Movers and Shakers | 8 January 2019
Keep track of developments in the European institutions and public affairs with our movers and shakers column.
Today’s Movers & Shakers are about: French parties gear up for the EU Elections, Latest appointments in the European Commission and public affairs, A new government in Latvia is imminent, Brexit and more...
MEPs return to Brussels this week for committee and political group meetings.
Jakob von WEIZSÄCKER (S&D, DE) has left the European Parliament to take up his new position as the Chief Economist at the German Ministry of Finance. Babette WINTER will be his replacement.
Krišjānis KARIŅŠ (EPP, LV) has been nominated as the new Prime Minister of Latvia.
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France Arise (Debout la France) has aligned with the ECR group ahead of the European Elections. Currently the party’s only MEP Bernard MONOT sits with EFDD group in the European Parliament.
The Patriots (EFDD) leader Florian PHILIPPOT is seeking to register Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Jackets) as a trademark for the European Elections as he tries to position his party as the political voice of the protest movement.
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European Statistical Office (EUROSTAT):
Claudia JUNKER has been appointed to head a new Task Force on Peer Reviews and Quality.
Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO)
Jonathan DENNESS is the new Head of Unit B3 (Financial Instruments and International Financial Institutions Relations), replacing Acting Head of Unit Axel BADRICHANI.
DENNESS therefore departs as Head of Unit F1 (Closure and Major Projects) and is replaced by Deša Srsen.
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Emilio BRAGHI has been appointed Chairman for a two-year term starting on 1 January 2019, replacing Kjetil EBBESBERG. In addition, Peter BASTEN is the association’s new Treasurer and Roberta NIBOLI will continue as Vice-chair.
News in a nutshell
As MPs return to Westminster this week the vote on the Withdrawal Agreement, due to take place on 15 January, looms large. There is little indication the Government will gain enough support for the deal and former Brexit Secretary David DAVIS has urged Prime Minister Theresa MAY to delay the vote again to try and extract more concessions from the EU.
The Transport Secretary Chris GRAYLING is under fire as his department awarded a £14 million contract for additional ferry capacity in the event of a no-deal Brexit to Seaborne Freight. The recently formed company is yet to run any ferry services and concerns have been raised about its unprofessional website.
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It was agreed that the current Government led by Prime Minister Charles MICHEL will continue in a caretaker capacity until the scheduled Federal Election on 26 May.
As the Council of the European Union Presidency Trio involving Bulgaria is now completed, Parliament voted to disband the Ministry created to coordinate their Presidency. This ministerial role held by Lilyana PAVLOVA was abolished on 1 January.
Prime Minister Alexis TSIPRAS has rejected suggestions that the next Legislative Election will be brought forward to 26 May, to coincide with the European Parliament elections. The next election must take place on or before 20 October.
Parliament approved the new budget agreed with the European Commission, cooling talk of early elections.
Krišjānis KARIŅŠ has been officially nominated as the new Prime Minister. A coalition government led by his Unity party (EPP) with Development/For! (ALDE), the New Conservative Party, the populist KPV LV and the National Alliance (ACRE) is set to take office.
Mindaugas KVIETKAUSKAS has been confirmed as the new Culture Minister, replacing Liana RUOKYTĖ-JONSSON.
Early elections are possible as Prime Minister Pedro SÁNCHEZ will have a tough task to get a new budget approved by Parliament this month. Even if he is successful, holding a General Election to coincide with the European Parliament elections on 26 May is being considered by SÁNCHEZ.
Speaker Andreas NORLÉN has scheduled Parliamentary votes on the new Prime Minister on 16 and 23 January in an attempt to break the political deadlock. There is currently no designated nominee for the position and fresh elections will be trigged if both votes are unsuccessful.