Movers and Shakers | 11 September 2020

Keep track of developments in the European institutions and public affairs with our Movers and Shakers column.
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By Mia Bartoloni

Mia Bartoloni is the Editor of Dods People EU and the European Public Affairs Directory (EPAD)

11 Sep 2020

Today’s Movers & Shakers are about: Strasbourg plenary cancelled, EFA group elect their president, the new Parliament committee coordinators from EPP and S&D, full details on the new Irish Commissioner, the latest Commission, public affairs appointments, and more!

Please note that the Movers & Shakers newsletter will be taking a break next week and will continue on 25 September.

European Parliament

September's plenary session will take place in Brussels instead of Strasbourg. Following the decision of the French government to declare the city a COVID-19 “red-zone”, many MEPs had expressed concerns that holding plenary in Strasbourg came with unnecessary health risks both for the people of Strasbourg and the MEPs travelling there. President David Sassoli (S&D, IT) confirmed on Tuesday that the first plenary after summer would take place in Brussels. Five Strasbourg sessions have already been cancelled since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Political groups

Catalan MEP Jordi Solé was elected as president of the Europeana Free Alliance (EFA) group on Tuesday. This means that he will be first vice-president of the Greens/EFA group in Parliament, replacing fellow Republican Left of Catalonia member Oriol Junqueras whose seat was officially made vacant at the beginning of the year after he was sentenced to 13 years in prison by the Spanish Supreme Court for sedition.

The group have elected their coordinators in the newly set-up parliamentary committees:

Special Committee on beating cancer (BECA) - Alessandra Moretti (IT)
Sub-committee on tax matters (FISC) - Pedro Marques (PT)
Special Committee on foreign interference in all democratic processes in the European Union, including disinformation (INGE) - Pierfancesco Majorino (IT)
Special Committee on artificial intelligence in a digital age (AIDA) - Ibán García del Blanco (ES)

The group have elected their coordinators in the newly set-up parliamentary committees:

Special Committee on beating cancer (BECA) - Cindy Franssen (BE)
Sub-committee on tax matters (FISC) - Lidia Pereira (PT)
Special Committee on foreign interference in all democratic processes in the European Union, including disinformation (INGE) - Jeroen Lenaers (NL)
Special Committee on artificial intelligence in a digital age (AIDA) - Eva Maydell (BG)
Inquiry Committee on animal transport (ANIT) - Daniel Buda (RO)

MEP news
Thierry Mariani (ID, FR) has resigned from the governors' board of the European Endowment for Democracy (EED), an organisation that offers grants and support to media and civil society overseas. It has been suggested that his replacement will be Jerome Riviere (ID, FR).

European Commission

Following the resignation of former Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan, Ireland nominated two candidates, one male and one female, as requested by President Ursula von der Leyen - MEP and vice-president of the European Parliament Mairead McGuinness (EPP) and former European Investment Bank vice-president Andrew McDowell.

After interviewing both candidates on Monday, von der Leyen announced her nomination of McGuinness as the new Irish Commissioner. She will take over the Financial Services, Financial Stability and Capital Markets Union portfolio previously held by Latvian Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, a role which involves leading the Commission’s banking and finance reforms. Dombrovskis will assume responsibility for the trade portfolio and will remain the Commission's representative in the Eurogroup alongside Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni (IT).

McGuinness has been a MEP for the North West constituency of Ireland since 2004. Prior to becoming a MEP, she was a well-known journalist, broadcaster and commentator on the Irish broadcasting channel RTÉ. She was elected vice-president of the European Parliament in January 2017 and was re-elected to the post in July 2019.

McGuinness’ selection will now be put to the European Council and European Parliament for final approval.


Environment (ENV)
Silvia Bartolini replaces Michel Sponar as Head of Unit C2 (Marine Environment & Water Industry).

Structural Reform Support (REFORM)
Judit Rózsa has been appointed Director for Resources and the Aid Programme, replacing Kaspar Richter who was performing the role in an acting capacity. The date of effect will be determined later.

Translation (DGT)
Silva Kauko replaces Alicia Fracchia-Fernandez as Head of Unit, Coordination and institutional affairs in an acting capacity.

Council of the European Union

Permanent Representations

Czech Republic
Jitka Látal Znamenáčková is the new representative to the Political and Security Committee (PSC) replacing Tomáš Szunyog as the latter was appointed as new EU Special Representative to Kosovo.

Other EU Institutions and Agencies

Court of Justice
Athanasios Rantos (EL) has been sworn in as advocate-general as of Thursday 10 September, replacing UK advocate-general Eleanor Sharpston QC. Sharpston had obtained a suspension of Rantos’ appointment earlier in the week arguing she should keep her seat until the end of her tenure in October this year. President Koen Lenaerts had declared Sharpston’s seat vacant on 31 January in light of Brexit and had asked member states to appoint her successor. 

European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)
Christa Schweng from the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber has been selected to take over as president in October. The decision was taken Monday after Jacek Krawczyk (PL) faced mounting pressure to withdraw his candidacy over harassment allegations.

European External Action Service (EEAS) - Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP)
Colonel Paulo Manuel Simões das Neves de Abreu (PT) has been appointed Force Commander of the EU’s Military Training Mission in the Central African Republic (EUTM RCA) as of 19 September, succeeding Brigadier General Eric Peltier, who has held the post since July 2019.

European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA)
The candidates for the CCP Supervisory Committee Klaus Löber, Nicoletta Giusto and Froukelien Wendt have all been backed by the European Paarliament's Economic Affairs Committee.

Public Affairs

Seldia. The European Direct Selling Association
Laure Alexandre has been appointed executive director replacing Marie Lacroix. Alexandre previously worked for the European Advertising Standard Alliance and spiritsEUROPE.

European University Association
Stephane Berghmans has been appointed the director of research and innovation, replacing Lidia Borrell-Damian, who has moved to the role of secretary-general of Science Europe. Berghmans was previously vice-president of EU academic and research relations at Elsevier.

National News

Former interior minister Christophe Castaner has been elected to lead La République En Marche, the party of president Emannuel Macron, in the National Assembly. Castaner succeeds Gilles Le Gendre.

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Read the most recent articles written by Mia Bartoloni - Movers and Shakers | 11 June 2021


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