Movers and Shakers | 8 May 2017
Keep track of developments in the European institutions and public affairs with our movers and shakers column.
Today's Movers & Shakers are about: the MEPs who are running in national elections, latest appointments in the Commission and public affairs, the new Bulgarian government, the new French President, the political developments in Croatia and Czech Republic, Brexit and more.
Composition of the committees and delegations:
Lara COMI (EPP, IT) joined the Delegation to the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (D-LAT).
Theresa GRIFFIN (S&D, UK) announced that she is standing to become the Labour’s candidate in Liverpool Walton in the general elections.
Get to know:
Neena GILL (S&D, UK) in 5 questions.
Face of the week:
Eva KAILI (S&D, EL) talked to the Parliament Magazine about the the importance of investing in science and research, why Brexit should exclude scientific cooperation, why she doesn't want online platforms to censor fake news, and more. Read the full interview.
Ms KAILI has been an MEP since 2014 and is chair of the NATO delegation and Parliament's STOA scientific panel.
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European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF):
Unit reporting to Director-General: Ludo BEDEER became acting Head of Unit, ‘Budget and HR Business Correspondent’, replacing Eddy WEYNS.
Directorate A – Investigations I: Marco PECORARO became Head of Unit, ‘External Aid’, replacing Vasil KIROV who was acting in the role. Mr PECORARO was previous an Advisor in Directorate C.
Directorate B – Investigations II: Ernesto BIANCHI became acting Head of Unit, ‘Customs and Trade Fraud’, replacing Harald SONNBERGER.
Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union (FISMA):
Directorate C – Financial Markets: Patrick PEARSON became Head of Unit, ‘Financial markets Infrastructure’, replacing Jennifer Robertson who was acting in the role and returns to her position as deputy head. Mr PEARSON was previously head of the ‘Resolution and crisis management’ unit in Directorate E. Emiliano TORNESE became acting head in that role.
Directorate A – Energy Policy: Anne-Charlotte BOURNOVILLE became Head of Unit, ‘International relations and enlargement’, replacing Hans VAN STEEN who was acting. Prior to this appointment, Ms BOURNOVILLE was an Assistant to the Director-General.
Migration and Homes Affairs (HOME):
Directorate B – Migration, Mobility and Innovation: Matthias OEL moved in to the Directorate to become Director, replacing Belinda PYKE. Mr OEL was previously Director of 'Migration and Security Funds', which now has in place Simon MORDUE as acting Director.
European Political Strategy Centre: Mihnea MOTOC was appointed as Deputy Head, with a particular focus on the Commission’s European Security and Defence priorities, as of 16 May 2017. Previously, Mr MOTOC was Romania’s Minister of National Defence. He will advise President JUNCKER and Commissioners with relevant portfolios.
Netherlands: Robert de GROOT became the new Dutch Permanent Representative to the EU, succeeding Peter de GOOIJER. Ambassador de GROOT was previously Director General for European cooperation at the ministry for foreign affairs in The Hague, a position he was holding from 2011 to 2016.
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Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA): Andreas CHRYSOSTOMOU was appointed as the new Vice-President public and government affairs for Europe. In his new role, he will be focusing on legislative and public affairs, liaison with the EU institutions and agencies and he will responsible for developing a strategic advocacy strategy.
European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA): Patrick VERHOEVEN will leave his position as Secretary-General on 1 September to take on a new role as Managing Director policy and strategy at the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH).
News in a nutshell:
Brexit: A row has erupted over Theresa MAY and Jean-Claude JUNCKER’s meeting last week, after JUNCKER allegedly said ‘I leave Downing Street ten times as skeptical as I was before’. Meantime, Theresa MAY has warned JUNCKER that she will be ‘bloody difficult’ in the Brexit negotiations.
Parliament’s chief negotiator Guy VERHOFSTAT (ALDE, BE) tweeted that ‘any Brexit deal requires a strong and stable understanding of the complex issues involved. The clock is ticking – it’s time to get real’. While addressing Parliament’s AFCO committee, he said the recent build-up tension between Brussels and London did not come as a surprise to him. Read more.
The European Commission published its draft negotiating directives on 3 May. In a press conference, chief negotiator Michel BARNIER repeated the EU’s priorities for the first phase of the negotiations only. Regarding Ireland, he said he is due to visit this week and will be paying close attention to the country’s situation. As for the financial settlement, he stressed out that it should be not considered as a punishment but as financial accounts, while also warning of explosive consequences if no deal is reached on the Brexit bill. The divorce bill was in the spotlight this week after media claims that it could rise from €60bn to €100bn. BARNIER, who put transparency at the heart of the negotiations procedure said the EU27 is on track and ready to negotiate as soon as UK is ready to come to the table.
On 3 May, the British Prime Minister visited the Queen to mark the dissolution of the parliament ahead of the general elections on 8 June. In her speech at Downing Street MAY, in an extraordinary move accused EU officials of trying to influence the general elections result. EU Parliament President Antonio TAJANI hit back, denying the accusations. British politicians also condemned MAY’s tactic.
House of European History: The long-awaiting museum opened its doors to the public on Thursday 4 May. Speaking at a news conference ahead of the official opening, President of the European Parliament Antonio TAJANI (EPP, IT) hit back at criticism of the cost and delays that have blighted the cultural showpiece. Read more.
Bulgaria: A new coalition government between GERB and the United Patriots took office on 4 May. R Read more about the composition of the new government.
Croatia: Finance minister Zdravko MARIC survived the vote of confidence held on 4 May. The ruling party of prime minister Andrej PLENKOVIC named its MP Gordan JANDROKOVIC as the new speaker of the parliament, ensuring its majority and avoiding snap elections, even though its junior coalition partner, Bridge of Independent Lists pulled its support last week.
Czech Republic: On 2 May Prime Minister Bohuslav SOBOTKA announced his and his government’s resignation following a row with the finance minister Andrej BABIS over conflict of interest. He was initially planning to tender his resignation to President Milos ZEMAN on 4 May, but then he decided not to. Instead he announced that he would suggest the dismissal of BABIS. The next steps are still unclear, as well as whether snap elections will be called, less than six months before they were due.
France: Emmanuel MACRON was elected as the new President after winning 66.1% of the votes, defeating Marine LE PEN. The new president will be sworn in on 14 May. The first round of the legislative elections will take place on 11 June and the runoff on 18 June. President Antonio TAJANI invited MACRON to address the European Parliament’s plenary session. Read more.