Movers and Shakers | 11 December 2017

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

By Ifigenia Balkoura

11 Dec 2017

Today's Movers & Shakers are about: the Brexit breakthrough deal that was reached, the new French MEP,  the plans of deepening the European Monetary Union, the launch of the European Year of Cultural Heritage, latest appointments in public affairs and the European agencies, the new Czech and Polish prime ministers and more.


European Parliament:

Geoffroy DIDIER (EPP, FR) joined the Parliament, replacing Constance LE GRIP, who is now an MP in the French parliament.  

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Composition of the committees and delegations:

Francis ZAMMIT DIMECH (EPP, MT) joined the delegation for relations with the Maghreb countries and the Arab Maghreb Union (D-MAG).

Julia PITERA (EPP, PL) joined the delegation for relations with Belarus (D-BY) and the delegation to the Euronest parliamentary assembly (D-EPA), replacing Agnieszka KOZŁOWSKA-RAJEWICZ (EPP, PL).

Ulrike MÜLLER (ALDE, DE) joined the delegation for relations with Australia and New Zealand (D-ANZ).

Othmar KARAS (EPP, AGRI) joined the committee on agriculture and rural development (AGRI), replacing Nobert LINS (EPP, DE).

Ivica TOLIĆ (EPP, HR) joined the delegation for relations with the People's Republic of China (D-CN), replacing Francis ZAMMIT DIMECH (EPP, MT).

Georg MAYER (ENF, AT) joined the committee on constitutional affairs (AFCO).

France JAMET (ENF, FR) left the committee on the environment, public health and food safety (ENVI).

Miroslav POCHE (S&D, CZ) was appointed as rapporteur of the ITRE position on the revision of the Energy Efficiency Directive, replacing Adam GIEREK. Mr GIEREK has reportedly voluntarily stepped down due to the fact that some of his amendments conflicted with the S&D group’s approach. The committee’s report will be put to a plenary vote on 15 January.

MEP news:
ALDE Party new bureau:
During its Congress in Amsterdam on 1-3 December, Hans VAN BAALEN (BE) was re-elected as president, Frederik FEDERLEY (SE)  elected Vice-President, while Angelika MLINAR (AT) and Ilhan KYUCHYUK (BU) were elected as Bureau members.

Bela KOVÁCS (NI, HU) was charged with spying on the EU institutions for Russia. If convicted, the MEP could face up to eight years in prison. 

All-Party Innovation Group: the first meeting of the group was held on 5 December. The group was set up in October by Ashley FOX (ECR, UK), who is the chair with the with the help of Brian HAYES (EPP, IE) and Eva KAILI (S&D, EL) who are the vice chairs. It aims to promote discussion within the parliament on innovative policy areas and looks to inform policy makers of developments. In its first event, the group discussed virtual currencies and representatives from the industry exchanged thoughts on the future of virtual currencies and the impact it has had on their sectors. 

Plenary session:
MEPs are in Strasbourg from Monday 11 to Thursday 14 December for the last session of the year.


Get to know:

Reinhard BÜTIKOFER (Greens/EFA, DE) in 5 questions.
Mr BÜTIKOFER has been an MEP since 2009 and is vice-chair of the delegation for relations with the People's Republic of China (D-CN). He is Parliament's  rapporteur on EU political relations with ASEAN and on digitising European industry.


European Commission:

Trade Directorate-General (TRADE):

Directorate A – Resources, Information and Policy Coordination: Lutz GUELLNER has returned to his role as Head of Unit A3 (Information, Communication and Civil Society) following a stint at the European External Action Service. During this period the position was vacant.

Want to know more? Click here for information on our Dods People EU service.

Interview with Commissioner AVRAMOPOULOS:

In an interview with the Parliament Magazine, European migration, home affairs and citizenship Commissioner Dimitris AVRAMOPOULOS outlines the progress made so far on stemming the refugee crisis, reforming the Dublin regulation and why migration could help the EU. Read the interview.

European Monetary Union:

On Wednesday, the European Commission proposed a radical set of changes to transfer more powers to the European Monetary Union. The Commission is developing a roadmap for the Monetary Union to play a more prominent role in the economic affairs of member states by 2025. One of the key suggestions is to transform the eurozone’s current bailout body, the European Stability Mechanism, into Europe’s own version of the IMF which will have an initial lending capacity of €500bn. The Commission aims to have this process completed by 2019. Power will be further centralised by appointing a new eurozone economy and finance minister serving simultaneously as a Commission Vice-President and chair of the Eurogroup. The recommendation also includes a plan to entrench national obligations to balance the books in the EU’s treaties. This will indirectly shift more power to the ECJ as national governments will have less legal power to protest the fiscal rules. Excluding the UK, EU heads of state will discuss the reform plans at the upcoming European summit to be held on 14 and 15 December. The intention is to debate this issue again in a decision-making summit in June 2018.



Portuguese finance minister Mario CENTENO was elected as the new president as of 13 January. He will replace Jeroen DIJSSELBLOEM (NL).



The permanent representatives put forward Catherine DE BOLLE as the next executive director for a four-year term, replacing Rob WAINWRIGHT.



