Movers and Shakers | 18 April 2017
Keep track of developments in the European institutions and public affairs with our movers and shakers column.
Today's Movers & Shakers are about: news from the parliamentary committees, latest appointments in the Commission and public affairs, the snap elections in the UK, Brexit and more.
Composition of the committees and delegations:
Dariusz ROSATI (EPP, PL) joined the delegation to the Euronest parliamentary assembly (D-EPA).
Urszula KRUPA (ECR, PL) joined the Delegation to the EU-Kazakhstan, EU-Kyrgyzstan, EU-Uzbekistan and EU-Tajikistan Parliamentary Cooperation Committees and for relations with Turkmenistan and Mongolia (D-CAS).
Barbara KAPPEL (ENF, AT) switched from substitute to member of the delegation for relations with the countries of Southeast Asia and the association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (D-ASE).
Clara Eugenia AGUILERA GARCÍA (S&D, ES) joined the delegation to the Euro-Latin American parliamentary assembly (D-LAT).
Inmaculada RODRÍGUEZ-PIÑERO FERNÁNDEZ (S&D, ES) left the committee on budgetary control (BUDG) and joined the committee on transport and tourism (TRAN).
José BLANCO LÓPEZ (S&D, ES) left the committee on transport and tourism (TRAN) and joined the committee on budgetary control (BUDG).
Urszula KRUPA (ECR, PL) joined the Delegation to the EU-Montenegro stabilisation and association parliamentary committee (D-ME).
Marco ZANNI (ENF, IT) switched from member to substitute of the delegation for relations with the countries of Southeast Asia and the association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (D-ASE).
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Notis MARIAS (ECR, EL) launched a new political party, “Greece- The Alternative Road”, which he will represent in the European Parliament. MARIAS, who previously sat as an independent, announced that he would remain a member of the ECR group.
Brexit steering committee: The constitutional affairs committee met on Tuesday 11 April. Committee Chair Danuta HUBNER (EPP, PL) announced that the conference of presidents formalised the steering group on Brexit during the plenary session last week. The committee is composed of Elmar BROK (EPP, DE), Roberto GUALTIERI (S&D, IT), Philippe LAMBERTS (Greens/EFA, BE), Gabriele ZIMMER (GUE/NGL, DE), Danuta HÜBNER (EPP, PL). Guy VERHOFSTADT (ALDE, BE) will be chair the group. It was also announced that Michel BARNIER, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, would occasionally appear before the group. At the Council’s request, the committee discussed a proposal outlining a system that would make the allocation of member states’ parliamentary seats ahead of each election more transparent. The proposal was initially supposed to be delivered by the end of 2016, but the conference of presidents decided to wait until the triggering of Article 50. MEPs exchanged views on the working document and the future of the 73 seats currently occupied by British MEPs after the UK leaves the EU, suggesting mathematical models, abolishing the seats and creating pan-European lists.
Food waste: At a meeting on Tuesday, members of the environment committee proposed several measures to help reduce the estimated 88 million tonnes of food that goes to waste in the EU each year. Deputies called on EU countries to achieve food waste cuts by 30 per cent by 2025 and 50 per cent by 2030. Croatian Socialist MEP Biljana Borzan, who is drafting a report on the issue of food waste for Parliament, said her report will call for a coordinated policy on labelling, liability and education, because "most consumers do not understand the precise meaning of 'best before' and 'use by' labelling." Read more.
Human rights violations: Special Representative on human rights Stavros LAMBRINIDIS spoke in the Parliament on Wednesday about the importance of European values in promoting human rights around the world. His comments were challenged by several MEPs including Portuguese Socialist MEP Ana GOMES, who told the special representative that human rights violations within Europe itself had damaged the continent's credibility. Read more.
ePrivacy: On 11 April the LIBE Committee held a hearing on the Commission’s proposal for an ePrivacy regulation. Claude MORAES (S&D, UK), chair of the committee, explained that the Commission proposal was published in January 2017. The regulation repeals the current ePrivacy directive which provides for the rules guaranteeing the right to privacy in the electronic communications sector. The regulation updates the current rules to align them with the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and takes into account recent case law of the ECJ. The rules of the ePrivacy regulation should not lower the level of protection of the GDPR. Read Dods EU Monitoring briefing on the hearing.
Office for Infrastructure and Logistics – Brussels (OIB):
Logistics and Services Department: Marie-Pierre DARCHY was appointed as Director, as of 16 April. She will replaced Konstantin KONSTANTINOU who is acting in the role. Ms DARCHY is currently Head of Unit, 'Nurseries', in the Childcare facilities department. Deputy Head of Unit, Graziano SCATOZZA will be acting Head once Ms DARCHY moves roles.
European Citizens’ initiative:
The European Commission has launched a new drive to revive the stalled European Citizens' Initiative (ECI), as the scheme has been branded a waste of time and money for failing to attract interest from the public. In a speech in Brussels at the annual European Citizens' Initiative Day, Commission First Vice-President Frans TIMMERMANS announced that there were now plans to introduce a more “citizen-friendly” scheme and that there will also be a public consultation exercise before the summer recess. Read more.
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European Investment Fund (EIF):
Audit Board: Laurenţiu OLTEANU became the Board's Alternate Member replacing Gerry SMYTH. Mr OLTEANU is an Internal Auditor in the Commission's Internal Audit Service.
