Movers and Shakers | 27 November 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 MEPs, the host of the MEP Awards 2018, latest appointments in the European Commission and public affairs, the 5th Eastern Partnership Summit, the EUETS, Brexit and more.
Lukas MANDL (EPP, AT) will replace Elisabeth KÖSTINGER, who became president of the Austrian National Council. MANDL, who was previously member of the regional parliament in Lower Austria, is expected to join the European Parliament as member next week.
Composition of the committees and delegations:
Martin SCHIRDEWAN (GUE/NGL, DE) joined the committee on economic and monetary affairs (ECON).
Kaja KALLAS (ALDE, EE) announced her intention to run in the next general elections in her native Estonia in 2019.
Eva MAYDELL (EPP, BU) was elected as president of the European Movement, replacing her fellow MEP Jo LEINEN (S&D, DE).
Latest news and developments:
Artificial Intelligence: At the annual Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) lecture, MEPs voiced their concerns over the power of algorithms in influencing our lives. By using algorithms, it is possible to predict people’s future behaviour based on their past actions. MEPs specifically called for more transparency on artificial intelligence and to make people more aware of the issue. STOA Chair Eva KAILI (S&D, EL) highlighted the difficulty in judging the quality of decisions that algorithms make, suggesting that we need to build a better understanding of the subject.
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New Rules on European Party Funding: MEPs approved new rules on funding European political parties. To improve democratic representation, the constitutional affairs committee (AFCO) proposed lowering the proportion of money needed to be eligible for EU funding from 15 per cent to 10 per cent. Furthermore, individuals can no longer create a European party preventing them from exploiting access to increased public funds. It was also suggested that national parties should display the logo and political manifesto of their European counterpart on their websites to strengthen the link between national and European parties. The rules were approved with 19 votes to two, with two abstentions. Rainer WIELAND (EPP, DE) is Parliament’s rapporteur.
Reform of EU Emissions Trading System (EUETS): Following an EU Council, EU ambassadors endorsed a deal to reform the EU Emissions Trading System for the period after 2020. The rules governing the EU ETS will be strengthened and provisions to protect the industry against carbon leakage will be introduced. This marks an increased effort to meet the Paris Agreement target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030. Funding mechanisms will also be created to assist the industry sector in transitioning to a low carbon economy. For example, the fund allocated to supporting low-carbon innovation in renewables and Carbon Capture and Storage projects will be extended to industrial sectors including Carbon Capture and Utilisation. The European Parliament’s ENVI committee is expected to vote on the deal on 28 November in advance of final adoption by the Council. Julie GIRLING (ECR, UK) is Parliament’s rapporteur.
MEP Awards 2018:
Eva KAILI (S&D, EL) was announced as the host of MEP awards 2018 ceremony, which will be held on 21 March 2018. An MEP since 2014, she chairs the delegation for relations with the Nato parliamentary assembly and Parliament's science and technology options assessment panel.
Nominations are open until 30 November.
Get to know:
Anna Maria CORAZZA BILDT (EPP, SE) in 5 questions.
Ms CORAZZA BILDT is Vice-Chair of the internal market and consumer protection committee (IMCO) and rapporteur on the prevention and combating violence against women and domestic violence. She is also co-chair of the Children’s Rights Intergroup.
Cabinet of Violeta BULC:
Silke OBST joins as a Member, replacing Nikolaus VON PETER, who leaves to join the Commission’s Representation in Germany. Mr OBST joins from the Competition Directorate-General, and has responsibility over sustainable and intelligent transport, (including urban mobility), multimodality and logistics, transport innovation and research. Her non-portfolio responsibilities within Ms BULC’s Cabinet include energy and climate, environment, health, research, science and innovation, digital economy, and she has oversight over the member states of Germany, Poland, Austria, Hungary, and the non-EU nations of Switzerland and Norway.
Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI):
Directorate I – Legal, institutional and procedural matters: Michael NIEJAHR will be appointed as director on 1 December 2017. He was previously acting director of the same office.
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Directorate C – Quality of life: Veronica MANFREDI, currently head of Consumer and Marketing Law in DG JUST was appointed as Director. The date of the appointments has not yet been determined.
Thomas VERHEYE was appointed as Principal Adviser.
Informatics Directorate-General (DIGIT):
Directorate C – Digital Workplace and Infrastructure: Yves PATERNOSTER (Head of Unit C6) becomes Acting Head of Unit C5 (Digital Workplace Support), following Guy DROWART’s departure for the Office for Infrastructure and Logistics in Brussels (OIB).
