Movers and Shakers | 12 March 2021

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

By Mia Bartoloni

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

12 Mar 2021

Today’s Movers & Shakers are about: Three Catalan MEPs stripped of their parliamentary immunity, the Italian MEP joining Renew Europe, the new director-general at DG DIGIT, Commission appoints two heads of representation, meet Slovakia’s new PSC representative, and lots more!

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European Parliament

Committees and Delegations

Japan Delegation (D-JP)
Christel Schaldemose (S&D, DK) has been appointed chair. She was formerly vice-chair of the delegation.
Eva Maydell (EPP, BG) and Eric Andrieu (S&D, FR) have been appointed vice-chairs.

NATO Parliamentary Assembly Delegation (D-NAT)
Tom Vandenkendelaere (EPP, BE) has been appointed chair.

Rosanne Conte (ID, IT) moves from substitute to member in the Regional Development Committee (REGI).

Plenary Highlights
MEPs voted to lift the parliamentary immunity of Catalonia's former regional head of government, Carles Puigdemont (NI), and two former cabinet members, Toni Comín (NI) and Clara Ponsatí Obiols (NI) at the opening of March’s plenary session on Monday. All three MEPs are subject to European arrest warrants issued by Spain following Catalonia’s independence attempt in 2017. Puigdemont's immunity was lifted by 400 votes to 248, while those of Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí Obiols were removed by 404 votes to 247.

Political Groups
Renew Europe
Italian former Five Star Movement MEP Marco Zullo (RE, IT) has joined the Renew Europe group in Parliament. Of his decision, the MEP said in a Facebook post “I’ve worked hard for the creation of a European system that represents an added value for Member States. A sustainable European System where the role of the individual and the protection of the environment are central and where attention to relationships, respect and merit are essential elements. Reluctantly, I must take note that this path is no longer viable in what remains of the Five Star Movement”. Zullo is the fifth MEP to leave the Five Star Movement, less than two years since the 2019 elections, however the other four MEPs - Ignazio Corrao, Eleonora Evi, Piernicola Pedicini and Rosa D'Amato - joined the Greens/EFA group.

As of 1 March, Hughes Beaudouin is the new spokesperson for Renew Europe group chair Dacian Cioloş. Beaudouin has served as press officer in the group’s secretariat since mid-2020.

Special Committees
It has been confirmed that the three special committees established last summer - The special committees on Artificial Intelligence in a Digital Age (AIDA), on Foreign Interference in all Democratic Processes in the EU (INGE), on Beating Cancer (BECA) – will be extended. AIDA and INGE will be extended by six months, while BECA will be extended for three months.

European Commission

Commissioner Cabinets
Martijn de Grave has joined the cabinet of Commissioner for Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight Maroš Šefčovič. De Grave’s portfolio will include implementation of the EU/UK Withdrawal Agreement and relations with the Council.

Informatics (DIGIT)

Acting director-general and deputy director-general Mario Campolargo has been confirmed in his role as director-general effective immediately. In his role as deputy director-general Campolargo  was responsible for the overall strategic and operational coordination of the DG and led on digital workplace, data, innovation, interoperability of Public Administrations and inter-institutional relations. He played a key role in shifting the Commission to telework during the pandemic.

Economic and Financial Affairs (ECFIN)
Elena Flores Gual will take on the function of deputy director-general for investment and international with the date of effect to be determined at a later time. An economist by training, Flores Gual has worked in the DG since 1990 during which time she has occupied various head of unit and director functions. She is currently director for international economic and financial relations, global governance.

Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (EMPL)
Mina Andreeva replaces Dietrich Rometsch as head of unit G5 (Communication). Rometsch had been performing the role in an acting capacity.

Translation (DGT)
Marja Hennessy has been appointed director for translation with the date of effect to be determined at a later time.

Trade (TRADE)
Ignacio Garcia Bercero leaves their role as principal adviser under the deputy director-general, leaving a vacant position.

The Commission has appointed two new heads of representation. Greek national Niovi Ringou will become head of representation of Greece on 16 May while Belgian Stefaan De Rynck begins his function as head of representation in Brussels on 16 March. Ringou brings with her years of experience having served as head of unit in DG Justice since 2018. De Rynck is also a familiar face in Brussels having spent the past 25 years at the Commission working in various roles, most recently as head of unit for coordination, planning and administrative support in the UK Task Force.

Council of the European Union

Permanent Representations

Michal Komada begins his new role as Slovak ambassador to the Political and Security Committee replacing Tomas Kozak who has taken up the position of EU director-general at the foreign ministry in Bratislava. Komada has previously served as chief of staff for the state secretary at the Slovak ministry for foreign affairs.

Other EU Institutions and Agencies

Committee of the Regions
Line Krogh Lay (RE, DK) has been appointed as an alternate member replacing Eva Borchorst Mejnertz.

Eurojust – EU Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation
Eleni Kouzoupi has been appointed as the new national member for Cyprus at Eurojust. Kouzoupi has had an extensive career in European legal affairs and worked for a long time as Justice and Home Affairs Counsellor at the Permanent Representation of the Republic of Cyprus to the EU.

Public Affairs

American Chamber of Commerce to the EU
The annual AmCham EU Transatlantic Conference will take place this year between 24-26 March. Entitled ‘Global leadership: A transatlantic opportunity’, the conference will focus on the opportunity presented by the new Biden administration to reset the transatlantic relationship, rebuild a world economy devastated by the impact of COVID-19 and to ensure future healthy, connected and sustainable societies. The Transatlantic Economy Report 2021 will be launched during the event. A full programme can be found here. To register, please see here.

European Public Health Alliance
Milka Sokolović has been appointed director-general and will start her new role as of 6 April. Sokolović will replace Sascha Marschang who has been performing the role in an acting capacity.

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Read the most recent articles written by Mia Bartoloni - Movers and Shakers | 16 July 2021