European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS):
FRONTEX: Nayra PEREZ replaced Andrej GRAS as DPO.
Innovative Medicines Initiative Joint Undertaking: Francesco RONFINI replaced Estefania RIBEIRO as DPO.
European Economic and Social Committee (EESC):
Sweden: Imse SPRAGG NILSSON became a member as of 3 April 2017.
Committee of the Regions (CoR):
National Delegations – there were number of new appointments to the COR, effective as of 3 April 2017:
Incoming Members – Ionel ARSENE (PES), Decebal FĂGĂDĂU (PES), Adrian TEBAN (EPP), Marius Ioan URSĂCIUC (EPP)
Incoming Alternates - Árpád-András ANTAL (EPP), Emil BOC (EPP), Dănuţ BUHĂESCU (PES), Ion DUMITREL (EPP), Viorel IONESCU (ALDE), Petre Emanoil NEAGU (PES), Cosmin NECULA (PES), Nicolae PANDEA (PES), Marius Horia ŢUŢUIANU (PES).
Incoming Members – Jennette ARNOLD (PES), Mairi EVANS (EA), Vikki HOWELLS (PES), John LAMONT (ECR), David SIMMONDS (ECR).
Incoming Alternates – Simon BLACKBURN (PES), Bethan JENKINS (EA), Lewis MACDONALD (PES), Keith PRINCE (ECR), Andy WIGHTMAN (NI).
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European Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers (ACEM): Stefan PIERER, CEO of KTM AG was elected as the new president, succeeding Stephan SCHALLER as of 1 July. The association also elected the latter and Michele COLANINNO as Vice-Presidents.
European Builders Confederation (EBC): Eugenio QUINTIERI was selected as the new Secretary General, effective 13 June. He is currently senior policy advisor at the European Sea Ports Organization (ESPO) and spokesperson of the ESPO Delegation in the European Social Dialogue.
Federation of Small Businesses (UK & EU): David GEARY promoted to Deputy Head of EU/International Affairs.
International Geothermal Association (IGA): Marit BROMMER was appointed as the new Executive Director.
Nissan Europe: Jesse VERSTRAETE was named as the new general manager of corporate communications and CSR for Europe, starting on 1 June. Mr. VERSTRAETE, who is currently corporate communications director Asia at Microsoft, will replace Katherine ZACHARY and will be focusing on all corporate communications, crisis management, corporate and social responsibility, thought leadership and corporate profiling.
News in a nutshell:
Brexit: Theresa MAY announced on Monday morning that she intends to hold early general election on 8 June, to give “certainty and stability” to the country for the Brexit process. Read the reactions here. She said “at this moment of enormous national significance, there should be unity here in Westminster but instead there is division. The country is coming together but Westminster is not.” Read the full text of the statement here.
The Department for Exiting the EU has beefed up its team by appointing Philip RYCROFT as second permanent representative. In his new role, Mr. RYCROFT will be managing the Department’s overall policy and legislative agenda.
Parliament’s chief negotiator Guy VERHOFSTADT (ALDE, BE) in an interview warned that discussions in the coming months will be “tough and at times, intense”. He also said that “the scale of the talks ahead is unprecedented, but there is unanimity among MEPs that our priority will be to put the rights of citizens first”. Read more.
European Parliament President Antonio TAJANI (EPP, IT) announced that he will meet Mrs. MAY on Thursday 20 April in London to discuss Brexit and the EU citizens’ rights.
Fiona HYSLOP, Scottish government’s cabinet secretary for culture, tourism and external affairs explained in an article in the Parliament Magazine how important EU membership for Scotland is and how it could help diminishing the negative impact of Brexit. Read more.
In an exclusive interview with the Holyrood Magazine, the Scottish Government’s Brexit minister, Mike RUSSELL talked about the triggering of Article 50, the Scottish independence referendum and more. Read the full interview.
Bulgaria: Boyko BORISSOV announced on Thursday 13 April that his centre-right GERB agreed with the United Patriots party to form a coalition government under him. The composition of the new government will be announced after the Easter break, following negotiations.
Previously, BORISSOV had met with the leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party to discuss and seek support in key priorities, ahead of the country’s rotating EU presidency in the first half of 2018.
France: The first round of the presidential elections will be held on Sunday 23 April.
Hungary: The newly introduced bill that requires foreign-accredited universities to provide higher education services in their own countries and being approved through a contract between the Hungarian government and the country where they are accredited sparked anger and major protests have been staged earlier this week. The George SOROS-funded Central European University (CEU) is among the universities that are mainly affected. The European Network Against Racism (ENAR) and its member organisations have sent a protest letter to European Commission President Jean-Claude JUNCKER and Parliament's EPP group leader Manfred WEBER. Read more.
Turkey: The result of Sunday's referendum that gave Turkish President Tayyip ERDOĞAN sweeping new powers had mixed responses. The main opposition party has launched an appeal to invalidate the result and some leading MEPs have called for Turkey's accession talks with the EU to be suspended. Read more.
The EU must 'take the lead' in tackling alcohol-related harm, writes Mariann Skar.
As presidency candidates call for 'new start', very few concrete plans are being put forward on 'Europe's youth', says Patrik Kovács.
Who is controlling the counter-narratives to extremism? This is the question that many EU policymakers want answered, argues Tehmina Kazi.