Movers and Shakers | 11 October 2019

Written by Mia Bartoloni and Megan MacDougall on 11 October 2019 in News
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 Commissioner-designate gets the boot leaving a cloud of uncertainty hanging over Von der Leyen's new team, the latest committee and delegation composition changes, the new Director-General and DG DEVCO, the Romanian government collapse, Brexit updates, institution appointments, and more!

 

European Parliament

National parties
The Brexit Party withdrew the whip from Andrew ENGLAND KERR (NI, UK) citing “irreconcilable differences regarding a likely conflict of interest”, meaning that he now sits as an independent.

Committees

Culture and Education Committee (CULT)
Andrea BOCSKOR (EPP, HU) was elected fourth vice-chair.

Development Committee (DEVE)
Jean-Paul GARRAUD (ID, FR) joins as a substitute replacing Jérôme RIVIÈRE (ID, FR), who leaves the committee.

Human Rights Sub-committee (DROI)
Jaak MADISON (ID, EE) joins as a substitute.

Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE)
Jean-Paul GARRAUD (ID, FR), who was previously a substitute, has left the committee. He is replaced by Jérôme RIVIÈRE (ID, FR).

Delegations

ACP-EU Delegation (D-ACP)
Clara AGUILERA (S&D, ES) joins as a substitute.

Afghanistan Delegation (D-AF)
Richard CORBETT (S&D, UK) joins as a member.

Albania Delegation (D-AL)
Jonás FERNÁNDEZ (S&D, ES) joins as a member.

Cariforum Delegation (D-CAR)
David McALLISTER (EPP, DE) moves from substitute to member.
Miroslav ČÍŽ (S&D, SK) joins as a member.
Arnaud DANJEAN (EPP, FR) joins as a member.
José Manuel GARCÍA-MARGALLO Y MARFIL (EPP, ES) joins as a member.
Inma RODRÍGUEZ-PIÑERO (S&D, ES) joins as a member.
Marc TARABELLA (S&D, BE) joins as a member.
Norbert NEUSER (S&D, DE) joins as a substitute.
Udo BULLMANN (S&D, DE) joins as a substitute.
Sven SIMON (EPP, DE) joins as a substitute.
Rory PALMER  (S&D, UK) joins as a substitute.

Chile Delegation (D-CL)
Inma RODRÍGUEZ-PIÑERO (S&D, ES) joins as a member, replacing Nicolás GONZÁLEZ CASARES. RODRÍGUEZ-PIÑERO is also elected chair of the committee.

Euronest Delegation (D-EPA)
Rosanna CONTE (ID, IT) joins as a substitute.

Federative Republic of Brazil Delegation (D-BR)
Clara AGUILERA (S&D, ES) joins as a substitute.

India Delegation (D-IN)
Csaba MOLNÁR (S&D, HU) joins as a member, replacing César LUENA.

Japan Delegation (D-JP)
Nicolás GONZÁLEZ CASARES (S&D, ES) joins as a member, replacing Inma RODRÍGUEZ-PIÑERO who becomes a substitute.

Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Mongolia Delegation (D-CAS)
Atidzhe ALIEVA-VELI (RE, BG) moves from substitute to member, replacing Chris DAVIES.
Javier MORENO SÁNCHEZ (S&D, ES)
joins as a substitute.

Korean Peninsula Delegation (D-KOR)
Johan DANIELSSON (S&D, SE) joins as substitute.
César LUENA (S&D, ES) joins as a member, replacing Csaba MOLNÁR.

Latin American Delegation (D-LAT)
Hélène LAPORTE (ID, FR) moves from substitute to member, replacing Nicolas BAY who becomes a substitute.

Mashreq Delegation (D-MAS)
Juan Fernando LÓPEZ AGUILAR (S&D, ES) joins as a substitute.

Montenegro Delegation (D-ME)
Jonás FERNÁNDEZ (S&D, ES) joins as a member.

Pan-African Delegation (D-PAP)
Javi LÓPEZ (S&D, ES) joins as a substitute.

South Asia Delegation (D-SAS)
Nicolas BAY (ID, FR) joins as a member, replacing Hélène LAPORTE.
Lina GÁLVEZ MUÑOZ (S&D, ES),
who was previously a substitute, has left the committee.

Southeast Asia and ASEAN Delegation (D-ASE)
Lina GÁLVEZ MUÑOZ (S&D, ES) joins as a substitute.

Ukraine Delegation (D-UA)
Jarosław DUDA (EPP, PL) joins as a member, replacing Daniel BUDA.


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European Commission 

Commissioner-designate hearings
Paolo GENTILONI (IT), Commissioner-designate for the economy was cleared last Thursday, as was energy Commissioner-designate Kadri SIMSON (EE) and environment and oceans Commissioner-designate Virginijus SINKEVIČIUS (LT). Budget and administration nominee Johannes HAHN (AT) also sailed through his hearing for his third term as Commissioner. Despite some resistance from the Greens and GUE/NGL Dubravka SUIČA was approved by MEPs for democracy and demography portfolio. Greece’s Margaritis SCHINAS also put in a very good performance in his hearing, but liberal and socialist MEPs called for his title of Commission Vice President for ‘Protecting our European Way of Life’ to be scrapped.

