Movers and Shakers | 8 March 2019

Written by Dods People EU on 8 March 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: Three Estonian MEPs have been elected to their national parliament, Government formation talks in Estonia have got off to a rocky start, Finnish Government resigns 5 weeks before scheduled elections, the European Free Alliance announce their Spitzenkandidat, the third largest delegation in the European Parliament have elected a new party leader, the latest appointments in the European Commission and public affairs, Brexit and more!

European Parliament

Several Estonian MEPs were elected to the Estonian Parliament at Sunday’s general elections. They are Urmas PAET (Reform Party/ALDE), Yana TOOM (Centre Party/ALDE) and Ivari PADAR (Social Democratic Party/S&D). Of these MEPs, TOOM indicated that she planned to seek re-election to the European Parliament in May, while PAET and PADAR have not made their intentions clear yet.

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European Party Groups

After seven European People’s Party (EPP) member parties called for a meeting to consider the future membership of Fidesz a political assembly will meet on the 20 March to determine whether it should be expelled.

European Elections

In a symbolic move The European Free Alliance (EFA) have selected Oriol JUNQUERAS of the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) as their Spitzenkandidat for the European Elections. The former Vice President of Catalonia is currently on trial for rebellion and misuse of public funds for his role in the Catalan independence referendum of 2017 and faces a lengthy prison sentence if found guilty.

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European Commission


Budget (DG BUDG)
Nicole SMITH has been appointed Director of Directorate C (Budget execution (General Budget and EDF), replacing former Acting Director Maria Rosa ALDEA BUSQUETS.

Communication (DG COMM)
Sixtine BOUYGUES is the new Acting Director General as former Director General Timo PESONEN departs.

Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN)
Julia LENDVAI is the new Head of Unit F4 (Finland, Hungary, Slovenia), replacing Acting Head of Unit Dino PINELLI.

Energy (DG ENER)
Paul HODSON has left the position of Head of Unit C3 (Energy Efficiency), with Claudia CANEVARI currently serving as Acting unit head.
Zuzana PETROVICOVA is the new Head of Unit D2 (Nuclear energy, nuclear waste and decommissioning), having previously served as Acting Head of Unit.

Human Resources and Security (DG HR)
Karen WILLIAMS is the new Director of IDOC (Investigation and Disciplinary Office), replacing former Acting Director Luminiţa NICOLAIE.
Yves PATERNOSTER is the new Head of Unit AMC.6 (serving DGT, ESTAT, OIL, OP), replacing Acting Head of Unit Benoît VERMEERSCH.

Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW)
Timo PESONEN was appointed as the new Director General, replacing Lowri EVANS.
Kamil KILJANSKI has left the position of Head of Unit 01 (Economic Analysis: Chief Economist), with Josefa MONTEAGUDO PUJALTE now serving as Acting Head of Unit.
KILJANSKI moves to become Head of Unit I3 (Space Data for Societal Challenges and Growth), filling a vacant position.

Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE)
Véronique ANGOT has been appointed Acting Head of Unit C4 (Data Management), replacing Head of Unit Ben KLOPPENBORG.

Migration and Home Affairs (DG HOME)
Davinia WOOD has been appointed as Head of Unit A3 (International Coordination), replacing former Acting Head Silvena PESTA.

Secretariat-General (DG SG)
Diego DE OJEDA GARCIA-PARDO has been appointed Head of Unit H2 (Coordination of Foreign, Security and Defence Policy Implementation (incl. Political and Security Committee)), filling a vacant position.

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European External Action Service


There has been a minor reshuffle of the section of the secretariat under Deputy Secretary General Pedro SERRANO. The “EU Intelligence and situation centre” under Director Gerhard CONRAD now reports to the Secretary General directly; and there have been some shuffling of Units between directorates. A new Managing Director for “CSDP and crisis response” position has been created, but it is currently vacant.

The Sanctions Policy Division (AFFGEN.6) has moved from being under Director Pawel HERCZYŃSKI to being under Director Silvio GONZATO. The Head of Division is still David GEER. Additionally, a new Space task force has been created, although its Head has not yet been appointed.

