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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. He has 13 years of experience in geophysics for civilian and military purposes (at the French hydrographic office (SHOM) and at the French procurement agency for the Defence ministry). He is experienced in design and implementation of integrated maritime and coastal policies (EU, national, regional and local level). As IMP advisor for the French Prime Minister at the General Secretariat for the Sea (SG Mer), he was project manager on maritime issues in France (2009): Grenelle de la Mer, where he was mainly in charge of inter-ministerial coordination.  He contributed to the elaboration and adoption of the French maritime policy in 2009. As a consultant at Stratégies Mer et Littoral (SML), he has been working in design and assessment of maritime and coastal policies from local to national and regional level in France (including overseas territories), in Southern and Western Mediterranean and in 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 in Public Affairs and Administration (MPA) at the London School of Economics (LSE) and Sciences Po Paris and has over 16 years of experience. Matteo has been working on Blue Economy since the Blue Growth Study developed for 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. The areas of his direct expertise include “blue” innovation, research, cluster analysis, tourism, renewable energy, as well as governance and support to Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP).  He has been Deputy Leader for the West Med Initiative promoted by the EU Commission (DG Grow/Near) and Blue Economy Expert for the DG Near project on Blue Economy in ENI South Countries. He has also been member of several Core Teams in charge of 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 holding a MSc in Agriculture Science and Engineering, a MSc in Economic and Rural Development and about to defend his PhD in ecosystem management. Thanos has a wide-ranging experience as environmental policy consultant, managing projects across various topic and regions, being involved in high-level multilateral EU and international donors’ projects most of them related to Blue Economy/Growth. He works with CLIMAZUL in growth & development, nature resources, biodiversity, climate change areas. He has worked closely with financial institutions and national governments on their institutional design, capacity building and strategic approach to channeling environmental and climate change issues in economy. He has been involved in the Blue Growth Strategy of the EU MSs and Neighbouring countries, following different Conventions and Directives. Thanos was involved in the previous contract for the definition of the Common Maritime Agenda.

Christophe Le Visage

Christophe Le Visage has a background in hydrography and oceanography and has further specialized 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 special focus on the Mediterranean and Black Sea, and all levels of policy-making from design to implementation and evaluation.


Emmanuelle Hière

 Emmanuelle has 14 years of experience in event management & communication in developing countries, she acquainted with all aspects of event and communication management: logistic,   administrative, financial management, reporting including in particular regarding: Identification and management of service providers (accommodation, catering, interpreters); Management of travels arrangements (international and local), Daily running management of seminars on site.Contacts and follow-up with governmental institutions and local authorities; Writing up of press releases; edition of newsletters related to projects organised by AETS; management of projects website; Reports’ drawing up and quality control.She participated in the design of marketing booklets, visibility materials, websites, newsletters for AETS. Mrs HIERE also acquired a high level of adaptability to different cultures; she is comfortable with working in international teams and different cultural settings (she travelled to more than 35 countries over 4 continents).


Paula Gil-Casares

Paula Gil-Casares has a Master’s in Marketing, Communication, and Event Organisation from the Complutense University of Madrid. She has more than 10 years of experience in the definition and implementation of communication strategies and event management, especially in Africa, the MEDA Region, and Indonesia. She has worked as an Expert in Communication and Event Organization for several international technical assistance projects for international finance institutions, with both, the European Union and USAID. Since 2015 she has worked as a communication expert, developing the brand strategy for a Cruise Tourism project in Indonesia. Paula has also collaborated with the EU Delegation of Asunción as a communication specialist and event organizer, on priority issues for the bilateral relationship between the EU and the Government of Paraguay. She is working since December 2019 as part time Communications Director for an NGO operating in Senegal promoting girl´s rights, especially in the access to education.