Movers and Shakers | 19 July 2019
Keep track of developments in the European institutions and public affairs with our movers and shakers column.
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Commission president-nominee and former German defence minister Ursula VON DER LEYEN (EPP, DE), was narrowly confirmed by the European Parliament on Wednesday evening with 383 votes in favour, 327 votes against and 22 abstentions, just surpassing the required 374-vote majority. VON DER LEYEN, who will be the first woman to hold the post, replaces outgoing Commission president Jean-Claude JUNCKER (LU) on 1 November.
Composition of committees and delegations
Employment and Social Affairs Committee (EMPL)
After a first vote on the chairs and vice-chairs of the committee was held on 10 July, MEP Beata SZYDŁO (ECR, PL), the only candidate for chair was again not elected on Monday. 19 MEPs voted in favour of her candidacy, 34 against, with 2 abstentions. The meeting was then adjourned to Thursday and Lucia ĎURIŠ NICHOLSONOVÁ (ECR, SK) was successfully elected as Chair. Vice-chairs are Vilija BLINKEVIČIŪTĖ (S&D, LT), Sandra PEREIRA (GUE/NGL, PT), Tomáš ZDECHOVSKÝ (EPP, CZ) and Katrin LANGENSIEPEN (Greens/EFA, DE).
Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI)
Adrian-Dragoş BENEA (S&D, RO) replaces Andrea COZZOLINO (S&D, IT) as a member.
Budgetary Control (CONT)
Lara WOLTERS (S&D, NL) replaces Paul TANG (S&D, NL) as a member.
Constitutional Affairs (AFCO)
Geert BOURGEOIS (ECR, BE) replaces Ryszard Antoni LEGUTKO (ECR, PL) as a member.
Culture and Education (CULT)
Catherine GRISET (ID, FR) becomes a member.
Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON)
Dragoş PÎSLARU (RE, RO) replaces Olivier CHASTEL (RE, BE) as a member.
Foreign Affairs (AFET)
Andrius KUBILIUS (EPP, LT) replaces Hildegard BENTELE (EPP, DE) as a member.
Human Rights Subcommittee (DROI)
Assita KANKO (ECR, BE) replaces Witold Jan WASZCZYKOWSKI (ECR, PL) as a member.
Legal Affairs (JURI)
Lara WOLTERS (S&D, NL) replaces Kati PIRI (S&D, NL) as a member.
On Wednesday, MEPs voted on the composition of interparliamentary delegations. This legislative term, Parliament will have 44 interparliamentary delegations. Chairs and vice-chairs of the delegations will be elected at the delegation’s constitutive meetings, which are expected to take place in September.
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Commission President Jean-Claude JUNCKER has conceded defeat in his fight against accepting new commissioners for the last few months of his term. Kadri SIMSON (EE) and Ioan MIRCEA PAŞCU (RO) are now officially Commissioners-designate. This comes after the Council of the European Union failed to reach unanimity on JUNCKER’s proposal not to replace outgoing Commissioners who were elected and have now become members of the European Parliament, namely Andrus ANSIP (RE, EE) and Corina CRETU (S&D, RO). However, JUNCKER has decided not to allocate specific portfolios to SIMSON and MIRCEA PAŞCU given the short remaining time of the mandate.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos MITSOTAKIS has nominated current Commission chief spokesperson, Margaritis SCHINAS as Greece’s next European Commissioner. SCHINAS will succeed Dimitris AVRAMOPOULOS as Greece’s representative in the Commission, but he is not likely to take over the migration portfolio, as former premier Alexis Tsipras negotiated at the last EU Council.
Meanwhile, the Slovenian government nominated Janez LENARČIČ for the post of EU Commissioner on Thursday. It is still unclear which post LENARČIČ might take. Outgoing Slovenian commissioner Violeta BULC is in charge of transport.
Secretary-general Martin SELMAYR (DE) has announced that he will leave his post at the end of next week to quell concerns about a German-dominated EU executive after Germany’s Ursula VON DER LEYEN was confirmed as EU Commission President this week. SELMAYR’s likely successor is rumoured to be Olivier GUERSENT (FR), who is currently director-general of the commission’s financial services department.
Competition (DG COMP)
Lucía CAUDET takes over as the Commission’s spokesperson for competition, adding to her current responsibilities as spokesperson for single market, industry, research and innovation. Current competition spokesperson Ricardo CARDOSO was promoted to deputy head of unit at the directorate general for competition.
European Economic and Social Committee
Sam HÄGGLUND (SE) joins as a member, replacing Frank Thomas ABRAHAMSSON.
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Cambre Associates is boosting its healthcare team as Beatrix BENZ joins as a senior adviser.
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Environment minister, François DE RUGY announced his resignation on Tuesday after coming under fire over allegations of spending taxpayers’ money on personal expenses. Transport minister Élisabeth BORNE will replace DE RUGY in the role whilst also maintaining her portfolio.
Following the appointment of previous post holder, Ursula VON DER LEYEN, as European Commission President, leader of the Christian Democrats (EPP), Annegret KRAMP-KARRENBAUER was named as the country’s new defence minister on Wednesday. KRAMP-KARRENBAUER is scheduled to swear the oath of office next week in the Bundestag, Germany's parliament.
Social-Democrat Prime Minister Viorica DĂNCILĂ on Monday announced a government reshuffle. Interior Minister Carmen DAN will no longer serve in the position along with Foreign Affairs Minister Teodor MELEȘCANU who lost the support of the junior coalition party ALDE. According to Romanian media sources, Nicolae MOGA has been nominated to take over DAN’s job and former MEP Ramona MĂNESCU is expected to become Foreign Affairs Minister. President Klaus Iohannis is still to approve these nominations.