Filippo SPIEZIA was elected as Vice-President for a three-year term, replacing Ladislav HAMRAN, who assumed the role of president in October.



Raúl MEDINA CABALLERO was elected president of the provisional council for the years 2018 and 2019. He is currently Director-General of Civil Aviation at the Spanish ministry of public works and transport, and president of the Spanish aviation safety state agency (AESA).


European Year of Cultural Heritage:

The European Year of the cultural heritage was officially launched on 7 December in Milan. In an article for the Parliament Magazine, European education, youth and sport Commissioner Tibor NAVRACSICS said that the Commission will work towards finding the right balance between promoting quality in conservation and safeguarding and supporting dynamic approaches to restoration and maintenance, innovative re-use and enhancement of cultural heritage. Read more.


Public affairs:

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Airlines for Europe (A4E): Achim BAUMANN joined the team as policy director. Prior to his appointment he was director Safety & Flight Operations in the Middle East/North Africa region at IATA.

Defending Democracy: Alice STOLLMEYER was appointed as executive director.

European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA): Carlos TAVARES, Chairman of the Managing Board of Groupe PSA was elected as president for 2018, replacing from Dieter ZETSCHE, CEO of Daimler.

European Road Haulers Association (UETR): Julio VILLAESCUSA was elected as president for a two-year term, replacing Dagmar WÄSCHER.

European Semiconductor Industry Association (ESIA): Jens KNUT FABROWSKY, Executive Vice-President of Automotive Electronics at Robert Bosch was elected as the new president, taking over from Klaus MEDER.

Industrial Minerals Association (IMA): Catherine DELFAUX was elected as the new president as of 5 December, succeeding Daniel J REUSS.

MedTech: Michelle BRENNAN, company group chair for Johnson & Johnson medical device business, EMEA region, was elected as the new chair. She is taking over from Rob TEN HOEDT, who was elected Vice-Chair.

Port of Rotterdam Authority: Allard CASTELEIN was re-appointed by the Municipality of Rotterdam and the Dutch State as CEO for a second four-year mandate, starting on 1 January.

RED FLAG: Emma BROWN and Paul WUJEK have been promoted to account directors and will continue to focus on strategic campaigns. Ronan BREEN was also promoted to senior account manager.

Smart Energy Demand Coalition (SEDC): rebranded to smartEn, Smart Energy Europe as of 5 December. The general assembly elected Christiane MANN, senior Vice-President strategy & operations at Schneider Electric, as its Chairman. She will take over from Jessica STRÖMBÄCK.


News in a nutshell:

Brexit: Just on Friday, the two sides announced that they reached a deal, with the European Commission recommending sufficient progress to the Council ahead of the EU Summit this week. The development followed a night of talks between the UK prime minister and DUP leader Arlene FOSTER.

Earlier last week, the European Commission president Jean-Claude JUNCKER and British prime minister Theresa MAY had failed to reach an agreement during their working lunch on 4 December.  

The week was mainly dominated by the Irish borders issue which ended in stalemate, following reports that Northern Ireland could retain “regulatory alignment” with the EU after the UK leaves the bloc. The allegations prompted the swift response of the DUP, which props up MAY’s government with its leader Arlene FOSTER rejecting the idea of regulatory alignment and accusing the Government of withholding details of their plans at the request of Dublin.  As it was natural, First Scottish Minister, Nicola STURGEON took the chance to reflect the developments and said that “there is no good practical reason why Scotland cannot stay in the EU single market if a special deal is done to avoid a hard border in Ireland”. Irish prime minister Leo VARADKAR expressed his surprise and his disappointment that the idea did not go ahead and the agreement collapsed. Brexit Secretary David DAVIS hit back and confirmed that Northern Ireland will not be left in the single market or customs union after Brexit, but he did not rule out keeping the UK "aligned" to Brussels regulations.

A deal over the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice also collapsed amid the Irish borders issue.

David DAVIS faced massive criticism, after he admitted that the Government has made no assessment of the impact of Brexit on the UK economy before the Brexit select committee. The confession sparked anger among the MEPs who reacted bitterly to the stalled talks.

Catalonia: Over 20,000 protesters gathered in Brussels on Thursday to show support for deposed Catalan President Carles PUIGDEMONT and urge the EU to support their drive for Catalan independence from Spain.

Czech Republic: Andej BABIŠ was appointed as prime minister on Wednesday 6 December. A minority government is due to take office on 13 December after securing parliamentary backing.

Poland: Beata SZYDŁO stepped down as prime minister on Thursday 7 December, after she survived a no-confidence motion. Her Law and Justice (PiS) party named finance minister Mateusz MORAWIESKI as the new prime minister. A broader reshuffle is expected to take place.

Jerusalem: world leaders expressed alarm at US president Donald TRUMP’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as capital of Israel. MEPs will discuss the issue in plenary on Tuesday afternoon with High Representative Federica MOGHERINI and Commissioner Dimitris AVRAMOPOULOS.
In more US foreign policy news, speaking in Brussels on Tuesday 5 December, US secretary of state Rex TILLERSON acknowledged the “strong commitment” that the US has to the European alliance and the “important role that the European alliance plays in our shared security objectives.”


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


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