Movers and Shakers | 12 March 2018

Written by Ifigenia Balkoura on 12 March 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: the S&D group leadership, latest appointments in the European Commission and public affairs, the new Executive Director of Europol, the International Women's Day, the ministerial resignations in Slovakia, Brexit and more.


European Parliament:

Gianni PITTELLA (S&D, IT) announced his resignation on 7 March at a group’s meeting, following his election to the Italian Senate. See below. 

Senior appointments and composition of the political groups:
S&D group:
Following the resignation of Gianni PITTELLA as an MEP, an election for a new leader will be held on 20 March. Maria João RODRIGUES (PT), Vice-Chair of the group will be acting in the role until then. Nominations are open until 12 March.

Laurenţiu REBEGA (RO): defected from the ENF group and currently sits as an independent MEP. In an article, Mr REBEGA said that he has applied to join the ECR group, as he believes the group shares his belief that "we need to create an EU that understands that the people of Europe are best served by looser integration".

The new seat breakdown is as follows:

Composition of the committees and the delegations:

Geoffroy DIDIER (EPP, FR) joined the delegation for relations with the People's Republic of China (D-CN).
Jacques COLOMBIER (ENF, FR) joined the committee on agriculture and rural development (AGRI) and the delegation to the EU-Turkey joint parliamentary committee (D-TR).

Claudia SCHMIDT (EPP, AT) joined the delegation to the ACP-EU joint parliamentary assembly (D-ACP).
Jérôme LAVRILLEUX (EPP, FR) joined the committee on women's rights and gender equality (FEMM).
Manolis KEFALOGIANNIS (EPP, EL) joined the delegation to the Euro-Latin American parliamentary assembly (D-LAT).
Jiří PAYNE (EFDD, CZ) joined the committee on foreign affairs (AFET) and the delegation for relations with the Maghreb countries and the Arab Maghreb Union (D-MAG).

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MEPs’ news:
Sirpa PIETIKÄINEN (EPP, FI) was appointed as honorary chair of the board of the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP). A new science-policy platform for the European environmental policy, called “Think 2030” was also announced. Its first forum of which will be held on 15-18 October in Brussels.

Special committee on financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance (TAXE III):
MEPs will vote on the nominal composition of committee on Tuesday 13 March.  

Plenary session:
MEPs are head to Strasbourg from Monday 12 to Thursday 15 March.
On 14 March, MEPs will hold a formal debate in Parliament on the murder of Slovak journalist Jan KUCIAK and his partner Martina KUŠNÍROVÁ.
Prime Minister of Portugal António COSTA will address the MEPs on the future of Europe on 14 March.


Get to know:

Terry REINTKE (Greens/EFA, DE) in 5 questions.
REINTKE is Greens/EFA group women’s rights and gender equality spokesperson and she is leading a petition for a zero-tolerance policy on sexual harassment in the European Parliament. The 30 year-old MEP is particularly vocal on the #MeToo campaign. She is a member of the committee on women's rights and gender equality.

Want to know more? Click here for information on our Dods People EU service.

MEP Awards:

Just over a week to go!
After a record number of nominations, the Parliament Magazine is looking forward to unveiling the winners of this year's MEP awards. The ceremony will be held on 21 March and will be hosted by Greek MEP Eva KAILI

For information about the MEP Awards, please contact the Events Team:                | +44 (0)20 7593 5672


European Commission:

Cabinet of Julian King:
Jack SCHICKLER has left the European Commission, and has been replaced as KING’s Communication Adviser and Cabinet Member by David KNIGHT. Mr KNIGHT was previously a press assistant within the Spokesperson’s Service.

The European Commission’s new secretary general Martin SELMAYR, has come under fresh attack from MEPs. It comes amid media reports earlier this week that, SELMAYR, who now occupies the most senior civil service post in the Commission, had suggested tripling the so called “transition allowance” payable to commissioners after they leave office. Under the reported plans, it is believed that officials could receive a maximum of €13,500 per month for up to five years, as well as an office in the Commission, an official car with a driver and two assistants.

