Movers and Shakers | 31 October 2016
Keep track of developments in the European institutions and public affairs with our movers and shakers column.
Today's Movers & Shakers are about: plenary highlights, European Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva's resignation, the latest appointments in the Commission and in public affairs, Brexit and more.
Richard HOWITT (S&D, UK) was given a standing ovation after an emotional speech on his last day as an MEP. HOWITT, who served as an MEP for 22 years, thanked his colleagues for their friendship and cooperation and said that “if my country makes a historic mistake of leaving the EU, I look forward to the day that it will return”. Earlier this week his report on the re-opening of the EU-Iran relations passed with 457 to 174 votes. Alex MAYER will replace him in the Parliament.
Matthias GROOTE (S&D, DE) also attended his last plenary session as an MEP, before taking his new role as Landrat for Leer, north-western Lower Saxony.
Ivica TOLIĆ and Željana ZOVKO (EPP, HR) joined the parliament, replacing Andrej PLENKOVIĆ, who became the new Prime Minister of Croatia and Davor Ivo STIER respectively who was appointed as Minister for Foreign Affairs in the new cabinet.
EFDD: Steven WOOLFE (UK) left the group after being allegedly punched by fellow MEP Mike HOOKEM (EFDD, UK) and is now sitting as an Independent MEP. Read more. President SCHULZ has referred the altercation to the French authorities, following the recommendation of the advisory committee on code of conduct that was in charge of looking at the incident and concluded that the “versions of the facts given by the two members involved diverged substantially and that the events seem to have taken place in the absence of direct witnesses”. Read more.
Following the defection of Steven WOOLFE, the latest seat breakdown of the Parliament is as follows:
Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI): Miriam DALLI (MT) was elected as the new S&D co-ordinator, replacing Matthias GROOTE who chaired the last meeting of the S&D ENVI working group before leaving the Parliament.
Catherine STIHLER (UK) was nominated as the S&D draftsperson of the IMCO Committee opinion on the copyright in the digital single market.
Sylvie GUILLAUME (S&D, FR) and Danuta HÜBNER (EPP, PL) were appointed as the Parliament’s negotiators on the inter-institutional agreement on the Transparency Register.
Daniel CASPARY (EPP, DE) was re-elected as Parliamentary Secretary of the CDU/CSU Delegation.
Martin SCHULZ (S&D, DE) is known to want to stay on as Parliament President until the end of the current legislature. However, in order to do so he needs the support of the EPP group, the biggest grouping in the assembly, which is thought to favour a candidate from their group. Read more.
Sarah BLAU became Deputy Head of the Cabinet replacing Sonia WOLLNY. Ms BLAU moved from the Parliament’s Secretariat where she was Head of Unit ‘Conciliations and Co-Decision’.
Julien CRAMPES replaced Arnoldas PRANCKEVIČIUS as Adviser for External Relations, focusing on Eastern Europe.
United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP): Paul NATTALL (EFDD) announced his candidacy for the leadership of the party, while Bill ETHERIDGE quit the race. Read a recent Parliament Magazine interview with NUTTALL, in which he discussed his hopes for the UK post-Brexit.
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2017 Budget: On 25 October, the Plenary discussed the Parliament’s position on the 2017 budget, with input from the Commission and the Council. Read more. Many MEPs stressed the need to reinstate the cuts proposed by the Council in its position, pointing to the need to reinforce core priorities such as jobs and growth and addressing the refugee and migration crisis. Read more.
Commission Work Programme 2017: First Vice-President of the Commission, Frans TIMMERMANS presented the 2017 Work Programme to the members of the European Parliament. The Programme, which outlines the Commission’s new initiatives and priorities for the year ahead, is comprised of 21 new key initiatives and 34 priority proposals on which work has already started. All the initiatives are based on the ten core priorities of the Commission’s mandate which include a focus on job creation, economic growth, the Digital Single Market, an Energy Union, climate change policy, a deeper internal market and a new migration policy. Read more.
Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF): The mid-term revision of the MFF was discussed during the plenary. MEPs generally stressed the need to provide more funding for key political priorities. The Parliament adopted a resolution on the same topic with 446 votes in favour, 181 against and 60 abstentions.
Sakharov Prize: Yazidi survivors and public advocates Nadia MURAD and Lamiya AJI BASHAR are the winners of this year’s prize for freedom of thought. The award ceremony will be held on 14 December in Strasbourg.
Freedom of expression in Turkey: MEPs have urged the Turkish authorities to release journalists being held without "compelling evidence of criminal activity." The demand came in a resolution voted on Thursday in Strasbourg. Read more.
Jean-Marie LE PEN (NI, FR): Parliament voted to lift the parliamentary immunity of the MEP, following a request from the French prosecutors over inciting racial hatred.
The ALDE Party Congress will be held on 1-3 December in Warsaw when it will elect its new Bureau. Among the candidates are MEPs Angelika MLINAR (AT) and Urmas PAET (EE).
Members of Committees, Subcommittees and the Delegations:
Dubravka ŠUICA (EPP, HR) joined the Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET).
Tibor SZANYI (S&D, HU) switched from substitute to member of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI).
Paul BRANNEN (S&D, UK) switched from substitute to member of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI).
Igor ŠOLTES (Greens/EFA, SI) switched from substitute to member of the Delegation to the EU-Albania Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee (D-AL).
Florent MARCELLESI (Greens/EFA, ES) joined the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI), the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM), the Delegation for relations with the Maghreb countries and the Arab Maghreb Union (D-MAG) and the Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean (D-MED).
Raymond FINCH (EFDD, UK) joined the Committee on Development (DEVE).
Substitutes of Committees, Subcommittees and the Delegations:
Tibor SZANYI (S&D, HU) switched from member to substitute of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI).
Paul BRANNEN (S&D, UK) switched from member to substitute of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI).
Filiz HYUSMENOVA (ALDE, BU) left the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM).
Sven GIEGOLD (Greens/EFA, DE) switched from member to substitute of the Delegation to the EU-Albania Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee (D-AL).
Kristalina GEORGIEVA (BU) resigned as Commissioner on Friday 28 October to take on a new role as Chief Executive Officer at the World Bank in the beginning of January 2017. She will remain at her post till the end of December. Commissioner for digital economy Günther OETTINGER (DE) will take over GEORGIEVA’s portfolio.
Cabinet of Corina CRETU: Walter DEFFAA, former Director-General of DG Regional and Urban Policy (REGIO), was enlisted as a Special Adviser for specific regional and urban issues. He was appointed from 13 October.
Cabinet of Jyrki KATAINEN: Filomena CHIRICO joined the cabinet as member, replacing Marika LAUTSO-MOUSNIER temporarily. Antti TIMONEN replaced Aura SALLA as member and Communication Adviser.
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Cabinet of Valdis DOMBROVSKIS: an independent advisory board on fiscal matters was established following last year’s ‘Five Presidents’ Report’ on Europe’s EMU. The European Fiscal Board will assess the implementation of EU fiscal rules and advise the Commission on a suitable fiscal position for the euro area, and its relationship with member states. The Board members are appointed as Special Advisers and as such are supported by a secretariat. They are, however, fully independent and are not employees of the Commission. The Board came into effect on 20 October. The members are:
Niels THYGESEN (Chair)
Cabinet of Johannes HAHN: Dr Franz SCHAUSBERGER joined the cabinet as Special Adviser for EU Enlargement Policy and EU Neighbourhood Policy. He is also a member of the Committee of the Regions for Austria.
Cabinet of Carlos MOEDAS: José SILVA PENEDA joined the cabinet on 13 October to become Special Adviser for Research and Innovation policies. Mr SILVA PENEDA is a former MEP and MP in his native Portugal.
Human Resources and Security (HR):
Richard SONNENSCHEIN was appointed as a Principle Security Adviser as of 1 November. He will oversee the Commission’s response to crisis situations and the associated communication. Mr SONNENSCEIN is currently Head of Unit, ‘Operations’, in the Security Directorate of DG HR.
