Movers and Shakers | 21 June 2019
Keep track of developments in the European institutions and public affairs with our movers and shakers column.
European leaders failed to reach a deal early on Friday morning for a slate of the Institution’s top jobs including that of European Commission president. They have said that they will reconvene on 30 June to try and break the deadlock, however rifts between many of the leaders mean that a decision will not be easy to come by. French President Emmanuel MACRON has made it clear that he opposes the Spitzenkandidat process which would normally see the European party able to command a governing coalition in the Parliament choose a candidate for Commission presidency – in this case the EPP’s Manfred WEBER (DE). MACRON’s position is at loggerheads with that of German leader Angela MERKEL who has insisted on respecting the lead candidate system and defends the nomination of WEBER.
On Monday, former Austrian vice-chancellor Heinz-Christian STRACHE announced that he would not be taking up his Parliament seat and would instead remain politically active in Austria. Instead, Roman HAIDER (ENF, AT) will take the seat.
Werner KOGLER (Greens/EFA, AT) will not be accepting his mandate as he will run in the snap Austrian federal elections. Monika VANA will instead take the seat for her second term in the European Parliament.
Former Romanian prime minister and leader of Pro Romania, Victor PONTA, has announced that he is renouncing his mandate in the Parliament to pursue a political career at home. He will be replaced by Mihai TUDOSE (RE, RO).
Marc TARABELLA (S&D, BE) will remain in the European Parliament following the resignation of Paul MAGNETTE (BE) who wishes to remain involved in domestic politics and is the Socialist Party’s chief negotiator in ongoing negotiations to form a new Belgian government.
On Wednesday the group welcomed three new MEPs. They are Martin BUSCHMANN (DE), Clare DALY (IE) and Mick WALLACE (IE).
Incumbent Vula TSETSI (EL), was re-elected Secretary General of the group, a role she has held since 2004.
Renew Europe (RE)
After announcing his candidacy to lead the group and winning the endorsements of French president Emmanuel MACRON’s Renaissance delegation early in the week, former Romanian prime minister and ex-EU agriculture commissioner, Dacian CIOLOŞ, was officially announced as the group’s leader on Wednesday. Malik AZMANI (NL) was named as the first vice-president of the group. Vice-presidents are Iskra MIHAYLOVA (BG), Katalin CSEH (HU), Frédérique RIES, Morten LØKKEGAARD (NL), Luis GARICANO (ES), Dominique RIQUET (FR) and Martin HORWOOD (UK).
Emmanuel MACRON’s former political adviser and campaign director of Renaissance, Stéphane SÉJOURNÉ (FR) has been elected as chair of the Renaissance delegation in the group.
Incumbent leader of the group, Udo BULLMANN (DE) withdrew from the leadership race on Tuesday. BULLMANN, who has led the group since 2018, wrote a letter to his colleagues in which he conceded Germany’s Social Democrats has fared poorly in May’s elections whereas their Spanish counterparts had done far better. The only other contender, Spanish MEP Iratxe GARCÍA, was therefore chosen as the new group leader.
Half of the Dutch Christian Union-Reformed Political Party coalition (CU-SGP) has joined the EPP. The Christian Union have joined together with their MEP Peter VAN DALEN.
After MEP Bronis ROPĖ (Greens/EFA, LT), vetoed the entry of Aušra SEIBUTYTĖ-MALDEIKIENĖ (LT) into the Greens/EFA group in the Parliament, she has joined the EPP.
At its constitutive meeting held on Wednesday, the group welcomed its new co-chairs: Ryszard LEGUTKO (PL) and Raffaele FITTO (IT). Also appointed were six vice-chairs being Derk Jan EPPINK (NL), Daniel HANNAN (UK), Assita KANKO (BE), Peter LUNDGREN (SE), Hermann TERTSCH DEL VALLE-LERSUNDI (ES) and Roberts ZILE (LV). Furthermore, Angel DZHAMBAZKI (BG) and Kosma ZLOTOWSKI (PL) were selected as co-treasurers of the group.
On the same day, the group nominated Jan ZAHRADIL (CZ) as their candidate for the President of the European Parliament.
The New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) will continue to be part of the group in the European Parliament for the next five years. After May’s elections, the N-VA’s presence in the parliament shrunk from 7 delegates to just three and is now represented by MEPs Geert BOURGEOIS, Assita KANKO and Johan VAN OVERTVELDT. Until this decision was announced, it was unclear as to whether the party would continue their affiliation with the ECR who itself hemorrhaged support in the elections as it fell from 74 to 63 MEPs.
The Dutch Christian Union-Reformed Political Party coalition (CU-SGP) ran as one list in the European elections, however they have decided they will join different groups in the Parliament. SGP joins the group together with their MEP Bert-Jan RUISSEN while the CU have decided to join the EPP.
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Andrus ANSIP (EE), current Commission Vice-President and Commissioner for the Digital Single Market has announced his intention to stand down from the Commission on 1 July 2019, in order to take up his seat in the European Parliament the following day. ANSIP was nominated by the prior Reform-led government and was unlikely to be re-nominated by the current administration.
Maroš ŠEFČOVIČ (SK), current Commission Vice-President and Commissioner in charge of the Energy Union and EU Space Policy has been nominated by the current Slovak government to serve a third term in the European Commission.
