Movers and Shakers | 10 July 2017

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

By Ifigenia Balkoura

10 Jul 2017

Today's Movers & Shakers are about: the new digital economy and society Commissioner, the new ECR co-chair, the new special committee on terrorism, plenary highlights, the restructure in DG DEVCO and other appointments in the European Commission, latest appointments in public affairs, Brexit and more.


European Parliament:

Glenis WILLMOT (S&D, UK) announced she would be retiring in October. Mrs WILLMOT is head of the UK Labour party delegation in the European Parliament and has been an MEP since 2006. She will be replaced by Rory PALMER.

Political groups:
The Bureau members of the ECR group voted to create a joint chairmanship to assist the transitional period of Brexit and onwards. Ryszard Antoni LEGUTKO (PL) was elected as co-chair of the group to serve alongside Syed KAMALL (UK), whose mandate will remain unaffected.

Special committees:
Committee of Inquiry on Money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion (PANA):
The conference of presidents approved the extension of the committee’s mandate by three months to allow it to process and analyse a number of documents before the committee fully discharges its mandate.

Anti-terrorism committee: MEPs backed a proposal to set up a new special committee on terrorism. The 30-member committee will have a 12-month mandate. It will look into the legal and practical deficiencies in the fight against terrorism across the EU and exchange of information between the relevant national agencies. The proposal was initiated by the EPP and ALDE groups.

Agnieszka KOZŁOWSKA-RAJEWICZ (PL) was elected as the EPP group coordinator on the Committee for Women's Rights & Gender Equality (FEMM).

National delegations:
Daniel CASPARY was appointed as Chair of the CDU-CSU delegation in the European Parliament.

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Composition of the committees and delegations:

Alain LAMASSOURE (EPP, FR) joined the committee on constitutional affairs (AFCO).

Anne SANDER (EPP, FR) joined the committee on economic and monetary affairs (ECON).

Daniel DALTON (ECR, UK) joined the Delegation for relations with the United States (D-US), replacing Anneleen VAN BOSSUYT (ECR, BE).

John FLACK (ECR, UK) joined the committee on the internal market and consumer protection (IMCO), the committee on regional development (REGI) and the delegation for relations with the People's Republic of China (D-CN).

Rupert MATTHEWS (ECR, UK) joined the committee on the environment, public health and food safety (ENVI), the committee on culture and education (CULT) and the delegation for relations with Switzerland and Norway and to the EU-Iceland joint parliamentary committee and the European Economic Area (EEA) joint parliamentary committee (D-EEA).

Jakop DALUNDE (Greens/EFA, SE) joined the delegation to the parliamentary assembly of the union for the Mediterranean (D-MED), replacing Eva JOLY (Greens/EFA, FR), who left.  

André ELISSEN (ENF, NL) joined the committee on budgets (BUDG), the committee on women's rights and gender equality (FEMM) and the delegation for relations with Afghanistan (D-AF).

Alain LAMASSOURE (EPP, FR) switched from member to substitute of the committee on economic and monetary affairs (ECON).

Anne SANDER (EPP, FR) switched from member to substitute of the committee on employment and social affairs (EMPL) and left the committee on industry, research and energy (ITRE).

Michèle ALLIOT-MARIE (EPP, FR) left the committee on employment and social affairs (EMPL) and joined the committee on industry, research and energy (ITRE).

Michael GAHLER (EPP, DE) joined the delegation for relations with Belarus (D-BY), replacing Albert DESS (EPP, DE), who left.

John FLACK (ECR, UK) joined the committee on petitions (PETI) and the delegation for relations with Japan (D-JP).

Rupert MATTHEWS (ECR, UK) joined the committee on industry, research and energy (ITRE) and the delegation to the EU-former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia joint parliamentary committee (D-MK).

Thierry CORNILLET (ALDE, FR) left the committee on constitutional affairs (AFCO) and joined the committee on development (DEVE).

Jasenko SELIMOVIC (ALDE, SE) left the committee on development (DEVE) and joined the committee on constitutional affairs (AFCO).

Reinhard BÜTIKOFER (Greens/EFA, DE) joined the delegation for relations with the countries of Southeast Asia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Plenary session’s highlights:
2018 EU Budget:
MEPs adopted a resolution on the 2018 budget mandate that suggests investing in research, innovation, education, SMEs and infrastructure would generate growth, jobs and ensure citizens’ security. The resolution was voted by 445 to 144, with 80 abstentions. MEPs welcome an increase in the budget of Horizon 2020, the Connecting Europe Facility and Erasmus+, and noted the EU initiatives in the field of defence research. Siegfried MUREȘAN (EPP, RO) is the Parliament’s rapporteur. The Council will present its position and the first talks between Council, the Parliament and the Commission on the 2018 budget are expected to be held by 13 July.

