Movers and Shakers | 8 May 2018
Keep track of developments in the European institutions and public affairs with our movers and shakers column.
Today's Movers & Shakers are about: news from the MEPs and mini plenary session's highlights, latest appointments in the European Commission and public affairs, ministerial appointments in Denmark and Estonia, Brexit and more.
Composition of the Parliament:
Jan Philipp ALBRECHT (Greens/EFA, DE) gave his resignation notice, effective 3 July.
S&D group: Fabrizia PANZETTI was appointed as head of cabinet of Udo BULLMANN as of 1 June. She is currently High Representative and European Commission Vice-President Federica MOGHERINI’s head of cabinet.
Composition of the committees and delegations:
Danilo Oscar LANCINI (ENF, IT) joined the committee on international trade (INTA) and the delegation to the ACP-EU joint parliamentary assembly (D-ACP).
Giancarlo SCOTTA' (ENF, IT) joined the committee on civil liberties, justice and home affairs (LIBE) and the delegation for relations with Iraq (D-IQ).
Giancarlo SCOTTA' (ENF, IT) joined the committee on industry, research and energy (ITRE) and the delegation to the EU-Ukraine parliamentary association committee (D-UA).
Danilo Oscar LANCINI (ENF, IT) joined the committee on the environment, public health and food safety (ENVI) and the delegation to the EU-Turkey joint parliamentary committee (D-TR).
Eleftherios SYNADINOS (NA, EL) left Golden Dawn and sits as an independent.
Mini plenary highlights:
Debate on the future of Europe: Belgian Prime Minister Charles MICHEL addressed the chamber on Thursday 3 May. He said that he wants “a strong Europe that acts where it can add added value”, while indicating that security, prosperity and fundamental rights are imperatives in this direction. During the debate, EFDD group leader Nigel FARAGE clashed with Charles MICHEL and Antonio TAJANI after he said that “Belgium is not a nation. It is an artificial creation. The truth is that it comprises two countries and two communities who dislike each other intensely”. MICHEL hit back, joking that FARAGE was in danger of slipping into populism and nationalism, adding that these were not worthy of his party, Ukip. After FARAGE said the EU was only able to garner support from those on its payroll, Parliament President Antonio TAJANI reminded him that he himself is on the EU payroll.
EU post-2020 budget: The Commission published its proposals for the post-2020 EU budget. According to the proposals, €123bn, representing approximately 10 per cent of the total EU budget, will be allocated to external action and 25 per cent will be directed to climate action, which is a five per cent increase compared to the period 2014-2020.
Testing cosmetics on animals: MEPs backed a non-binding resolution calling on the EU leaders to launch an international UN convention and establish a coalition towards a global ban on animal testing for cosmetics and trade in cosmetic ingredients tested on animals.
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Research and Innovation (RTD):
Directorate A – Policy Development and Coordination: Maria OLIVAN AVILES, previously head of unit, inter-institutional relations and internal coordination was appointed head of unit, better regulation, replacing Rosalinde VAN DER VLIES.
Alexander ITALIANER, former Secretary-General started his new role as Hors Classe Adviser.
Structural Reform Support Service: Marlene MADSEN, former deputy head of Jyrki KATAINEN’s cabinet was appointed as head of unit, revenue administration and public financial management, replacing Riccardo ERCOLI, who was acting in the role.
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Catherine DE BOLLE started her mandate as executive director on 1 May, succeeding Rob WAINWRIGHT.
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European Potato Trade Association (Europatat): Gilles FONTAINE was elected as the new President, succeeding Jos MUYSHONDT. Domenico CITTERIO and Heero GRAMSMA were also elected as Vice-President and Treasurer respectively.
News in a nutshell:
Brexit: In a letter to the new UK Home Secretary, Sajid JAVID Parliament’s Brexit Steering Group coordinator Guy VERHOFSTADT (ALDE, BE) raised the MEPs’ concerns about the citizens’ rights, and particularly the vulnerable groups and the online application system to register the 3.5 million EU citizens living in the UK after Brexit, following their meeting with representatives of the UK Home Office last week.
On Monday 30 April, the House of Lords voted by 335 to 244 in favour of an amendment to the EU Bill to give the parliament the power to decide on the next steps if the MPs rejects the deal that will be reached with the EU.
A UK sub-committee on Brexit meeting came to a stalemate on what happens next after the UK leaves the customs union, after the cabinet Brexiteers blocked UK Prime Minister Theresa MAY’s option for a new trade arrangement with the EU.
EU chief negotiator Michel BARNIER visited Northern Ireland, where he met with various stakeholders. He also met the country's two unionist MEPs, Diane DODDS and Jim NICHOLSON in Brussels on 3 May, where they exchanged views. DODDs, an MEP since 2009, said that the backstop solution is unacceptable to Unionists and encouraged the EU to fully participate in finding a pragmatic solution for the border.
Denmark: The cabinet was reshuffled after the resignations of minister for education and research Søren PIND and minister for food and the environment Esben LUNDE LARSEN. Tommy AHLERS and Jakob ELLEMANN JESSEN replaced them respectively. Karen ELLEMANN was replaced by Eva KJER HANSEN as fisheries minister.
Estonia: Janek MÄGGI was appointed as the new minister for public administration, replacing Jaak AAB, who resigned after he was caught speeding and having consumed alcohol that exceed the allowed limit. Health and labour minister Jevgeni OSSINOVSKI, who also resigned in April to focus on his Social Democratic party ahead of the parliamentary elections in 2019, was replaced by Riina SIKKUT.