The sense of vocation and a green future for Europe

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On March 29, the ELP fellows met with Ms. Cristina Lobillo Borrero, Head of Energy Policy, Directorate-General for Energy, invited the Fellows. For the ELP Fellows this was a great occasion to learn from the personal experience of a public servant passionate about the European Union and the energy sector.

From Cordoba to the heart of Europe

Cristina Lobillo is from Cordoba Spain. As a law student at a time when Spain was not a member of the EU, Ms. Lobillo had the opportunity to do an Erasmus exchange programme to Italy, which was a “life changing experience”. While in Italy, she developed a keen interest in the european law and thus, her journey to Brussels began. 

Never give up

After graduating from her law programme, Ms. Lobillo began a PhD in EU Competition Law that lead her to apply as a “stagiaire” in the European Commission. She failed the admissions process twice before landing a traineeship. According to her “in life you never know what will happen butm when you have a vision of what you want and you put hard work into it, it is just a matter of time until you make it.”

Since 2004, Ms. Lobillo has been working in the European Commission holding a variety of roles. From 2014 to 2019 she was the Head of Cabinet to the ex-Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete. From 2019 to 2020 she was the Principal Adviser in the DG AGRI and since June 2020 she becoame the Director for Energy Policy in DG ENER in the European Commission. 

“I am greatful and happy, I invested a lot, but I am where I wanted to be” shared Ms. Lobillo adding that public service is a vocation, and her vocation is to contribute to change in Europe and the world.


A Greener European Union

The ELP fellows had the opportunity to raise a wide range of questions concerning climate change, a greener Europe, the energy sector and the goals that the EU has established to reduce 55% of CO2 emissions by 2030. Ambitious goals where the EU is the frontrunner for the rest of the world.

Ms. Lobillo had the opportunity to speak about the challenges that the EU faces in the energy sector and the transition to CO2 neutrality. The main obstacles are linked to budget, as many of the changes needed for a greener society required substantial investment.  Finally, the ELP Fellows received a broader picture of the Paris Agreement and the upcoming COP 26 in Glasgow. 

The meaning of leadership 

To conclude her session with the ELP Fellows, Ms. Lobillo mention the meaning of leadership: Leadership starts with yourself, with self-awareness, being authentic and being the best version of yourself.  This is her true north.

The fellows were invited to develop both their professional and personal aspects together in order to grow as leaders and also to always remember that “where there is a will there’s a way”.

Ms Cristina Lobillo Borrero said goodbye to the ELP Fellows with the following Buddhist proverb “the longest journey you will ever take is the 18 inches from your head to your heart” a beautiful reminder to end her visit.

Adolfo Canales

5th Cohort Fellow

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