On Monday, Věra JOUROVÁ (CZ), Commissioner-designate for values and transparency impressed MEPs as she promised to defend democracy from online threats and to present ideas about reforming future European elections by 2020.

The European Commission’s three future executive vice-presidents - Frans TIMMERMANS (NL), Margrethe VESTAGER (DK) and VALDIS DOMBROVSKIS (VL) - also safely cruised through their hearings on Tuesday.

Others faced more difficulty. On Monday, MEPs from the agriculture committee decided the written answers Polish Commissioner-designate for agriculture Janusz WOJCIECHOWSKI had given, had failed to meet their expectations. A so-called ‘last chance’ hearing then took place on Tuesday. After this second mini-hearing WOJCIECHOWSKI was cleared.

French nominee Sylvie GOULARD was less fortunate. After MEPs sent her 11 pages of additional questions on both the substance of her position as allegations of financial misconduct. A second hearing was held on Thursday at which MEPs overwhelmingly rejected GOULARD with 82 MEPs against her, 29 in favour and one abstention. French President Emmanuel MACRON now has no choice but to name an alternative.

This makes three Commissioners-designate that have now been rejected by the Parliament, Romania’s Rovana PLUMB, Hungary's László TRÓCSÁNYI and now Sylvie GOULARD. And with the collapse of Romania’s governing coalition on Thursday, it is now impossible to predict when Bucharest may put forward another candidate. With so much uncertainty, and the strong likelihood that replacements for the three rejected candidates will not be confirmed by Parliament in time for Plenary in two weeks’ time, it looks like the new Commission may not take office until early December.

Directorates-General

Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN)
Francesco CONTESSO has left the position of Adviser on the architecture of multilateral development banks under Deputy Director General in charge of Directorates B, E and L, leaving a vacant position.

European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO)
Felix BLOCH has been appointed Head of Unit, knowledge network and evidence-based policy in directorate B (Disaster Preparedness and Prevention). He replaces Anne SIMON who served in the role in an acting capacity.

Interpretation (DG SCIC)
Katarina SKAČÁNIOVÁ replaces Peter AAGAARD and will serve in the capacity of Acting Head of Unit, Danish language interpreting in Department I, Directorate A as well as remaining as Head of Unit for Slovak language interpreting.

International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO)
In view of Stefano MANSERVISI's retirement on 1 October, Koen DOENS has assumed the position of Director-General. Marjeta JAGER therefore assumes the position of Deputy Director-General, Coordination for Directorates D, E, F, G in an acting capacity.

Arianna VANNINI was appointed Principal Adviser, Investment Strategy for Development and Innovative Financing, filling a vacant position.

Informatics (DG DIGIT)
Petra KNEUER becomes Head of Unit (acting), Strategic Planning and Monitoring in Directorate A (Strategy and Resources), replacing Anne-Catherine SIMEON, as well as continuing in her role as director.

Migration and Home Affairs (DG HOME)
The position of deputy director-general is now vacant following the departure of Simon MORDUE from the position. Rosa CIOTOLA replaces Laura GORNICIOIU as HR Business Correspondent.

There has been a reshuffle at Directorate A with an additional unit being added and a change in unit titles. There are now four units under this directorate: Policy Coordination and Inter-institutional Relations, which will be headed by Florian GEYER; Communication, Agencies and Networks Coordination and Citizenship headed by Angela CRISTEA; International Strategy headed by Davinia WOOD; and Legal Affairs headed by Stephen RYAN (acting).

Directorate B under Matthias OEL has also been reshuffled and renamed ‘Borders, Interoperability and Innovation’. Unit 1 (Borders and Schengen) will be led by Oliver SEIFFARTH, Unit 2 (Schengen Evaluation) will be led by Esther POZO VERA (acting), Unit 3 (Information Systems for Migration and Security) will be led by Marc SULON and Unit 4 (Innovation and Industry for Security) will be led by Anabela GAGO.

Directorate C (Migration, Protection and Visa) sees a change in Head of Unit for Irregular Migration and Return Policy with Francisco GAZTELU MEZQUIRIZ replacing Acting Head of Unit Dan ROTENBERG. Two new units have been added – ‘Legal Pathways and Integration’ led by Laura CORRADO replaces ‘Border Management and Schengen’ and a unit for ‘Visa Policy’ led be Dimitri GIOTAKOS has been added.

Directorate D, formerly Directorate for Security has now been renamed ‘Law Enforcement and Security’. Cathrin BAUER-BULST replaces Graham WILLMOTT as Acting Head of Unit for Cybercrime. A new unit ‘Prevention of Radicalisation’ led by Yolanda GALLEGOCASILDA GRAU has been added.

Directorate E (Migration and Security Funds; Financial Resources) has had two new units added. Unit 1 (Funds Programming and Procedures) will be led by Bernadette FREDERICK and Unit 5 (Budget and Reporting), will be led by Paul CAPEYRON (acting).

