Movers and Shakers | 12 April 2019
Keep track of developments in the European institutions and public affairs with our movers and shakers column.
The Party of the European Socialists (S&D) announced on Wednesday that it would freeze relations with the Romanian Social Democrats, at least until June, citing concerns about the rule of law in the country. Consequently, the Social Democratic Party will no longer be invited to PES events and PES leaders will not come to Romania to support candidates in the European elections campaign. The decision closely follows the European People’s Party’s suspension of the Hungarian ruling party Fidesz over rule of law concerns last month.
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The extension of Brexit day until 31 October means that the UK will be participating in May’s elections. However, it seems likely that UK MEPs will only sit for four months of the new term, during which time they are unlikely to have much of an impact on any legislation. They will, however, have a significant role to play in the selection of Commission president. According to the latest UK polls, Labour (S&D) could obtain up to 30 MEPs, changing the balance in the Parliament in favour of the Party of the European Socialists. Consequently, this could achieve success for their candidate, Frans TIMMERMANS.
In a news conference in Milan, Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Matteo SALVINI of the right-wing League party (ENF), launched his campaign by announcing an alliance with other European nationalist parties including German far-right, Alternative for Germany (EFDD), the Finns Party (ECR), the Danish People’s Party (ECR) and the Conservative People’s Party of Estonia. The alliance plans to form a new group for the post-election Parliament – the European Alliance of People and Nations – to challenge the power of centrist parties. The group also has the potential to pave the way for the dissolution of the populist EFDD group.
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Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI)
Jean-Marc TRARIEUX departs the position of Head of Unit A3 (The Americas). Gulio MENATO is the new Acting Head of Unit.
TRARIEUX takes over the role of Head of Unit C2 (Analysis and Outcook). He has replaced Pierluigi LONDERO.
LONDERO is the new Head of Unit D3 (Implementation Support and IACS). Owen JONES departs from this position.
Phillippe BAUTIER has left the position of Head of Unit B4 (Dissemination and user support) with Timothy ALLEN becoming Acting Head of Unit.
Legal Service (DG SJ)
Laura PIGNATARO has left the position of Head of Unit, European Civil Service Law; and Gerard BERSCHEID becomes Acting Head of Unit.
Xavier LEWIS is the new Head of Unit, Information and Documentation replacing Brigette ARNOLD-WOERTZ.
Committee of the Regions
Kyriacos XYDIAS (NI, CY) joins as an alternate member, replacing Kyprianos ANDRONIKOU.
Dieter LAUINGER (PES, DE) joins as a member, replacing Babette WINTER.
Following the appointment of LAUINGER as a member, Malte KRÜCKELS (DE) replaces him as an alternate member.
Søren WINDELL (EPP, DK) joins as an alternate member, replacing Marc PERERA CHRISTENSEN.
Konstantinos TZANAKOULIS (EPP, GR) joins as an alternate member, replacing Petros SOULAS.
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European Central Bank
The Governing Council has proposed the appointment of Executive Board member Yves MERSCH as Vice-chair of the Supervisory Board. The appointment is awaiting the approval of the European Parliament.
European Stability Mechanism
Single Resolution Board
Sebastiano LAVIOLA (IT) has been appointed as a full-time member of the Single Resolution Board for a term of office of five years as from 1 May 2019. He will replace Mauro GRANDE.
Serap ALTINISIK has been elected, together with Betty BARKHA as a Board member and will join the current board as of June 2019. They will be replacing outgoing members, Anabel CRUZ and Oyebisi BABATUNDE OLUSEYI.
European Federation for Hunting and Conservation (FACE)
David SCALLAN has been appointed as new Secretary General. He replaces Ludwig WILLNEGGER.
Anamaria CORCA will join the specialist health policy and communications consultancy in the Brussels office as Account Manager.
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After lengthy discussions during an extraordinary European Council meeting on Wednesday, a six-and-a-half-month extension to the Article 50 process was agreed. The new Brexit date is 31 October, with an opt-out option available if the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified by both the EU and the UK before then.
The above extension will require the United Kingdom to participate in the European Parliamentary elections, and the legal processes required to start preparations for the election were triggered on Monday. All of the major parties have initiated their processes on candidate selection, with the first party currently represented in parliament selecting their candidates being Sinn Fein over the weekend.
Discussions continue between the two major parties to try and find a solution to the Brexit deadlock; however, no breakthrough has yet occurred. Discussions will likely cease over Parliaments Easter recess and recommence the following week.
Prime Minister Andrej BABIŠ on Wednesday announced the details of a planned cabinet reshuffle. Transport Minister Dan ŤOK has confirmed that he will be leaving the government and politics in the coming weeks. ŤOK has recently been heavily criticized for failing to find a new operator for the tolling system on Czech highways. He has also been blamed for the slow pace of reconstruction of the country’s highways and the generally poor state of Czech roads.
Marta NOVÁKOVÁ will also be leaving her post of Industry and Trade Minister at the end of the month. The decision has allegedly been precipitated by a diplomatic incident that involved a representative of Taiwan being forced to leave a diplomatic meeting at the trade ministry at the request of the Chinese ambassador. The incident highlights China’s ongoing efforts to assert its influence in the Czech Republic.
Vladimír KREMLÍK and Karel HAVLÍČEK have been nominated for the roles Transport Minister and Trade Minister respectively, however a final decision will not come into effect until later this month at the earliest. KREMLÍK is currently a Deputy Director for Legal Services and Property Management at the Office for Government Representation in Property Affairs while HAVLÍČEK is currently Vice Chair of the Government Council for Research on Development and Innovation.
Spain’s general election began on Thursday evening, with the parties launching their campaigns officially. The election shall be held on 28 April.