Movers and Shakers | 5 April 2019

Written by Dods People EU on 5 April 2019 in News

Keep track of developments in the European institutions and public affairs with our movers and shakers column.

Today’s Movers & Shakers are about: Former minister for defence is new Estonian MEP, mini-plenary highlights, top level changes at the European Commission, the European Court of Human Rights' new president has been elected, Slovakia elects its first female president, Brexit and more!


European Parliament

Ivari PADAR (S&D, EE) has left the European Parliament as he has been successfully elected to the Riigikogu, the unicameral parliament in Estonia. He is replaced by Hannes HANSO (S&D, EE), former Estonian minister for defence, until the end of the tenure of the current Parliament in May.

Mini plenary highlights
MEPs backed on Thursday, 502 votes to 81 and 29 abstentions, a draft law exempting UK citizens from visa requirements to enter the EU for short visits after the country leaves the European Union, a legislation which will apply from the day following the UK’s withdrawal. While the EU will grant the visa waiver to UK citizens unilaterally, it is on the basis of reciprocity meaning that it only comes into effect if EU nationals are also given visa-free access for short visits to the UK.

On the same day, the Parliament adopted new rules on paternity leave and non-transferable parental leave. The law sets minimum requirements for all member states including minimum of ten working days paternity leave paid at the level of sick pay, two months of non-transferable paid parental leave and five days of annual carers’ leave.

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European Elections

Nicolas BARNIER, the son of Chief Brexit negotiator Michel BARNIER, is running to stand as a MEP for Belgium’s liberal Reformist Movement (ALDE). In an interview with Le Soir, the young BARNIER, suggested that he had the backing of French President Emmanuel MACRON’s En Marche.

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European Commission


Budget (DG BUDG)
Anna JAROSZ-FRIIS has been appointed Head of Unit 03 (Strategic Coordination & Communication), replacing former Acting Head of Unit Catherine STOLZ-CORNUEL.

Vincenzo CURIALE has left the position of Head of Unit C1 (Treasury Management), being replaced by Nicole SMITH.

CURLALE moves to become Head of Unit R1 (Corporate Financial and Accounting Systems), replacing Hans GEVAERT.

Informatics (DG DIGIT)
Margarita RODRIGUEZ GARAGORRI has become Head of Unit C1 (Cloud & Service Management Capabilities), replacing Acting Head of Unit Thomas MICHLMAYR.

Education, Youth, Sport and Culture (EG EAC)
Roberto CARLINI has been appointed Director of EACEA, replacing Acting Director Milvia VAN RIJ-BRIZZI.

Michael MAGNIER is the new Head of Unit 01 (Cross-Sectoral Cooperation ET2020 and FP9) replacing Tamas SZUCS. SZUCS replaces MAGNIER as Director of Directorate D (Culture and Creativity).

Francesca PAGOSSIN has left the position of Head of Unit A3 (Stakeholder Engagement and Programme Impact), being replaced by new Acting Head of Unit Stefaan HERMANS.

Claire MOREL has been appointed Head of Unit C2 (Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions), replacing Acting Head of Unit Bodo RICHTER. She is no longer Head of Unit C3 (International Cooperation), being replaced by Acting Head of Unit Graham WILKIE.

Energy (DG ENER)
Agnieszka KAZMIERCZAK has been appointed Director-General of EURATOM, replacing former Acting Director-General Stefano CICCARELLO.

KAZMIERCZAK is replaced in her former position as Director of the Shared Resource Directorate (MOVE/ENER) by Acting Director Anne MONTAGNON.

Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union (DG FISMA)
Nathalie BERGER has been appointed Head of Unit D1 (Bank regulation and supervision), replacing former Acting Unit Head Sebastijan HROVATIN.

BERGER therefore leaves the position of Head of Unit D4 (Insurance and pensions), being replaced by Didier MILLEROT.

MILLEROT departs from the post of Head of Unit D2 (Bank and financial conglomerates) with Mattias LEVIN becoming Acting Head of Unit.

Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW)
Antti PELTOMÄKI has left the position of Deputy Director General 1 (responsible for Directorates B, C, D and F), with the position currently being vacant.

Human Resources and Security (DG HR)
Laure LEDOUX has been appointed Head of Unit A4 (Internal Communication), replacing Acting Head of Unit Norman JARDINE.

Research and Innovation (DG RDT)
Filomena CHIRICO is the new Head of Unit A5 (Better Regulation and Innovation Principle) replacing Acting Head of Unit Edyta ZIOMEK.

Apostolia KARAMALI has become Head of Unit B7 (Academic R&I) replacing former Acting Head of Unit Philippe MARTIN.

Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE)
Matthew HUDSON has been appointed Acting Director of Directorate D (Food chain; stakeholder and international relations), filling a vacant post.

Hans GEVAERT has been appointed Head of Unit A4 (Information systems), filling a vacant post.

Spokesperson Service
There has been a reshuffle of the responsibilities of spokespeople and press officers.

Tove ERNST has been appointed as a new Spokesperson, covering the areas of migration, home affairs and citizenship, and security union.