Fight against fraud directive: MEPs endorsed the directive, after lengthy negotiations, on common definitions for fraud-related crimes against the EU budget. Member states now have two years to apply the measures of the directive excepting Denmark and the UK who have opted out. Ingeborg GRÄßLE (EPP, DE) and Juan Fernando LOPEZ AGUILAR (S&D, ES) are the rapporteurs on the directive.

EU-Cuba deal: The Parliament backed the political dialogue and cooperation agreement by 567 votes to 65, with 31 abstentions. The agreement includes expansion of bilateral trade, economic cooperation and joint action on the world scene. Elena VALENCIANO (S&D, ES) is the rapporteur of the report.

Evaluation of the Maltese EU Presidency: A discussion on the achievements of the Maltese presidency was held on Tuesday. President Juncker took part in the debate, but after noticing the low attendance of MEPs got angry, saying that Parliament is ridiculous and that he would never attend another meeting of the kind. President TAJANI fired back, defending his House and urging Juncker to show respect, while also reminding him that Parliament controls the Commission and not the other way around. JUNCKER regretted his words later and apologised in a letter to the Parliament President.

Estonian EU Presidency: The deputies discussed and welcomed the priorities of the Estonian Presidency on the innovation and digitalisation with prime minister Juri RATAS. However, they also addressed the importance of other issues, such as the climate change, the refugee crisis and the social inequality.

EU-Turkey accession talks: The Parliament voted to officially suspend the accession talks if proposed changes in the Turkish constitution go ahead, as they are not in lined with the EU membership criteria. The report, drafted by Kati PIRI (S&D, NL) was voted by 477 to 64, with 97 abstentions and highlighted the importance of maintaining good relations and an open dialogue between the two parties.

Tribute: MEPs paid tribute to Simone VEIL, the first directly elected President of the European Parliament, who died last week.

Sustainable development goals (SDGs): MEPs adopted a report by Seb DANCE (S&D, UK) calling on the Commission to be more ambitious in the implementation of the SDGs.


European Commission:

Commissioner-Designate Mariya GABRIEL was endorsed by the European Parliament to take up the role of Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society. Read more. At a plenary meeting on 4 July MEPs voted 517 in favour of the appointment, 77 against with 89 abstentions, in a secret ballot. TheCouncil of the EU ratified the appointments on Friday 7 July.

Cabinet of Commissioner Jyrki KATAINEN
: Florentine HOPMEIER joined the cabinet as a Member filling a gap left by Miguel GIL TERTRE who moved to the Commission's Secretariat General (SG). Ms HOPMEIER's portfolio includes economic and financial affairs, competitiveness and taxation and customs.

Directorates General:
Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI):

Directorate G – Markets and Observations: Fabien SANTINI joined as Adviser 'Observatory of agricultural markets'.

Climate Action (CLIMA):
Directorate C – Climate strategy, Governance and Emissions from non-trading sectors: Stefaan VERGOTE joined the directorate as an Adviser.

European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF):
Directorate B – Investigations II: James SWEENEY became Head of Unit 'Customs and Trade Fraud' replacing Ernesto BIANCHI who was acting in the role. Mr SWEENEY was head of the 'Agricultural and Structural funds II' unit and remains in place as an acting Head.

International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO):
As of 1 July DEVCO underwent a restructure with many of the Directorates changing names and senior staff undertaking different responsibilities:

Deputy Director-Genral Klaus RUDISCHHAUSER is now responsible for Directorates B, E, F and G. Deputy Director-Genral Marjeta JAGER is now responsible for Directorates B, C, R and Task Force: Knowledge, Performance and Results. Directorate A is now under the supervision of Director-General Stefano MANSERVICI.
Directorate A – International Cooperation and Development Policy (was Development Policy and International Cooperation)
Directorate B – People and Peace (was Human Development and Migration)
Directorate C – Planet and Prosperity (was Sustainable Growth and Development)
Directorate D – EU-Africa Relations, East and Southern Africa (was Development Coordination East and Southern Africa)
Directorate E – West and Central Africa (no change)
Directorate F – Asia, Central Asia, Middle East/Gulf and Pacific (was Directorate H)
Directorate G – Latin America and Caribbean (no change)
Directorate R – Resources (was Resources and Centre of Gravity of Human Resources in Delegations)

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Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (MARE):
Directorate C – Atlantic, North Sea, Baltic and Outermost regions: Armando ASTUDILLO joined as an Adviser for Conservation.
Directorate E – General Affairs and Resources: Valerie TANKINK became Head of Unit 'Legal Affairs' replacing Friedrich WLELAND.

