Movers and Shakers | 12 November 2018

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

By Ifigenia Balkoura

12 Nov 2018

Today's Movers & Shakers are about: news from the MEPs, the Spitzenkandidaten of EPP, PES and ECR, latest appointments in the European Commission and public affairs, the political situation in Sweden, Brexit and more. 


European Parliament:

Artis PABRIKS (EPP, LV) left his seat on 5 November following his election to the Latvian Parliament.

Sander LOONES (ECR, BE) is set to leave the Parliament, as he was nominated as Minister for Defense. He will succeed Steven VANDEPUT. He has been an MEP since 2014 and member of the committee on economic and monetary affairs (ECON) and the delegation for relations with the he countries of Southeast Asia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

 Latest on committees:
Special Committee on terrorism (TERR):
the committee will vote its report on Tuesday 13 November. The final report will be voted in the plenary session in December, when the committee is expected to be dissolved.

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MEPs’ news:
Esther DE LANGE (EPP, NL) was elected as Vice-President of the EPP, during the party’s Congress in Helsinki on 7 November.

ALDE group launched an anti-ORBÁN billboard truck on 6 November. According to the group’s press release, the truck will drive to the EPP headquarters, to the Hungarian embassy, the Austrian embassy, to the Council and to the Commission and will also travel to Hungary reminding EPP politicians what is at stake.   

Plenary session:
MEPs are in Stasbourg from Monday 12 to Thursday 15 November for the plenary session.


Interview with Marek PLURA (EPP, PL):

Marek PLURA spoke to the Parliament Magazine about the European Day of Persons with Disabilities and his key priorities for implementing the European disability strategy report. Read the interview.


European elections:

All about European parties’ Spitzenkandidaten:
Manfred WEBER (DE) was elected as the EPP’s candidate for the European Commission President, securing a 79.2 percent lead over rival Alexander STUBB at the party’s congress in Helsinki on Thursday.

PES: Vice-President of the European Commission for Energy, Maroš Šefčovič, stepped down from the race to become PES Spitzenkandidat and endorsed his colleague Frans TIMMERMANS as the party’s sole candidate . However, he added that he will play an active role in the electoral campaign.

ALDE: held its convention in Madrid from 8 to 10 November. The Party adopted its manifesto and opened the nominations for its lead candidate. In his opening speech, leader of Parliament’s ALDE group Guy VERHOFSTADT said that “the old-fashioned two-party political system led by the Socialists and the Conservatives will be wiped out in 2019. From its ashes, we have to build a new Europe,” and he added that the elections will be “the ultimate fight to safeguard Europe’s soul, tolerance against xenophobia, openness against protectionism and a Europe of the citizens against a Europe of nationalists and populists.”
A campaign team will be presented at the electoral Congress in the beginning of 2019.

ACRE: the deadline for nominations expired on 1 November, leaving Jan ZAHRADIL (CZ) the only candidate, who tweeted that he would be happy to represent moderate voice between two extremes, the pro-EU fanatics versus the anti-EU radicals. He also clarified that he is “against leaving or dismantling EU and the federal EU or United States of Europe. He wants a completed single market, the four fundamental freedoms and common commercial policy, but doesn’t want tax harmonization, fiscal unification and common asylum policy. On Tuesday 13 November, ECR group will vote to endorse the candidature.

Don’t forget to visit our European elections section in the Parliament Magazine and follow us on twitter for the latest developments.

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

European Commission:

Cabinet of Corina Creţu
: Ioana RUS is the new Head of Cabinet; replacing the departing Nicola DE MICHELIS. Ioannis LATOUDIS replaces RUS as Deputy Cabinet Head.
Cabinet of Maroš Šefčovič: Peter VAN KEMSEKE is no longer a Cabinet Expert.  His replacement is Adalbert JAHNZ.

Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI):

Jens SCHAPS has left the post of Director of Directorate G (Markets and observatories).  At the moment, the position has not yet been filled.

