Movers and Shakers | 1 November 2019
Keep track of developments in the European institutions and public affairs with our Movers and Shakers column.
Following interviews on Monday, president-elect Ursula VON DER LEYEN approved the candidature of the two new nominees for the next Commission, France’s Thierry BRETON and Hungary’s Olivér VÁRHELYI. Both candidates still need to be approved by MEPs and the Parliament’s legal affairs committee has scheduled hearings on Wednesday and Thursday next week to assess the candidate’s financial declarations and other potential conflicts of interest.
Continued political uncertainty in Romania has prevented the government from nominating a candidate. Outgoing prime minister Viorica DĂNCILĂ had proposed former MEP Victor NEGRESCU after two previous candidates were rejected. However, president Klaus IOHANNIS has already criticised this decision, insisting that DĂNCILĂ, who lost a vote of no confidence recently, has no legitimacy to propose a candidate on the country’s behalf.
Ambiguity also surrounds the role of the UK in the next commission, given a further extension to the Brexit deadline of 31 January. VON DER LEYEN had previously indicated that the UK would need to nominate someone in the event of an extension, but a name is yet to be put forward and prime minister Boris JOHNSON has made it clear that he does not want to nominate anyone.
Ursula von der Leyen (President-elect)
Two more members of VON DER LEYEN’s cabinet have been appointed. Charmaine HILI will advise the president-elect on migration while Anthony WHELAN will advise on digital society.
European Central Bank
Mario DRAGHI’s eight-year term of office officially comes to a close today as Christine LAGARDE takes over the presidency.
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European Data Protection Supervisor
On Wednesday, the Commission sent the Parliament and the Council of the EU its list of three shortlisted candidates. The list includes temporary incumbent Wojciech WIEWIÓROWSKI (PL), who took over shortly after the passing of Giovanni BUTTARELLI, as well as Yann PADOVA (FR) of the legal firm Baker McKenzie, UN privacy expert Joe CANNATACI (MT) and Hungarian vice-president of the country’s Data protection authority, Endre SZABÓ.
Committee of the Regions
Hélder António GUERRA DE SOUSA SILVA (EPP, PT) moves from alternate to member, replacing Álvaro DOS SANTOS AMARO.
Carlos André Teles Paulo DE CARVALHO (EPP, PT) joins as an alternate, replacing Hélder António GUERRA DE SOUSA SILVA.
Concepción ANDREU RODRÍGUEZ (PES, ES) joins as a member, replacing José Ignacio CENICEROS GONZÁLEZ.
Francisco Celso GONZÁLEZ GONZÁLEZ (NI, ES) joins as an alternate, replacing Begoña MARTÍNEZ ARREGUI.
Gregor MACEDONI (NI, SI) joins as a member, replacing Peter BOSSMAN.
Nuška GAJŠEK (PES, SI) joins as a member, replacing Andreja POTOČNIK.
Aleksander Saša ARESNOVIČ (RE, SI) joins as an alternate, replacing Mojca ČEMAS STJEPANOVIČ.
Breda ARNŠEK (NI, SI) joins as an alternate, replacing Tanja VINDIŠ FURMAN.
Vlasta KRMELJ (NI, SI) joins as an alternate, replacing Miran SENČAR.
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Minister for the Budget Sophie WILMES was appointed as the new Prime Minister of Belgium on Sunday. David CLARINVAL will succeed WILMES as the Minister for the Budget. WILMES replaces Charles MICHEL, who is set to become the president of the European Council; she is the first female in the country’s history to take up the role.
Donald TUSK, president of the European council announced on Monday that the EU27 have agreed on a Brexit ‘flextension’ until 31 January 2020. In agreeing on a ‘flextension’ the UK can leave the EU before this date, if MPs approve the Brexit deal earlier.
This week the Portuguese parliament passed a four-year legislative program, which was proposed by the government. In passing the program, Prime Minister Antonio COSTA has the authority to govern his second term in the post.
Prime Minister-Designate Ludovic ORBAN had three ministerial proposals rejected, after committee hearings on Tuesday and Wednesday. These were Minister for Labour and Social Protection Violeta ALEXANDRU, Minister for Public Works, Development and Public Administration Ion STEFAN and Minister for Finance Florin CITU. Having failed to get MPs endorsement, a vote on the new government is due to occur on 4 November.
On Tuesday night MPs voted 438 to 20 for a 12 December general election. Parliament will be dissolved on the 6 November.
John BERCOW, House of Commons Speaker stood down from the role after ten years this week. The new speaker will be chosen on 4 November.