Movers and Shakers | 12 December 2016

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

By Ifigenia Balkoura

12 Dec 2016

Today's Movers & Shakers are about: the Parliament's presidency, the new Permanent Representative of Spain to the EU, latest developments in Italy and France, elections in Romania and FYROM,  new appointments in the Commission, EEAS and public affairs, Brexit and more. 

European Parliament: 

Eleonora FORENZA (IT) has been chosen as the GUE/NGL group candidate for the presidency. Speaking after the decision to stand, FORENZA said, "I am a feminist from the south of Europe. This in itself makes a strong political statement and I am acutely aware of the heavy responsibilities this carries," she continued. Read more.  
Alojz PETERLE (SI) has officially launched his bid to be selected as the EPP group's candidate for the presidency, ahead of next week’s plenary session. PETERLE’s key words for his candidacy were: “Respect, Listen, Engage”. The group will select a candidate on Tuesday 13 December in Strasbourg.  

Political groups:  
Gianni PITTELLA (IT) was re-elected by acclamation as President of the S&D group. Dame Glenis WILLMOT (UK) and Richard CORBETT (UK) were re-elected as leader and deputy leader of the European Parliamentary Labour party respectively. 

MEPs are in Strasbourg from Monday 12 to Thursday 15 December for the last plenary of the year.  

MEP news:

Roberta METSOLA (EPP, MT) last month launched a written declaration on 'combatting cyberbullying and the dissemination of revenge pornography'. It was a high profile case involving a Maltese politician that initially sparked her interest, she explained in an interview with the Parliament Magazine, because this served as a warning to everyone that "this could be perpetrated by anyone - not just teenagers." Read more

METSOLA became mother of a baby boy for fourth time. We wish her and her family well. 
Hans-Olaf HENKEL (ECR, DE) sent the second volume of his Christmas jazz CD to 745 of his 750 MEP colleagues.  
Ruža TOMAŠIĆ (ECR, HR) became a grandmother

MEP Awards: Roberta METSOLA (EPP, MT) will host the 2017 Parliament Magazine MEP Awards. A recipient of the justice and home affairs award in both 2015 and 2016, the EPP group deputy said the Parliament Magazine's annual awards were "a confirmation that there is appreciation for a person's work in the European Parliament". Read more

Ana GOMES (S&D, PT) joined the Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly (D-EPA).  

Sorin MOISĂ (S&D, RO) left the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE).  

Victor NEGRESCU (S&D, RO) joined the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) and left the Committee on Petitions (PETI). 

Mylène TROSZCZYNSKI (ENF, FR) joined the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM). 


European Commission:

Latest News:
On 7 December the Commission launched the European Solidarity Corps, a portal through which young people between 18 and 30 can access volunteering opportunities. The Corps was launched under the direction of Jonathan FAULL, former Head of the UK-EU referendum Task Force. The administrative body of the Corps is based in the Commission’s Secretariat-General (SG).
Commissioners’ cabinets:
Corina CREŢU’s team: Michaela Maria CIUCIUREANU and Loredana VON BUTTLAR left their position as members of the cabinet, while Anna-Lena ZADEMACH-SCHWIERZ and Patricio FIORILLI joined.
Migration and Home Affairs (HOME): 
Principle Adviser on Migratory Crisis, Alain SCRIBAN, was seconded to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

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Trade (TRADE):
Directorate A – Resources, information and Policy Coordination: Jorge VITORINO became Head of Unit. 'Policy Coordination and Inter-institutional Relations', filling a vacant position. Mr VITORINO was previously Deputy Head of Unit.
Directorate G – Trade Strategy and Market Access: Tomas BAERT became Head of Unit, 'Trade Strategy', filling a vacant position. Prior to this appointment Mr BAERT was an Assistant to the Director-General of DG TRADE.
Spokesperson's Service (SPP):
Coordinating Spokesperson for Economic and Financial Affairs:  Johannes BAHRKE joined the team as Spokesperson for 'Priority Files (Bratislava Roadmap)'. The role is a new addition to the SPP and was created in response to the Bratislava Summit in September, where 27 Member States committed themselves to the European Project following Brexit.
Jobs, Growth and Investment: Enda MCNAMARA became Press Officer replacing Siobhan MILLBRIGHT.

