You are here

Black Sea Assistance Mechanism Team


The Central Team functions as the initiative's executive management team, overseeing all practical operations. It is responsible for event management, the coordination of resources, and provides expertise on funding opportunities to the National Hubs.

For an effective information flow and transparency about the initiative's progress, the central team acts as a connecting pin between all partners involved: DG MARE, EASME, and the National Coordinators.

The project is being implemented by Application Européenne de Technologies et de Services (AETS) with the collaboration of a number of partners and subcontractors brought together on the basis of their long experience with managing their assigned tasks. Utilizing its long experience in implementing such contracts AETS established a consortium with Stratégies Mer et Littoral, CLIMAZUL and VVA Group. Furthermore, the consortium utilizes several national short-term experts active in the Black Sea region, allowing for a thorough understanding of the local situation and for continuous dissemination of information and guidance to stakeholders.

Black Sea Assistance Mechanism Experts

Frédérick Herpers

Frédérick is an engineer in hydrography and oceanography with 13 years of experience in geophysics for civilian and military purposes (e.g., at France’s hydrographic office (SHOM) and the Ministry of Defence’s procurement agency). He is experienced in the design and implementation of integrated maritime and coastal policies at EU, national, regional and local level. In a previous position as an Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP) advisor for the French Prime Minister at the General Secretariat for the Sea (SG Mer), he contributed to the development of French maritime policy, notably serving as project manager on maritime issues for France’s ‘Grenelle de la Mer’ in 2009 where he was primarily tasked with inter-ministerial coordination.  As a consultant at Stratégies Mer et Littoral (SML), he has worked on the design and assessment of maritime and coastal policies in France (including overseas territories), the Southern and Western Mediterranean and the Black Sea for EU funded projects (IMP/CC, WestMed, feasibility study and facility study for Blue Growth in the Black Sea). Frédérick was involved in the previous contract for the definition of the Common Maritime Agenda.

Matteo Bocci

Matteo holds a Master’s degree in Public Affairs and Administration (MPA) from the London School of Economics (LSE) and Sciences Po Paris and has over 16 years of professional experience. Matteo has worked on Blue Economy topics since the development of the Blue Growth Study for the European Commission’s DG MARE in 2012 and has worked on several research and capacity-building assignments in Blue Economy, across various EU sea-basins including the Black Sea. His principal areas of expertise include blue innovation, research, cluster analysis, tourism and renewable energy, as well as governance and support to Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP). He has served as Deputy Leader for the West Med Initiative promoted by the EU Commission (DG GROW/NEAR) and as Blue Economy Expert for a DG NEAR project on Blue Economy in ENI South Countries. He has also been a member of several core teams responsible for strategic studies, evaluations and impact assessment for the EU Institutions (Commission, Parliament) in a variety of policy fields. Matteo was involved in the previous contract for the definition of the Common Maritime Agenda.

Thanos Smanis

Thanos is an expert in environment and climate change. He has more than 14 years of experience and holds an MSc in Agricultural Science and Engineering, an MSc in Economic and Rural Development and is about to defend his PhD thesis in ecosystem management. He works with CLIMAZUL in growth & development, nature resources, biodiversity and climate change. Thanos has wide-ranging experience as an environmental policy consultant, through the management of projects across various topic and regions and his involvement in many projects related to Blue Economy/Growth for the EU and other multilateral donors. He has been involved in the Blue Growth Strategy of the EU MSs and Neighbouring countries, following different Conventions and Directives. In addition, he has worked closely with financial institutions and national governments on their institutional design, capacity building and strategic approaches to channelling environmental and climate change issues in economy. Thanos was involved in the previous contract for the definition of the Common Maritime Agenda.

Christophe Le Visage

Christophe has a background in hydrography and oceanography, with further specialisation in maritime and coastal policies. His fields of interest cover integrated approaches (ICZM, integrated maritime policy, “Blue Economy”, environmental policies) at all levels, from local to regional seas, with a special focus on the Mediterranean and Black Seas, and all levels of policy-making from design to implementation and evaluation.


Ingeborg Nolte

Ingeborg is a senior expert in marketing and communication with an extensive experience in technology and science related communications across Europe. Previously, she was Head of Communications at the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST), an intergovernmental organisation funded by the European Commission. Before joining COST, Ingeborg helped to launch the Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE), a think tank active in energy efficiency and worked as a senior consultant for a marketing firm servicing B2B and B2C customers from various industry sectors such as transport, utilities, technology, finance, food and tourism/leisure. In this context she provided advice on communication and sustainability strategies, branding, digital communications, publications, media and conferencing. Ingeborg holds a degree in Linguistics (DEA) obtained at Paris Nanterre University.

Niamh O'Brien

Niamh is a highly experienced event manager, with over ten years of experience in organising international events within EU programmes, notably training sessions in the area of food safety (Better Training for Safer Food – DG SANTE). In her role as Registration Manager at AETS, she holds particular expertise in coordinating event registration processes, including liaising with competent national authorities. Over the past two years, Niamh has gained substantial additional experience in adapting events to virtual environments, going on to train colleagues and provide technical support in this area. As a qualified accountant, Niamh’s technical capabilities are enhanced by her strong organisational skills.