Interview with H.E. Maria Castillo-Fernandez, Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Korea
March 9, 2021 ㅡ In commemoration of International Women's Day, March 8, Asia Society Korea had the honor to interview H.E. Maria Castillo-Fernandez, Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Korea. Not only did she emphasized the importance of gender equality and women's empowerment, Ambassador Castillo also talked about her interests in K-pop and passion toward fashion.
About H.E. Maria Castillo-Fernandez, Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Korea
Maria Castillo-Fernandez is European diplomat/official of Spanish nationality, now Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Korea. Prior to this position, she was EU Ambassador in Malaysia from 2016-2020, Head of Division for India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh since September 2012 at the European External Action Service of the European Union, in charge of managing and coordinating the European Union's overall relations with these South Asian countries as well as with the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
From 2008 to September 2012, she posted in Hong Kong, representing the EU as the Head of the Office of the European Union accredited to Hong Kong and Macao SARs. From September 2005-2008, she worked as Deputy Head of Mission at the EU Delegation in Seoul (Republic of Korea) in charge of EU political relations and economic cooperation activities with the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Prior to this, Ms. Castillo was responsible, in Brussels, for the European Commission’s overall relations with the Korean Peninsula, including both Republic of Korea and DPRK (2000-2005).
An extensive career in the European Commission also included posting as: Desk Officer for relations with Russia (1996-2000) in charge of implementing the European political and economic relations with Russia; Legal Advisor and manager of research programmes in the field of exchanges and mobility of EU scientists and research networks (1990-1996); Legal Advisor in charge of thematic human rights issues, with publications on the right of children under European law in the European Law Review (1989). Ms. Castillo completed postgraduate studies in European law, economics and international relations with two masters, one at the College of Europe (Bruges, Belgium) and a second at the Institute of European Studies (Strasbourg, France) following a degree in law from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain).
Her mother tongue is Spanish but she is fluent in English and French, with good knowledge of German and Dutch and passive knowledge of Portuguese and Italian. She has some notions of Mandarin and Korean from her postings abroad.
Ms. Castillo was decorated with the Cruz de Oficial de la Orden del Mérito Civil by the King of Spain on 24 June 2008 for strengthening relations between the EU and the Korean Peninsula.