Vanessa MOCK has become Spokesperson for the areas of Banking and Financial Services; and Taxation and Customs.

Guillaume MERCIER is the new Press Officer covering Banking and Financial Services and Capital Markets Union.

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Permanent Representations

Liz THIELEN is no longer spokesperson as she leaves to join Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier BETTEL’s Cabinet as his press attaché.

European Court of Human Rights

Judge Linos-Alexandre SICILIANOS has been elected as President. He will succeed Guido RAIMONDI whose term ends on 4 May. It is the first time in the sixty-year history of the European institution that a Greek judge is elected in the position.

Public Affairs

Acumen Public Affairs
Nikos MANARAS has been promoted to the role of Associate Director. Manaras previously held the role of Account Director. For a full list of new appointments at Acumen Public Affairs, see here.

MEP Markus FERBER (EPP, DE) will become the new Chair, replacing Ursula MÄNNLE. Vice Chair is to be Susanne BREIT-KEßLER.

International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA)
Mark FORD has been promoted to Technical Director of the global organization. He replaces Richard BENZIE.

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National News

On Monday Parliament voted to hold another series of indicative votes, and yet again rejected all options available with the Customs Union proposal of Ken CLARKE failing by 3 votes, and a second referendum proposal by 12 votes. A proposal to hold more indicative votes next week failed after a tied division, with Commons Speaker John BERCOW breaking the tie by voting against as per Commons tradition.

On Wednesday the House of Commons passed the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 5) Bill introduced by Yvette COOPER through a fast-tracked process. This bill requires the Prime Minister to name a firm date to which an extension of Article 50 can be made, gives Parliament the right to amend that date, plus if a different date is offered by the European Council, gives Parliament the right to accept that date against the will of the Prime Minister. The House of Lords initially planned to pass the Bill in a similar fast-track process but after filibusters from post-Brexit MPs, a compromise between opposition Lords and the government led to an agreement that a second day of debate next Monday should also be held.

Following the passing of the Bill through the Commons, Prime Minister Theresa MAY announced her intention to hold a series of cross-party talks with the Labour Party in order to seek a potential Brexit compromise. No substantive agreement has been reached as of yet, with plans that discussions continue into next week.

European Council President Donald TUSK has called for a Special European Council for 10 April. This would consider any possible extension to the Article 50 process. TUSK has stated he prefers a “flexible extension”, one that entails setting a longer-term exit date while allowing the United Kingdom to leave earlier if a withdrawal agreement is agreed. Theresa MAY has publicly requested an extension to 30 June and concedes that the UK may need to participate in the European Elections.

The Independent Group of MPs has announced that it has applied to register as a political party under the name ‘Change UK – The Independent Group’, with Heidi ALLEN chosen as the party’s interim leader. They plan to register with the Electoral Commission in time to contest the European Parliament Elections, if a long Article 50 extension requires that they be held.

The Riigikogu met for the first time on Thursday to elect their new Board. Enn PÕLLUAAS of the Conservative People’s Party was elected President of Parliament by 55-45; with the three parties negotiating to form a government – the Centre Party, Conservative People’s Party, and Pro Patria voting for PÕLLUAAS.

Coalition negotiations remain ongoing, with a joint statement being published by the three parties on Monday declaring their intention to form a government with each other. Long time Center Party member Raimond KALJULAID announced his resignation from the party at protest of the proposed coalition and his intention to run as an Independent in the European elections; after resigning from the board of the party earlier this year.

Emmanuel MACRON has named three new ministers to replace officials who left his team last week. Amélie DE MONTCHALIN will succeed Nathalie LOISEAU as Europe Minister although the position has been downgraded to the ranking of junior minister. Sibeth NDIAY has been appointed as government spokesperson and Cédric O will fill the role of secretary of state for digital affairs.

Kestutis MAŽEIKA was appointed as Minister for the Environment on Wednesday, replacing Acting Minister Žygimantas VAIČIŪNAS. This makes Lithuania the only country in the European Union to have an all-male cabinet.

A Romanian court removed restrictive measures against Laura Codruţa KÖVESI, one of the top contenders for the post of the Chief European Prosecutor, meaning that she can travel outside the country again. The decision was made public hours after the Commission issued a strong warning about Romania, which currently holds the EU presidency, saying that it was ready to react to any further deterioration of the rule of law.

Zuzana ČAPUTOVÁ has become the first female president of Slovakia, winning 58.4% of the vote in Saturday’s runoff against European Commission Vice President Maroš ŠEFČOVIČ. ŠEFČOVIČ, who has now returned to his European Commission role.

Departing Slovak President Andrej KISKA has announced his intention to form a new political party after he officially leaves the Presidency in the middle of June. Several prominent national figures are rumored to become members of this new group, including former Prime Minister Iveta RADIČOVÁ.

Aleš ŠABEDER has been appointed as Minister for Health, replacing the departed Samo FAKIN.

Simon ZAJC has been appointed Minister for the Environment and Spatial Planning replacing Jure LEBEN.


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