Communication Networks, Content & Technology (DG CONNECT):
Stefan KRAMER has left as Acting Head of Unit, Markets.  The new Acting Head of Unit is Przemyslaw KORDASIEWICZ.

Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (DG EMPL):
Joerg TAGGER is now Head of Unit for Social Dialogue, having previously been Acting Head of Unit.


European Central Bank (ECB):

Andrea ENRIA has been nominated by the Governing Council of the European Central Bank to the post of Chair of the ECB’s Supervisory Board. Mr ENRIA is the current Chairperson of the European Banking Authority. If this nomination is approved by both the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, he will succeed Danièle NOUY on 1 January for a single five-year term.


Public affairs:

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Association of Commercial Television in Europe (ACT): Algara CASTLE was appointed as Communications and EU Affairs Manager, replacing Masa LAMPRET.

Cambre Associates: Charlotte MATTHYSEN will be joining the team as Consultant on November 26. In her new role, she will work across several sectors, including external relations and trade, and technology. Charlotee will join from the American Chamber of Commerce to the EU (AmCham EU).

European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO): Eamonn O’REILLY was unanimously re-elected as Chairman, during its General Assembly in Brussels on 7 November.


News in a nutshell:

Brexit: The political stalemate continues, as no progress has been achieved in the Brexit negotiations. According to The Telegraph, Brexit Secretary Dominic RAAB urged Theresa MAY to insist the UK to have the right to unilaterally pull out of any arrangement with just three months notice and six at the most. Irish Prime Minister Leo VARDAKAR rejected such an idea, saying that a backstop with a three-month limit on it, or an expiry date of that nature, “isn't worth the paper it's written on.” Irish Deputy Prime Minister Simon COVENEY urged Britain not to take for granted the chances of a breakthrough in Brexit negotiations in the coming days, while he played down reports that a deal is close.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which props up the UK Government warned that it will not hesitate to vote down a deal brought by Theresa MAY that does not meet their demands, even if a general election is forced.

The Brexit Secretary came under fire, when he admitted during a technology conference that he had not fully understood the importance between Dover and Calais trade route for food and medicine. 

UK Health Secretary Matt HANNOCK admitted that the Government is boosting its refrigerated capacity to store medicines in case there will be no deal.  

Immigration Minister Caroline NOKES, who was grilled earlier this month for her statement that controls on EU citizens could be triggered under a no-deal scenario, forced to a U-turn by confirming that employers will not have to carry out checks on EU nationals working in Britain under this scenario.

Meantime, in a letter organised by the People's Vote campaign 70 business leaders called on UK Prime Minister Theresa MAY for a second referendum, as they warned that a “destructive hard Brexit” would damage the UK economy.

According to a new poll from Channel 4 and Survation, voters would vote to remain in the EU by 54 per cent, compared to 46 per cent who would vote to leave the EU bloc.

EU chief negotiator Michel BARNIER visited Slovakia on 6 November where he met with the European Commission Representation in Bratislava and Prime Minister Peter PELLEGRINI and discussed the state of Brexit play. He also visited Helsinki, where he participated in the EPP Congress. In his speech, he warned that Europe now “has a Farage in every country” seeking to bring down the bloc with “populist deceit.” During his visit in Helsinki, he met with the Finnish President Sauli NIINISTÖ and Prime Minister Juha SIPILÄ. He reiterated that more work is needed in the negotiations, but reaffirmed determination to reach a deal.

UK MEPs have written an open letter to MEPs belonging to all political groups, calling for them to lend their support to the demand for more time in the talks to avoid a No Deal or a “Blind Brexit.”

Romania: EU affairs Minister Victor NEGRESCU resigned just weeks before Romania takes over the EU Presidency on 1 January.

Sweden: A vote is expected to take place on 14 November on whether the leader of the centre-right Moderate Party, Ulf KRISTERSSON, will become the new Prime Minister. To do so, he needs to find coalition partners to get the required parliamentary majority.

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


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