Research and Innovation (DG RTD)
Alexis LONCKE takes up the position of Head of Unit, Common IT Service in Directorate B (Common Implementation Centre) replacing former Acting Head of Unit Stephane N'DONG.

Translation (DG DGT)
Viviane VANOVERMEIRE replaces Olivier ROULAND as Head of Unit, Budget and Finance (acting) in Directorate R (Resources).


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Council of the European Union

Permanent Representation of Denmark
Jonas BERING LIISBERG was appointed as Denmark’s new permanent representative to the EU, replacing Kim JØRGENSEN, who had served in the role since 2015. BERING LIISBERG comes from the position of Foreign Policy Director in Austria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

 
Committee of the Regions

Christophe ROUILLON (FR) and Yoomi RENSTRÖM (SE) were elected as the new president and first vice-president of the Party of European Socialists (PES) Group in the Committee of the Regions.

Adrián BARBÓN RODRÍGUEZ (PES, ES) joins as a member, replacing Javier FERNÁNDEZ FERNÁNDEZ.

Ana CÁRCABA GARCÍA (PES, ES) joins as an alternate, replacing Guillermo MARTÍNEZ SUÁREZ.

Antonio VICENS VICENS (PES, ES) joins as an alternate, replacing Vicente GUILLÉN IZQUIERDO.

Henrietta MAKAY-BERÓ (EPP, HU) joins as an alternate, replacing Béla KOCSY

Andy DRITTY (NI, NL) joins as a member, replacing Theo BOVENS.

Michiel RIJSBERMAN (RE, NL) joins as a member, replacing Annemieke TRAAG.

Tjisse STELPSTRA (ECR, NL) joins as a member, replacing Klaas KIELSTRA.

Christianne VAN DER WAL (RE, NL) joins as a member, replacing Cees LOGGEN.

Johannes KRAMER (NI, NL) joins as an alternate, replacing Mariëtte PENNARTS-POUW.

Anita PIJPELINK (PES, NL) joins as an alternate, replacing Michiel SCHEFFER.

Robert STRIJK (RE, NL) joins as an alternate, replacing Ben DE REU.

Jack VAN DER HOEK (RE, NL) joins as an alternate, replacing Michiel RIJSBERMAN.

Eddy VAN HIJUM (EPP, NL) joins as an alternate, replacing Tjisse STELPSTRA.

 

European Economic and Social Committee

Germany has nominated Freya LEMCKE as a member to replace Günter LAMBERTZ.

 
Public Affairs 

European RoundTable of Industrialists
Robert O’MEARA steps into a newly-created role as communication director.


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National News 


Austria
President Alexander Van DER BELLEN has tasked Sebastian KURZ with forming another government, following the result of the snap election. Official party talks began this week however it is expected that coalition negotiations will take months.

Brexit
On Monday Scotland’s highest civil court, the Court of Session, dismissed a claim for a court order which would instruct the Prime Minister Boris JOHNSON to comply with the Benn Act. The court accepted the governments assurances that JOHNSON would request an extension without legal intervention.

Brexit negotiations continued this week with Boris JOHNSON and Irish Prime Minister Leo VARADKAR meeting on Thursday; both leaders commented on the “positive” meeting.

Denmark
Minister for Culture and Church affairs Joy MOGENSEN is on leave. Whilst on leave, the Minister for Development Cooperation Rasmus PREHN will also serve as Minister of Culture; Minister of Transport Benny ENGELBRECHT will also serve as Minister of Church.

Italy
The Italian parliament has agreed to reduce the number of parliamentary seats. Citing cost cutting, the house of representatives would drop from 630 to 400 seats, and the senate from 315 to 200.

Luxembourg
Henri KOX has been confirmed as the new Minister of Housing, replacing Sam TANSON. TANSON has been confirmed as the new Minister of Justice. The role was previously held by Félix BRAZ, who is not returning to government following a health scare in August.

Netherlands
Wybren van HAGA has been expelled from Prime Minister Mark RUTTE’s party over allegedly renovating a building without a permit. Van HAGA will sit as an independent, resulting in the Dutch coalition government losing its majority.

Poland
Polish voters will head to the polls on Sunday for a general election. Poland’s ruling Law and Justice Party has a significant lead in the polls, with the indication that they will win with a comfortable majority.

Portugal
Antonio COSTA’s Socialist Party (PS) retained power following Sunday’s election, taking 36.65% of the vote. The party’s seats have increased to 106, up from 80 in the 230-seat parliament. However, the party still falls short of an outright majority. Negotiations to form a government began on Monday.

Romania
Prime Minister Viorica DANCILA’s government has collapsed after a vote of no confidence was scheduled on Thursday. The motion of no confidence passed with 238 votes, five more than was needed. It is now up to President Klaus IOHANNIS to choose a replacement government.

Slovenia
After the resignation of Minister for Development, Strategic Projects and Cohesion Iztok PURIĆ at the end of September, it has been announced that the Minister for Infrastructure Alenka BRATUŜEK will temporarily take over the portfolio.


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