Movers and Shakers | 10 December 2018

Written by Dods People EU on 10 December 2018 in News

Keep track of developments in the European institutions and public affairs with our movers and shakers column.

Today’s Movers & Shakers are about: Another MEP leaving in the new year, UKIP exodus, Latest appointments in the European Commission and public affairs, The new government in Luxembourg, Brexit and more...

European Parliament

Jakob von WEIZSÄCKER (S&D, DE) will leave the European Parliament early next year to become the Chief Economist at the German Ministry of Finance. Babette WINTER will replace him in Brussels for what remains of this term, and as the lead candidate for the Social Democratic Party in Thuringia.

National Parties
Nigel FARAGE, Paul NUTTALL, Nathan GILL, David COBURN, Louise BOURS, Jonathan BULLOCK and Julia REID (EFDD, UK) have all left the UK Independence Party and are now sitting as Independents. As it stands all are remaining in the EFDD group.

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Composition of the political groups
In response to the resignations from the UK Independence Party, its leader Gerard BATTEN has resigned from the EFFD group in the European Parliament.

Composition of Committees and Delegations
Committee on Constitutional Affairs:
Philippe LAMBERTS (Greens-EFA, BE) replaces Sven GIEGOLD (Greens-EFA, DE) as a substitute.
Delegation to the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee: Marietje SCHAAKE (ALDE, NL) replaces Elsi KATAINEN (ALDE, FI) as a substitute.

Mini-Plenary Highlights

Internal Border Checks: The European Parliament voted in favour of restricting the use of internal border controls by Member States. In a plenary vote last Thursday, the Parliament established the Parliament’s position on possible revisions to the Schengen Borders Code, which is currently in the process of being revised.

European elections

The Party of European Socialists held their congress in Lisbon over the weekend, where they kicked off their European election campaign and acclaimed Frans TIMMERMANS as their lead candidate.

As part of the new coalition agreement in Luxembourg (see News in a nutshell) former Minister for Labour Nicolas SCHMIT of the Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party (PES) will be the country’s nominee for the next European Commission.

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European Commission

The European Ombudsman has concluded that the appointment of Martin SELMAYR, Secretary-General of the Commission, did not follow either EU law nor the Commission’s own rules. It found that that the Commission had artificially created a “situation of urgency” to fill the position quickly, and held a selection procedure that did not try to find new recruits for the position but only to move Mr SELMAYR into the position.

Budget (DG BUDG)
Oliver SALLES has been appointed as an adviser to the Director-General.  He departs as Head of Unit A3 (Internal Policies) and has been replaced by Christophe GALAND.

European Anti-Fraud Office (DG OLAF):
There has been a small reshuffle of Units in Directorate C (Investigation Support). The old unit C2 (Information Systems Development) and unit C5 (Information Systems Infrastructure) have been merged into a new “Information Systems Infrastructure and Development” unit.  The former head of unit C5, Konstantinos BOVALIS, is the Head of Unit for the combined unit.
Jean-Philippe LIÉNARD moves to becoming an Adviser for Investigation Support under the Director of Directorate C.

Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW):
Marzena ROGALSKA leaves the post of Acting Head of Unit, Public Procurement Strategy.  She is replaced by Katharina KNAPTON-VIERLICH, who becomes Acting Head of Unit.

Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO):
Stefan APPEL is the new Head of Unit, Competence Centre: Adminstrative Capacity Building and European Solidarity Fund (E1), replacing Anne-Kertin MYLEUS.
APPEL therefore departs as Head of Unit for Financial Instruments and International Financial Institutions Relations (B3).  The new Acting Head of Unit is Axel BADRICHANI.

Secretariat General (DG SG):
Giovanni FRACCHIA has departed the position of Head of Unit, Mediation Service.  The position is currently vacant.

Spokesperson Service:
Johannes BARKE has become Spokesperson for Banking and Financial Services, having acted in the position recently.
Christian SPAHR is no longer Commission Spokesperson for Jobs, Economy, Finance and the Euro.  Coordinating Spokesperson Annika BREIDTHARDT is his replacement.

European External Action Service

Bruno DUQUESNE is no longer Acting Head of Division for Infrastructure and Safety.  He has been replaced by Adriana VÁZQUEZ GARRIDO.
Lucie SAMCOVA is the new Acting Head of Division for Migration and Human Security.  She has replaced former Unit Head Laonello GABRICI.

Public affairs

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UPEI - The voice of Europe's independent fuel suppliers: Cécile NOURIGAT has taken over as the new Secretary-General, replacing Yvonne STAUSBØLL.

Airlines International Representation in Europe (AIRE): Rafal MILCZARSKI and Michael HARRINGTON have been re-elected as President and Vice-President for another one-year term.

News in a nutshell

Brexit: The UK Science and Universities Minister Sam GYIMAH resigned from the Government in protest at Prime Minister Theresa MAY’s decision to pull out of the EU’s satellite navigation system Galileo. GYIMAH is the tenth person to leave the Government over the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, which he intends to vote against.

The European Court of Justice ruled today that the UK can unilaterally revoke the Article 50 notification to withdraw from the European Union. The ruling states that Britain would be able to withdraw its notification at any point during the two year Article 50 negotiation period – even if extended – and that if done the UK would remain a member on the same terms it has now.

The UK Government agreed to publish the full version of their legal advice on the Brexit deal, after MPs voted to find them in contempt of Parliament. Attorney General Geoffrey COX had initially only published a summary of the legal advice, saying that a full publication would not be in the national interest.

The government also lost a vote on Tuesday on an amendment proposed by former Attorney General Dominic GRIEVE.  This amendment would allow future motions voted on under the EU Withdrawal Act to be amended, giving Parliament an important role on the future of Brexit if the deal is not approved.

The UK Parliament is currently in the middle of 5 days of debate on the Withdrawal Agreement. Parliament was due to vote on the Withdrawal Agreement on Tuesday, however the Prime Minister will make a statement in the House of Commons this afternoon.

Belgium: Belgian Prime Minister Charles MICHEL was given permission to form a Minority government after ministers representing the New Flemish Alliance (ECR), formerly the largest party in the government, resigned after Parliament approved Belgium signing up to the UN Migration Pact.

Germany: The Christian Democratic Union (EPP) elected Annegret KRAMP-KARRENBAUER as their new leader at their party conference in Hamburg today. She will succeed Angela MERKEL, who has led her party for almost 19 years, and intends to remain as Chancellor until the next Federal elections in 2021.

Luxembourg: Luxembourg’s new government was officially sworn in on Wednesday. Xavier BETTEL continues as Prime Minister, leading a coalition made up of his own Democratic Party (ALDE), the centre-left Luxembourg Socialist Workers Party (PES) and The Greens (EGP).

Latvia: The Prime Minister nominee Aldis GOBZEMS, of the populist KPV LV party (Who owns the state?), has suggested he will present a technocratic government to the Parliament to be approved on Thursday 13 December. In response, the Unity (EPP) and New Conservative parties withdrew from coalition negotiations, and GOBZEMS will meet with the President Monday afternoon.

Slovakia: Foreign Minister Miroslav LAJČÁK has withdrawn his resignation, after initially offering it following Parliaments decision to reject the UN Global Compact for Migration.

Sweden: Annie LÖÖF, leader of the Centre Party (ALDE), has announced that the party will vote against the reappointment of incumbent Social Democratic Party (PES) Prime Minister Stefan LÖFVEN. LÖFVEN had been attempting to negotiate a government involving several of his traditional opponents in the centre-right bloc, such as the Centre Party, who oppose the involvement of the Sweden Democrats (ECR) in government.


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