Valdis DOMBROVSKIS (LV), currently Commission Vice-President and Commissioner for Euro and Social Dialogue, confirmed on Thursday that he would remain on the current Commission and would not take his seat in the European Parliament. The news was not expected, since DOMBROVSKIS has been re-nominated by the Latvian government to serve on the next Commission.
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Niall BOHAN becomes the Head of Unit C1 (Treasury Management), replacing Acting Head of Unit Nicole SMITH.
Communication Networks, Content and Technology (DG CONNECT)
Mechthild ROHEN has left the position of Unit E4 (Internet of Things), with Nikolaos ISARIS coming Acting Head of Unit.
Nicole DEWANDRE is no longer Adviser for Societal Issues, with the position becoming vacant.
Economic and Financial Affairs
Niall BOHAN leaves the position of Head of Unit L3 (Stability mechanisms and legal affairs), with Christian ENGELEN becoming Acting Head of Unit.
Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion
Athanasios MARASLIS is the new Head of Unit F5 (Information Technologies) replacing former Acting Head of Unit Anne GRISARD.
Two units have been merged: the former Unit A4 (Administration, IT & Support Services) and the former Unit D4 (LIFE Programme) have been merged into a new Unit A4 (LIFE Governance, Administration, IT & Support Services) in Directorate A. Jean-Claude MERCIOL, who was head of the old Unit D4 will be the Head of Unit, while the former Head of the old Unit A4 José TORCATO shall depart the DG.
International Cooperation and Development
Sandra KRAMER is the new Director of Directorate D (EU-AU Relations, West and East Africa) replacing former Acting Director Hans STAUSBOLL.
Daniel GIOREV is the new Head of Unit A3 (International Organisations and Development Dialogue with Other Donors) replacing former Acting Head of Unit Alessandro VILLA.
Stefano SIGNORE has left the position of Head of Unit B3 (Migration, Employment) with C HAGSTROM becoming Acting Head of Unit.
SIGNORE moves to become the new Head of Unit C6 (Sustainable Energy, Climate Change) with Felice ZACCHEO departing from that post.
ZACCHEO transitions to the post of Head of Unit G2 (Regional Operations Latin America and Caribbean), replacing Fermín MELENDRO ARNAIZ.
Migration and Home Affairs
A new Directorate has been added to the DG. The new Directorate F (Financial Audit, Data Management and Risk Assessment) shall have the former Director of Directorate A (Strategy and General Affairs) Marta CYGAN as its Director; with the former Units E4 (Budget and Control, renamed Financial Audit) and A4 (Risk Assessment and Knowledge hub for migration and security) moving to be under this new Directorate.
Therefore CYGAN leaves the position of Director of Directorate A with Paraskevi MICHOU becoming Acting Director.
Court of Justice of the European Union
Egils LEVITS has tendered his resignation from his position as Judge with effect from 17 June. On 29 May, the 13th Saeima elected LEVITS as president of the Republic of Latvia. LEVITS has been a Judge in the Court since 2004.
European Asylum Support Office
Nina GREGORI has been appointed executive director. GREGORI takes over from Jamil ADDOU, who served has served as interim executive director since June 2018.
Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO)
Simon HOCQUARD has been appointed director general from 19 June. He replaces outgoing director general Jeff POOLE.
European Apparel and Textile Confederation (EURATEX)
Alberto PACCANELLI has been appointed president for a two-year term. He replaces outgoing president Klaus HUNEKE who served in the position for two years from January 2017. Dirk VANTYGHEM has also been appointed as new director general.
European Renewable Ethanol (ePURE)
Federica ZOLLA joins in the capacity of director of government affairs, coordinating EU-level advocacy and trade policy work with the members.
Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE)
The General Assembly re-elected Jean-Marc LEROY as president for another term in office. LEROY has been serving in the role since 2015.
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The Social Democrat (S&D) coalition government has survived a no-confidence vote, strengthening prime minister Viorica DANCILA’s chances of being confirmed as party leader later this month. On Tuesday, 200 lawmakers in the 465-seat bicameral parliament voted for the motion of no-confidence, short of the 233 needed to topple the government. The motion has been brought by centrist opposition groupings who had maintained that the Social Democrats remained a threat to the rule of law in the country, even following the imprisonment of long-time leader Liviu DRAGNEA, who was jailed for corruption last month.
After handing over his presidential duties to Zuzana ČAPUTOVÁ, who officially assumed office on Saturday, former president Andrej KISKA, presented his new pro-EU party ‘For People’ and identified the priorities of the party: healthcare, education, justice, addressing regional differences and the environment. The team so far includes local and regional politicians, a former MEP, the leader of the ‘For Decent Slovakia’ protests and a former Slovak ambassador at NATO.
On Monday, the Spanish Electoral Board (JEC) denied permission to three Catalan separatists to take their seats in the EU Parliament. Amongst them are the leader of the Catalan Republican Left, Oriol JUNQUERAS, who was denied permission to leave prison to attend a ceremony at the National Electoral Commission on 17 June, where he would be sworn in as a member of the European Parliament. Former regional health councillor Toni COMÍN was also denied. Similarly, former Catalan regional vice-president Carles PUIGDEMONT has been blocked from claiming his European Parliament seat.
The race for the Conservative leadership has been reduced to two candidates; with Jeremy HUNT and Boris JOHNSON advancing to the final round. In the fifth and final ballot of Conservative MPs; JOHNSON secured 160 votes, with 77 for HUNT and 75 for Michael GOVE, who was eliminated. The top two candidates will now face off in a ballot of Conservative Party members, with the result being announced on 22 July.