particularly in the realms of cooperation and sustainable development. From 2019 to 2023, she served as the Director General of Ecological Innovation in Construction for the Valencian Government. Currently, she holds the position of Director General of Architecture and Urban Agenda at the Ministry of Transport, Mobility, and Urban Agenda of the Government of Spain. In this capacity, she oversees various programs, including the PIREP for the rehabilitation of public buildings and the 2% Cultural initiative. Additionally, she is actively involved in regulatory initiatives such as the Law on Quality of Architecture, the CTE (Technical Building Code), and strategic planning laws like the Spanish Urban Agenda. Nuria Matarredona Desantes plays a pivotal role in shaping sustainable and innovative approaches to architecture and urban development in Spain.

Piero Bassetti

Piero Bassetti is currently President of Globus et Locus, an association of institutions whose objective is to analyse the major aspects of glocalization, and President of the Giannino Bassetti Foundation.  
He was the first President of the Lombardy Region and Member of Italian Parliament. Former President of the Chamber of Commerce of Milan, and of the Union of Italian Chambers of Commerce, he was also President of the Association of Chambers of Commerce Abroad (CCIE). He is the Editor-in-chief of “Glocalism. Journal of Culture, Politics and Innovation”.  

Renée Peters 

Renée Peters serves as the Spatial Planning and Urban Policy Officer for European and International Affairs at the Spatial and Urban Planning Department of Wallonia Public Service (SPW) in Namur, Belgium. With a background as a spatial and urban planner, Renée actively contributes to the planning initiatives within the Walloon Region. At present, she plays a crucial role on the coordination team responsible for territorial cohesion policy in preparation for the upcoming Belgian Presidency EU24. Additionally, Renée serves as the Walloon Member of the Committee (MC) for the ESPON 2030 program, showcasing her commitment to advancing spatial and urban planning strategies both at the national and European levels. Her expertise and dedication mark her as a valuable contributor to the field of spatial planning in Wallonia.

Rodrigo Vargas

Rodrigo Vargas, a distinguished urban architect, graduated from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) in 2007 and furthered his expertise with a Master's degree in Urban and Territorial Development from the same institution in 2012. Since 2015, he has been an integral member of the UNESCO Chair at the University of Lleida, focusing on the study of Intermediate Cities. Rodrigo's career commenced in cooperative development efforts in the Angolan cities of Lubango and Huambo with the organization Development Workshop, spanning from 2011 to 2015. During this period, he contributed to diverse areas, including urban planning, social housing, environmental consulting, and university-level teaching. In 2019, Rodrigo joined the Urban Ecology Agency of Barcelona as an urban planning technician, concentrating on data analysis utilizing urban sustainability indicators. Subsequently transitioning to an independent professional role, he specializes in urban and territorial strategic planning, overseeing notable projects like the Diagnostic Study of Urbanization in the Canary Islands and the Urban Agenda of Candelaria. Currently, Rodrigo combines his independent work with a recent appointment as an urban resilience consultant for the "City Resilience Global Programme" of UN-Habitat, showcasing his commitment to advancing urbanization and human settlements on a global scale.

Stefan Kah

Stefan Kah is a researcher at the European Policies Research Centre (EPRC) at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. He specialises in research about territorial development policies in both urban and rural contexts. He has particular expertise in the management and implementation of EU Cohesion policy, most recently with regard to Integrated Territorial Investments (ITIs) and Community-led Local Development (CLLD). He is also Capacity Building Advisor for the EU PRO Plus project on integrated territorial development in Serbia. He is a native German speaker with a focus on German-speaking countries, the Alpine region and the Western Balkans. 

Valentina Corsetti

Valentina Corsetti is a dedicated professional with a longstanding career in the European Commission since 2000. Her expertise and passion for urban and territorial development became evident in 2005 when she joined the urban and territorial unit of the Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policies (DG REGIO). In this capacity, she took charge of the URBAN II community initiative in Italy and spearheaded pilot urban projects in Greece. Over the years, Valentina has showcased her versatility, moving to the unit handling Italy and Malta in 2008, where she delved into urban and territorial matters, as well as issues pertaining to migration and social inclusion. Since 2018, she has been an integral part of the unit focusing on Spain and Portugal, contributing to urban and territorial issues and communication. Valentina's wealth of knowledge led to her role as a senior expert on depopulation in the EU within DG REGIO starting in 2020. Her specialized areas include urban and territorial policies, depopulation, social inclusion, tourism, and communication, reflecting her commitment to addressing multifaceted challenges in the European context.