International Cooperation and Development Directorate-General (DEVCO):

Directorate B – People and Peace: Karine GENTY becomes Head of Unit B6 (Finance and Contracts), leaving her former role as Deputy Head of Unit C6 temporarily vacant. The acting Head of Unit B6, Eric GIDROL, reprises his role as Deputy Head of Unit.
Directorates D, E, F and G: Koen DOENS becomes Deputy Director-General with responsibility for Directorates D, E, F and G. DOENS, formerly Director of Directorate D, takes over from Marjeta JAGER, Deputy Director-General with responsibility for Directorates B, C and R, who held the role on an acting basis.
Directorate D – EU-Africa Relations, East and Southern Africa: Mr DOENS is temporarily replaced as Director of Directorate D by Hans STAUSBOLL, Head of Unit D2 (Eastern Africa, Horn of Africa).
Michel ARRION becomes Head of Unit D4 (Regional Sector Policy Analysis) joining DEVCO from the External Action Service. He takes over the role from Deputy Head of Unit Marzia PIETRELLI, who held the role on an acting basis.
Directorate G – Latin America and Caribbean: Andrew JACOBS, formerly of the External Action Service, joins DEVCO as Head of Unit G3 (Regional Sector Policy Analysis), taking over from Deputy Head of Unit Milko VAN GOOL, who held the role on an acting basis.

Migration and Home Affairs Directorate-General (HOME):
Directorate A – Strategy and General Affairs: Blanca RODRIGUEZ GALINDO leaves her role as Head of Unit A3 (International Coordination), leaving Deputy Head of Unit Silvena PESTA as interim head.
Directorate E – Migration and Security Funds; Financial Resources and Monitoring: Beate GMINDER, formerly Secretary General at the European Ombudsman, joins DG HOME as Director of Directorate E, replacing Deputy Director-General Simon MORDUE, who held the role on an interim basis.

Mobility and Transport Directorate-General (MOVE):
Shared Resource Directorate – MOVE/ENER: Rogero VINCITORE becomes Head of Unit SRD 2 (Information Management and Systems), a position he previously only held on an acting basis. His former role as Deputy Head of Unit has been filled by Luisa GUEDES, formerly an IT Projects Manager within the Shared Resources Directorate.

Translation Directorate-General (DGT):
Directorate A – Translation: Marja HENNESSY becomes Head of the Finnish Language Department within Directorate A, taking over from Tiina LOHIKKO, who held the role on an acting basis, and who now returns to her role as Head of Finnish Language Unit 1.



The Council appointed Catherine DE BOLLE, Commissioner of the Belgian federal police as the new executive director, starting on 2 May for a four-year mandate, renewable once. She will replace Rob WAINWRIGHT. Mrs DE BOLLE is the first female appointed in this role.


International Women's Day:

8 March was the international women’s day. Several events were organised to discuss the gender equality in Brussels. On the occasion, the Commission released a report on gender equality that it says highlights where action is needed “to do more to ensure that we achieve real change when it comes to ensuring equality between men and women.” European gender equality Commissioner Vera JOUROVÁ added, “Gender equality is not just about women. It is about our society, our economy and our demography. We want to guarantee that women are truly equal to men in front of the law.
On Thursday 8 March, Greens/EFA group deputy, Terry REINTKE submitted a petition to Parliament President Antonio TAJANI calling for a zero-tolerance policy on sexual harassment in the institution.
In an article to the Parliament Magazine, Barbara MATERA explains why introducing a gender dimension  to the trade agreements is important, while Madi SHARMA argues that equality is an economic and social imperative. With 13-years of experience in Brussels, Ms SHARMA highlights that the lack of female role models is deeply concerning and she calls for an end to all-male panels.
Romanian S&D group member Claudia ȚAPARDEL called on the EU to show more strategic engagement and incorporate gender equality provisions in all its policymaking. ȚAPARDEL mentioned the progress made in the European institutions and gave as an example the successful launch of the ‘Women in transport - EU platform for change’, which she was actively involved in.
Her fellow S&D group colleague and vice-chair of Parliament’s women’s right and gender equality committee, Mary HONEYBALL reflects on the progress made in the EU, as she said the fight for equality never ends.
Talking about women and achievements, Laura HOULGATTE, ceo of the international union of cinemas was named as one of the top 50 women in global cinema by the online cinema news magazine Celluloid Junkie. Laura came eighth in the list.