Mobility and Transport (MOVE):
Directorate A – Policy Coordination: the Directorate was reorganised to include a new unit, ‘International Relations’, with Director Per HAUGAARD as its acting Head.
The security units were merged to create a new unit, ‘Security’, with Carlos MESTRE ZAMARRENO as Head of Unit.
Directorate B – Investment, Innovative and Sustainable Transport (was European Mobility Network): Adviser Pawel STELMASZCYK left the Directorate. A new unit was added, ‘Innovation and Research’, headed by Robert MISSEN who moved from Directorate A where he was in charge of ‘Land and Maritime Security’.
Two more units moved in to the Directorate. Clare DEPRE is Head of Unit, ‘Sustainable and Intelligent Transport’, which moved from Directorate C. Unit ‘Social Aspects and Passenger Rights’ moved from Directorate D to B with Jean-Louis COLSON as its Head.
Directorate C – Land (was Innovative and Sustainable Mobility): Deputy Director-General Matthew BALDWIN became acting Director. Unit ‘Road Transport’ moved from Directorate D to C and unit ‘Single European Rail Area’ moved from A to C. Keir FITCH became Head of a new unit, ‘Rail Safety and Interoperability’.
Directorate D – Waterborne (was Logistics, Maritime and Land Transport, and Passenger Rights): Magda KOPCZYNSKA became Director, moving from C to D. The previous Director, Fotis KARAMITOS, moved out of the Directorate to become Principle Adviser to the Director-General. Daniela ROSCA became Head of a new unit ‘Ports and Inland Navigation’, moving from Directorate C. Directorate E – Aviation (was Aviation and International Transport Affairs): Filip CORNELIS moved from ‘Aviation Safety’ to a new unit ‘Aviation Policy’. Joachim LUECKING joined the Directorate to become Head of Unit, ‘Aviation Safety’.
Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs: Mirna TALKO became Press Officer replacing Maria SARANTOPOULOU who was acting in the role.
Burundi: Wolfram VETTER became Head of Delegation replacing Patrick SPIRLET. Mr VETTER presented his Letter of Credentials to Burundi’s President Pierre NKURUNZIZA on 20 October.
Sweden: Ambassador Anders AHNLID is leaving his post as Permanent Representative.
European Investment Bank (EIB):
Board of Directors: Silvija BELAJEC was appointed as an Alternate Member representing Croatia, as of 18 October. Ms BELAJEC is Head of Sector for International Financial Relations at the Croatian Finance Ministry. Her term in office will expire in 2018.
Bloomberg: Nikos CHRYSOLORAS was appointed as Bureau Chief in the Brussels office.
European Aluminium: Kjetil EBBESBERG, Executive Vice President of Rolled Products and Roberta NIBOLI, CEO of Raffetal were appointed Chair and Vice-Chair respectively for 2017-2018, during the General Assembly of the organisation that took place in Antwerp, Belgium.
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PU Europe: Richard BURNLEY, Managing Director at Kingspan Insulation Britain & Ireland was elected as the new President for 2017-2018. BURNLEY who will replace Kay HENNEKENS, will be supported in his new role by Diane DAEMS and Hervé FELLMANN, acting as Vice-Presidents.
News in a nutshell:
Brexit: Former Justice Secretary and prominent Brexit campaigner Michael GOVE will join the Exiting the European Union Select Committee as a member. Read more. The International Trade Secretary Liam FOX told MPs it would be “in the interests of all concerned” to get a trade deal done quickly. His remarks follow concerns over the way the parliament in the Belgian region of Wallonia refused to sign off the CETA agreement with Canada, which has already been seven years in the making. Read more.
CETA: Belgian regions reached an agreement in the EU-Canada trade deal, breaking the deadlock that had blocked the pact for weeks. Read more. ECR group Chair Syed KAMALL has said that "lessons must be learned". Read more.
Spain: Mariano RAJOY won a vote of confidence on Saturday 29 October, after the Socialists agreed to abstain. He was sworn in as Prime Minister for a second term on Monday 31 October, ending the ten-month political deadlock.