Bernardus Smulders

Deputy Director General State Aid, DG Competition, European Commission

Bernardus (Ben) Smulders, born in The Hague (Netherlands) on 25 June 1960, was educated at the European School of Brussels (Uccle), graduated in law at Leiden University, obtained a Master’s Degree at the London School of Economics and completed management executive programs at the London Business School, INSEAD and Stanford Business School. As from 1 March 2022 he is Deputy Director General in the European Commission’s DG for Competition, after being Director in the European Commission Legal Service, heading the Trade Policy & WTO team. Prior to this, he worked in the Legal Service as Director, heading the Institutions & EMU team and served before as member of its Internal market-, State aid control & Competition teams. Over a period of 12 years, he gained considerable experience in representing the European Commission in litigation before the EU General Court and EU Court of Justice, the EFTA Court and WT0. He served from 2014 until 2019 as Head of Cabinet to the European Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans. From 2004-2008, he was Head of Cabinet of the Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes, after having served as a member of cabinet of the Enlargement & External Relations Commissioner Hans van den Broek (1995-1999) the Internal Market Commissioner Frits Bolkestein (1999 – 2000) and the President of the European Commission Romano Prodi (2000 – 2004). Prior to being employed by the European Commission in 1991 Ben Smulders was for six years member of the Amsterdam bar and practised law in the international law firm Nauta Dutilh, of which he was elected partner in 1990. Since 2013, Ben Smulders has been a Guest Professor of International and European Competition Law at the Free University of Brussels. He is also a Visiting Professor of Law of Rule of Law at the College of Europe in Bruges, a member of the Scientific Council of its Global Competition Law Centre, a Visiting Professor at the Collegio Europeo affiliated to the Universita’ degli Studi di Parma, member of the Scientific Board of its Centro di Studi in Affari Europei e Internazionali and teaches yearly at the Université Paris 2 Panthéon-Assas. He sits in the Supervisory Board of the T.M.C. Asser Institute in The Hague and is a substitute judge (Raadsheer plaatsvervanger) in the Court of Appeal of The Hague (commercial chamber). Ben Smulders co-edits the Common Market Law Review , teaches and authored numerous publications on EU law related subjects, in particular on the protection of the rule of law.