Are you aware of any other women’s appointments? Let Ifigenia know. She will be more than happy to spread the news.


Public affairs:

Got any new appointment you would like us to include in our next newsletter? Contact Ifigenia Balkoura!

Rebranded: The European Committee of Domestic Equipment Manufacturers (CECED) has been renamed to APPLiA. After 60 years of history and technological revolution, the home appliance sector in Europe will be represented by the fully modernised association, now called APPLiA. The major change was celebrated by more than 200 policymakers, manufacturers, NGOs and other stakeholders on 7 March at the belVUE museum in Brussels. “The new brand image is the logical consequence of an analysis of who we are and how an innovative, sustainable and forward-looking sector, such as the home appliance industry deserves to be represented”, said APPLiA’s Director-General, Paolo FALCIONI. In the future ahead, APPLiA’s goals for the future will be led by its slogan: “By us, by you for better lifestyles in Europe”.

Bertelsmann Stiftung: Jürgen NOACK has been appointed as the new head of liaison office of Bertelsmann Stiftung. His main task is to lead network growth and media engagement for the Brussels office of one of the largest private operating foundations and think tanks in Germany. He looks back on a career of more than 15 years in European public affairs and communications in Brussels.

BOLDT: Matthias GRAF will join the team in August as founding partner, leading BOLDT’s Germany, Austria and Switzerland region and the company’s culture and transformation practice. 


News in a nutshell:

Brexit: Following a key speech on 2 March, Theresa MAY’s ambition to secure free trade was watered down by Michel BARNIER’s advisor Stefaan DE RYNCK, who said that that mutual recognition of standards – a central aspect of the Prime Minister’s plans for a post-Brexit trade deal – is no longer a key part of the bloc’s trading arrangements. He also added that the European Court of Justice could intervene at any point to prevent mutual recognition of standards undermining the single market’s integrity.

Addressing MEPs on Tuesday, British shadow health secretary Jonathan ASHWORTH, said the pledge to stay in the European Medicines Agency will form part of Labour’s ‘consistent approach’ to Brexit which “seek to maintain membership of (or equivalent relationships with) European organisations which offer benefits to the UK.” He highlighted the “string of evidence about the importance for UK patients of close cooperation with Europe on medicine regulation and said that staying in the EMA was preferable “because it serves our national interests and the interests of the EU27.”

Speaking in Luxembourg on 7 March, European Council president Donald TUSK presented the draft guidelines to shape the future relationship between the UK and the EU and rejected a “pick-and-mix” approach. He reiterated that the “EU27 wants UK as close friend and partner and will enter talks on future with open, positive mind, but given UK red lines only a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is possible”, while he added that “It will be the first FTA in history to loosen, not strengthen economic ties. Drifting apart is the essence of Brexit.” TUSK met with the Irish Prime Minister on 8 March ahead of the European Council in two weeks’ time and he particularly expressed EU27’s solidarity to Ireland, which he said “comes first.”

In a news conference last Wednesday, Parliament’s president Antonio TAJANI and the assembly’s chief Brexit negotiator Guy VERHOFSTADT outlined a draft on the citizens’ right and recommend what the later called a “broad, intense and detailed” association agreement with the UK. MEPs will vote of the resolution in next week’s plenary.

France: former MEP Marine LE PEN was re-elected as leader of the National Front. LE PEN suggested rebranding the party to “National Rally”. However, this name cannot be used as it has already been registered as a party and a name since 2013.

Netherlands: Stef BLOK was appointed as the new minister for foreign affairs, replacing Halbe ZIJLSTRA. Sigrid KAAG was acting the role in the meantime. He has previously served as minister for housing and central government in the second RUTTE cabinet.

Slovakia: Culture minister Marek MAĎARIČ resigned on 28 February, following the murder of the investigative journalist Ján KUCIAK and his fiancée. Deputy prime minister and minister for investment Peter PELLEGRINI is replacing him on an interim basis. Interior minister Robert KALINAK resigned on Monday 12 March, following street protests over the death of the journalist.

About the author

Ifigenia Balkoura is editor of the European Union & Public Affairs Directory (EPAD).


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