Secretariat General (SG):
Directorate C – Smart regulation and work programme: John WATSON was appointed Director as of 1 July, replacing Jean-Eric PAQUET who was acting. WATSON moved from another unit in SG where he was an Adviser. Antonina CIPOLLONE became Head of Unit 'Evaluation, regulatory fitness and performance' replacing Norbert SAGSTETTER who was acting. Rudiger BOOGERT joined as Head of Unit 'Work programme and stakeholder consultation' replacing Charlotte HAENTZEL who was acting.
Directorate D – Policy Co-ordination I: Miguel GIL TERTRE became Head of Unit 'Europe 2020, European Semester, Economic Governance' replacing Marcel HAAG who was acting head. GIL TERTRE was previously a member of Commissioner KATAINEN's cabinet.
Directorate F – Relations with other institutions: Elies MESSAOUDI became Head of Unit 'European Council and Council of the EU' replacing Vincente HURTADO ROA who was acting in the role.


European Union's Judicial Cooperation Unit (EUROJUST):

Nikolaos PANAGIOTOPOULOS (EL) began his role as Administrative Director as of 1 July having been appointed by the College of Eurojust at a plenary meeting on 30 May. He has served as interim Director and Head of the Human Resources Unit at Eurojust.


Public affairs:

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Bayer: Raquel RESENDES joins Bayer EU liaison office team as EU health policy manager and will support Bayer’s pharmaceuticals and consumer health divisions. She has previously worked at the European Parliament and for the past five years at the European Pharmaceutical Association, EFPIA. Raquel holds a degree on European Affairs, a Master on political science and a Master on intellectual property rights.

BirdLife International: Trees ROBIJNS has left her post and was replaced by Louis LEROY WARNIER, as EU agricultural and bioenergy officer. Louis was previously working as Policy Officer at the RSPB (BirdLife in UK).

European Alliance of Companies for Energy Efficiency in Buildings (EuroACE): Céline CARRE took up her new role as president on 1 July. In her new tasks Ms CARRE will be supported by Vice Presidents Alix CHAMBRIS and Ulrich BANG.

European Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers (ACEM): Stefan PIERER, CEO of KTM AG took over as president from Stephan SCHALLER, who was appointed as Vice President as of 1 July. Mr SCHALLER will be joined by Michele COLANINNO, who was also appointed as Vice President. The new team will lead the association for a two-year mandate.

European LPG Association (AEGPL): Francesco FRANCHI, President of Assogasliquidi, was elected as President for a two-year mandate. He succeeds Paul LADNER, who stepped down from his role, but remains on the AEGPL management committee.

European Ships and Maritime Equipment Association (SEA Europe): Kjersti KLEVEN was named as the new chair for a two-year term, starting on 1 July. The General Assembly also appointed Bernard MEYER, Kjeld DITTMANN, Hervé GUILLOU, Kees-Jan MES, Dirk LEHMANN and Juan Luis SÁNCHEZ as Vice-Chairs.

FoodDrinkEurope: Hubert WEBER, Executive Vice President and President Europe for Mondelēz International, was elected as President. He takes over from Gilles MOREL.

Jacques Delors Institute: Sébastien MAILLARD was appointed as the new director, as of 4 September, succeeding Yves BERTONCINI.


News in a nutshell:

Brexit: The Estonian Presidency published a provisional agenda for the meetings of the general affairs council: 25 September, 17 October, 20 November and 12 December.
Health Secretary Jeremy HUNT and Business Secretary Greg CLARK in a letter to the Financial Times expressed the Government’s wish to find a way of collaboration with the EU in the field of drugs post Brexit.

EU Chief Negotiator Michel BARNIER address the European Economic and Social Committee on Thursday and made it crystal clear that the UK will not be able to continue “frictionless” trade once it quits the EU single market. He also said that he is not convinced that the EU’s red lines have been fully understood across the Channel. Read more.  

Parliament’s chief negotiator Guy VERHOFSTADT said Mrs MAY’s plans risk “creating second-class citizenship” after the UK quits the European Union. Read more.

Cyprus reunification: The negotiations talks for the reunification of the island collapsed on Friday early hours, it was announced by the UN Secretary General Antonio GUTERRES.  

Read the most recent articles written by Ifigenia Balkoura - Movers and Shakers | 26 November 2018


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