European External Action Service (EEAS): 
High Representative Federica MOGHERINI, has announced the following appointments to the European External Action Service:
Pawel HERCZYNSKI, currently Ambassador, Representative of Poland to the Political and Security Committee, has been appointed Director, Conflict Prevention and Security Policy, replacing Director François RIVASSEAU who is acting in the role. 
Marc GIACONMINI has been appointed as the new Director, Deputy Managing Director for Human Rights, Global and Multilateral Issues., replacing Lotte KNUDSEN.
Paola PAMPALONI, currently serving as senior European External Action Service Head of Division for Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Maldives, assumes the role of Director, Deputy Managing Director Asia and the Pacific replacing Gunnar WIEGAND.
Colin SCICLUNA, currently member of cabinet of Johannes HAHN, has been appointed Director, Deputy Managing Director Middle East and North Africa, replacing Briton Nicholas WESTCOTT
Michele CERVONE D’URSO, a senior EEAS official, has been appointed as the new Head of the EU Delegation to Saudi Arabia, replacing Adam KULACH
Thomas ULICNY assumes the role as Head of the EU Delegation to Angola, replacing Gordon KRICKE
Bart OUVRY has been appointed as Head of the EU Delegation to the Democratic Republic of Congo, replacing Bertrand SORET.
Véronique LORENZO has been appointed as the new Head of the EU Delegation to Somalia. 


Missions to the EU: 

Donald TUSK received the letters of credentials from the following Ambassadors:
Belarus: Aleksandr MIKHNEVICH, formerly First Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Ambassador to the United Kingdom. H.E. Mr MIKHNEVICH began his current position on 10 August 2016. He replaced H.E. Mr Andrei YEUDACHENKA.
Ghana: Novisi Aku ABAIDOO, formerly Ambassador to Benin from June 2014 to July 2015. H.E. Ms ABAIDOO has been in her current position since 22 August 2015. She replaced H.E. Mr Morgan ADOKWEI BROWN.
Guatemala: José Alberto BRIZ GUTIÉRREZ, formerly Director General of International Multilateral and Economic Relations. H.E. Mr BRIZ GUTIÉRREZ started as Ambassador on 17 September 2016. He replaced H.E. Mr Jorge SKINNER-KLÉE ARENALES.
Mauritania: Abdellahi BAH NAGI KEBD, formerly Ambassador to Brazil from March 2014 to November 2015. H.E. Mr BAH NAGI KEBD has been in his current position since 17 April 2016. He replaced H.E. Mr Mohamedoun DADDAH.
Morocco: Ahmed Réda CHAMI, formerly Minister of Industry, Trade and New Technologies. H.E. Mr CHAMI took on his current role on 15 April 2016. He replaced H.E. Mr Menouar ALAM.


EU Agencies:

On 6 December two new studies evaluating the cost-effectiveness and contribution to EU citizens were presented to the EU Agencies Forum at the European Parliament. The studies claim that the budget of the Agencies represents less than 0.8 per cent of the overall EU annual budget and their contribution creates savings for the EU. Read more.

LIBE Committee backed a proposal on Thursday 8 December to strengthen the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), in order to assist member states in crisis situations and monitor the application of the EU legislation by national authorities. The Office will be renamed to EU Agency for Asylum and will be assessing all aspects of the common asylum policy.


Permanent Representations:

Spain: Juan Pablo GARCÍA-BERDOY Y CEREZO is the new Permanent Representative to the EU, replacing Alfonso DASTIS QUECEDO, who was appointed Foreign Minister in the new Spanish government.


Committee of the Regions:

Ulrika LANDERGREN (SE) was elected 1st Vice-President of the Group, taking over from Agnes DURDU (LU), François DECOSTER (FR), previously 3rd Vice-President was elected 2nd, and Adriana KRNÁČOVÁ (CZ) was elected 3rd Vice-President, replacing DECOSTER.