Economic and Financial Affairs Directorate-General (ECFIN):
Directorate E – Economies of the Member States III: Following Marie DONNAY’s move to DG FISMA, Niall BOHAN has been appointed as Head of Unit E1 (Italy, Malta, Poland). Mr BOHAN was previously a Head of Unit in FISMA’s Directorate C.
Directorate G – Economies of the Member States II: Ana XAVIER becomes Head of Unit G3 (Czech Republic, Slovakia, United Kingdom), taking over from Florian WÖHLBIER, who held the role on an acting basis. Ms XAVIER was previously Deputy Head of Unit in DG EMPL.
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Acumen public affairs: bolstered its team with four new hires. Former European business editor of the Guardian, David GOW joined as senior adviser and Katarina HUNTER as account manager. The team will be assisted by two new trainees, Maissane LAHMAR-SAVAGE and Eva GROBBINK. Nikos MANARAS, who joined the consultancy in the beginning of the year and is focusing on healthcare has been promoted to Account Director. Fabienne ZWAGEMAKERS whose expertise is in public affairs and public relations know-how on health, digital and environment policy issues was also promoted to account manager.
Airlines International Representation in Europe (AIRE): Rafal MILCZARSKI, CEO of Lot Polish Airlines, was appointed as the new president and Michael HARRINGTON, Director of AlbaStar as Vice-President.
European Association for Storage of Energy (EASA): Eva CHAMIZO LLATAS, Director of European affairs of the Iberdrola Brussels office was elected as the new president as of 1 January 2018, replacing Peter RÖTTGEN.
EU Specialty Food Ingredients (formerly ELC): Dominique SPEELERS was re-appointed as president, Marie-Laure EMPINET became the new Vice-President, while François SCHEFFLER was appointed as treasurer for a one-year term. The board also increased its seats from 10 to 12.
German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA): Andreas RENSCHLER was elected as the new chairman of the commercial vehicles board group, succeeding Martin DAUM.
SpiritsEUROPE: Ulrich ADAM was appointed as the new Director-General as of 15 January 2018. The organisation also has a new president, Christian Porta who will lead spiritsEUROPE for the next two years.
News in a nutshell:
Brexit: The week started with the decision on the relocations of the two London-based agencies. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Banking Authority (EBA) will be relocated to Amsterdam and in Paris respectively.
Speaking at a Center for European Reform event on the future of the EU, the EU Chief Brexit Negotiator, Michel BARNIER said that Brexit will see the British financial service losing their EU “passporting rights”, while he also warned that the EU will block a Brexit deal if the UK tries to slash taxes and environmental regulations. BARNIER reiterated once again that “Brexit means Brexit”.
More Brexit effects were announced this week, after five British cities were told they must withdraw their bids for the 2023 European Capital of Culture as a result of the country’s withdrawal from the EU bloc. Several Labour MEPs, including Seb DANCE, Rory PALMER and Theresa GRIFFIN expressed their disappointment with the development.
In his Budget 2017 speech on Wednesday, Chancellor for the Exchequer Philip HAMMOND announced £3bn more for the Brexit preparations over the next two years, on top of £700m already allocated.
Irish Taoiseach Leo VARADKAR warned that the negotiation talks could be stalemated if the UK does not offer proposals to avoid a hard border with the Northern Ireland. DUP leader Arlene FOSTER hit back, accusing both Brussels and Dublin of taking advantage of the Norther Irish border to “blackmail” the UK over Brexit. She has also warned the EU that her party will block any move to keep Northern Ireland in the customs union.
According to a leaked Irish document, the EU ministers were stunned at the UK’s approach to the Brexit negotiations. The revelation comes ahead of December’s European Council meeting.
In other news, the UK elections watchdog launched an investigation into whether the official Brexit campaign Vote Leave breached spending limits in the EU referendum, delivering an incorrect spending return and into a £625,000 wad of cash it gave to fashion student Darren Grimes.
Theresa MAY is set to reject the EU’s demands to stick to the EU regulations on food standards and animal welfare, it has emerged.
5th Eastern Partnership Summit: took place on 24 November in Brussels. European Commission president Jean-Claude JUNCKER, Council president Donald TUSK and heads of states represented the EU, while High Representative Federica MOGHERINI, Commissioner for enlargement and neighborhood policy Johannes HAHN and Commissioner for trade Cecilia MALMSTRÖM also participated. The Summit reflected the important achievements since the last Summit back in 2015 made by the six Eastern partner countries, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. Read more.