Francesco CALEPRICO has been appointed Head of Division HR.3 (Rights, Obligations and Medical Cell), having previously been Acting Head.

Court of Justice of the European Union

European Court of Justice (ECJ)

Andreas KUMIN (AT) has been appointed as a judge, replacing Maria BERGER. His term begins immediately and will last until 6 October 2024.

European General Court (EGC)

Tuula PYNNÄ (FI) has been appointed as a judge for a three-year term beginning on 1 September 2019.

Ramona FRENDO (MT) has been appointed as a judge, replacing Peter XUEREB who became a judge on the European Court of Justice last October. FRENDO’s will take over the for the rest of XUEREB’s term which will end on 31 August 2019.

Committee of the Regions

Markus ACHLEITNER (EPP) has joined as a member, replacing Michael STRUGL.


Ivan GULAM (ALDE) and Goran PAUK (EPP) have joined as members, replacing Predrag ŠTROMAR (ALDE) and Snježana BUŽINEC (PES) respectively.
Antonija JOZIĆ (EPP), Darko KOREN (NI), Anteo MILOŠ (ALDE) and Matija POSAVEC (ALDE) have joined as alternates, replacing Josipa RIMAC (EPP), Ivan VUČIĆ (EPP), Viviana BENUSSI (ALDE) and Tulio DEMETLIKA (ALDE) respectively.

József KÓBOR (EA) has joined as a member, replacing László Lóránt KERESZTES (ECR).
Nándor SKUCZI (EPP) has joined as an alternate, replacing Sándor KOVÁCS.

Pierluigi MARQUIS (EA) has joined as a member, replacing Nicoletta SPELGATTI (ECR).

Pehr GRANFALK (EPP) has joined as a member, replacing Paul LINDQUIST.
Suzanne FRANK (EPP) and Caroline HOFFSTEDT (PES) have joined as alternates, replacing Carl Fredrik GRAF and Erik PELLING respectively.

Public Affairs

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Gaz Réseau Distribution France (GRDF)
Jean-Marie GAUTHEY has been appointed as the new Head of European Affairs, replacing Guillaume VIRMAUX.

Toy Industries of Europe (TIE)
Sanjay LUTHRA has been appointed as the new Chair, replacing Foye PASCOE.

National News

The government announced £1.6 billion in additional funding for less well-off regions of England, as part of a plan to try and get Labour MPs from leave-voting communities to vote in favour of the government’s Withdrawal Agreement.

Negotiations between the UK and the European Union to secure changes to the Irish backstop seem to have resulted in no significant changes.

The second Meaningful Vote on Prime Minister Theresa MAY’s withdrawal agreement will take place next Tuesday. If the government lose that vote, then votes on whether parliament supports leaving without a deal and on whether the government should request an extension to Article 50 will follow the following two days.

The Reform Party (ALDE), led by former MEP Kaja KALLAS, won the most seats in the Estonian General election getting 28.8% of the vote and 34 of the 101 seats in Parliament while the Centre Party (ALDE) of Prime Minister Jüri RATAS finished in second. The nationalist Conservative People’s Party doubled its share of the vote, while both current junior coalition partners in the current government, Pro Patria (EPP) and the Social Democratic Party (PES), fell in both votes and seats resulting in the incumbent government losing its majority.

The Reform Party board unanimously voted on Wednesday to approve coalition negotiations with the Centre Party. However, on Friday morning the Centre Party announced they were rejecting the proposal asserting the conditions set by the Reform Party amounted to an ultimatum. Both parties have already rejected open negotiations with the third placed Conservative People’s Party.

The coalition government led by the Centre Party (ALDE) has resigned after failing to reform the country’s healthcare system. It will continue in a caretaker capacity until the scheduled parliament elections take on 14 April.

Nicola ZINGARETTI, President of the Lazio region, has been elected leader of the Democratic Party (PES) after winning almost two-thirds of the vote in an open primary. The Democratic Party currently have the third largest delegation in the European Parliament, and led a governing coalition until March 2018, but have slipped to third place in recent Italian opinion polls.


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