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European Public Prosecutor:

Justice Ministers discussed extensively the EPPO regulation. The overall majority of Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to establish the public prosecutor and, pending some final technical work, supported the text as it now stands. However, the presidency took note of the different positions of delegations and concluded that these give a clear indication on the likely procedural way forward to ensure a positive conclusion on this file.


Public Affairs:

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European Association of Automotive Suppliers (CLEPA): Sigrid de VRIES was appointed as the new Secretary-General, starting her new role in early 2017.

European Semiconductor Industry Association (ESIA): Klaus MEDER, President of Robert Bosch Automotive Electronics was elected as the new President by the General Assembly. He succeeds Reinhard PLOSS.

European Social Insurance Platform (ESIP): Arnaud EMÉRIAU succeeds ESIP’s founder Dr Franz TERWEY who retired after 23 years of active advocacy in Brussels. The newly elected president will work in close collaboration with Ilka WÖLFLE who was elected as Vice-President.

Federation of European Accountants (FEE): changed its name to Accountancy Europe. The organisation has a new logo and website, while the new social media accounts that were officially launched on 7 December are: 
@AccountancyEU on twitter
Accountancy Europe for LinkedIn and for Facebook


News in a nutshell: 

Financial Transaction Tax: On 6 December, EU finance ministers held a discussion on the state of play of the proposal on enhanced cooperation in the area of financial transaction tax. Read Dods EU Monitoring’s briefing here

Brexit: On Monday 5 December the Supreme Court began hearing arguments on a landmark case that will decide whether the Government can trigger the process for leaving the European Union without consulting Parliament. Read more.
Speaking in Brussels ahead of a meeting of EU Finance Ministers, Chancellor Philip HAMMOND has given another indication that the UK could continue to pay into EU coffers to retain access to the single market for certain industries after Brexit. Read more.
EU Chief Negotiator Michel BARNIER gave his first press conference on 6 December, where he said that only 18 months of the two-year timeframe could be dedicated to negotiations in order to allow time for an agreement to be ratified. Read more.
Prime Minister Theresa MAY dismissed a “grey, black or white” Brexit options being floated by ministers and commentators by insisting Britain wants a “red, white and blue” withdrawal from the EU. Read more.
The UK Government has accepted a Labour motion calling on the Prime Minister to “commit to publishing” her plan before the process of leaving the European Union begins. Read more. Labour is pressing the Government to publish its plan no later than January 2017 so that the House of Commons, the devolved administrations, the Brexit Select Committee and the British people have a chance to scrutinise it. Read more.
Secretary of State for Exiting the EU David DAVIS, said it was “inconceivable” that the Commons would not have its say while MEPs have a veto on the agreement. Read more.
On 7 December MPs voted by 461 to 89 to support the Prime Minister’s Brexit timetable and trigger Article 50 by the end of March next year. Read more.

Estonia: Martin REPINSKI stepped down as Minister for Rural Affairs after less than two weeks in office, following his involvement in fraud scandals.  Tarmo TAMM MP replaced him.

France: Prime Minister Manuel VALLS announced his candidacy for the Presidency on 5 December and handed in his resignation. President François HOLLANDE named Interior Minister, Bernard CAZENEUVE as the new Prime Minister. Bruno LE ROUX took over him as Interior Minister.
MEP Michèle ALLIOT-MARIE (EPP) announced her candidacy for the French presidency.

Italy: Foreign Minister, Paolo GENTILONI was appointed Prime Minister by President Sergio MATTARELLA, following the resignation of Matteo RENZI last week. A new government is expected to be formed. 

Romania: Social Democrats won the parliamentary elections held on Sunday 11 December by 46 per cent. Liviu DRAGNEA announced that he will start talks with the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for the new cabinet. The newly established “Save Romanian Union” party entered the Parliament. 

Candidate states:
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: Both the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organisation – Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE) and the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) claimed victory in the general elections held on Sunday 11 December, with the first  one winning 38.3 per cent and the latter 36.3 that may be translated into same seats in the Parliament.  

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


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