Movers and Shakers | 13 March 2017

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

By Ifigenia Balkoura

13 Mar 2017

Today's Movers & Shakers are about: the re-election of Donald TUSK as President of the European Council, the new Vice-Chairs of ECON committee, the international women's day, the European Shipping Week, latest appointments in the Commission and public affairs, the new Austrian health minister, Brexit and more.

European Parliament:

Composition of the committees and the delegations:

The following MEPs were elected* as Vice-Chairs of the economic and monetary affairs committee (ECON):
2nd Vice-Chair: Peter SIMON (S&D, DE)
3rd Vice-Chair: Kay SWINBURNE (ECR, UK)
4th Vice-Chair: Ludek NIEDERMAYER (EPP, CZ)

*The vote was suspended back in January due to gender and nationality imbalance.

Fernando RUAS (EPP, PT) joined the delegation for relations with Mercosur (D-MER) and the Delegation to the Euro-Latin American parliamentary assembly (D-LAT).

Norbert ERDŐS (EPP, HU) joined the committee on fisheries (PECH).
Jutta STEINRUCK (S&D, DE) left the committee on the internal market and consumer protection (IMCO).
Morten LØKKEGAARD (ALDE, DK) joined the committee on industry, research and energy (ITRE), replacing Jens ROHDE (ALDE, DK).

Get to know:
Miriam DALLI (S&D, MT) in 5 questions.

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MEPs’ news:
EU asylum policy: Cecilia WIKSTRÖM (ALDE, SE) called for an end to ad hoc responses to Europe's migrant crisis. Speaking on Tuesday, she said the increased migration flows to Europe and the thousands of refugee children currently missing throughout Europe show the limits of the current EU asylum system. Read more.

EU disability act: Helga STEVENS (ECR, BE) and Igor ŠOLTES (Greens/EFA, SI) have called on their fellow MEPs to promote a strong and effective European accessibility act. The call, on Monday, came as the European Parliament's internal market and consumer protection committee was due to discuss the Commission's proposal for an accessibility act. Read more

Afzal KAHN (S&D, UK): put his name forward to become Labour’s candidate for the Manchester Gorton by-election.

Plenary session: MEPs are in Strasbourg from Monday 13 to Thursday 16 March.


European Commission:

Communications Networks, Content and Technology (CONNECT):

Directorate D – Policy Strategy and Outreach: Lorena BOIX ALONSO became head of unit ‘Policy implementation and planning’, replacing Manuel Mateo GOYET.

Directorate I – Media Policy: Giuseppe ABBAMONTE, currently director, was appointed as acting head of unit ‘Audiovisual and media services policies’, replacing Lorena BOIX ALONSO.

Marco GIORELLO was appointed acting head of unit ‘Copyright’, replacing Maria MARTIN-PRAT.

Taxation and Customs Union (DG TAXUD):
Maria Teresa FABREGAS FERNANDEZ was appointed as the new director for indirect taxation and tax administration as of 16 March, replacing Donato RAPONI who was acting the role. Ms FABREGAS FERNANDEZ is currently head of the financial markets unit in DG FISMA.

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

European Council:

Donald TUSK was re-elected as president of the European Council and the Euro Summit for a second term of two and a half years, starting from 1 June 2017 to 30 November 2019. TUSK’s native Poland was the only member state to object to his re-election. Read more.

Earlier last week, Polish EPP MEP Jacek SARYUSZ-WOLSKI, who is a member of the Civic Platform (PO) party in Poland, took the unusual step of accepting the nomination of Poland's ruling Law and Justice party to run against TUSK. The acceptance of the nomination caused some friction in the EPP group and on Monday there was widespread speculation that he would be excluded from the group. However, he was stripped of his title as EPP Vice-Chair. Read more.


Permanent Representations:

United Kingdom: Katrina WILLIAMS  was appointed as the new Deputy Permanent Representative and Simon CASE as the new Director-General for the UK-EU partnership.


International Women’s Day:

8 March marked the International Women’s day. Marches, events and activities took place all over the world to celebrate the day. European justice, consumers and gender equality Commissioner Věra JOUROVÁ talked to the Parliament Magazine about the gender pay gap and why encouraging women's political participation would benefit everyone. "Taking together all inequalities in pay, employment, and working hours, women earn 40 per cent less than men on average. The financial crisis has hit women harder; now that the economy is recovering we should ensure that growth means economic empowerment for everyone", she said. Read the full interview.

Barbara MATERA (EPP, IT), a Vice-Chair of the Parliament's women's rights and gender equality committee (FEMM) said on the occasion “as a woman, I strongly urge the entire international community, civil society and every human being to consider International Women's Day, not as one day out of the year, but rather as an example of a daily way of life, as a final goal to reach, where women are equal at every level, sphere and scale.” Read more.

João PIMENTA LOPES (GUE/NGL, PT), another Vice-Chair of FEMM committee wrote about how right-wing policies harming gender equality. Read more.


European Shipping Week:

On 1 March the main conference of European Shipping Week 2017, a day-long debate on various topics across the maritime spectrum, took place. The conference was opened by MEP Karima DELLI (Greens/EFA, FR), Maltese Transport Minister Joe MIZZI and Director-General of DG MOVE Henrik HOLOLEI and was closed by a session of questions and answers with European transport Commissioner Violeta BULC. Throughout the day, panellists from the shipping industry, seafarers, ship-owners, container shippers, representatives of the cruise industry, opinion shapers, EU officials, company representatives and NGOs engaged in lively debates about the need for further simplification and digitalisation of the sector, stressing the social dimension, improving the attractiveness of the maritime profession and finding a solution to reduce maritime emissions. Read Dods EU Monitoring’s briefing.


Public Affairs:

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American Chamber of Commerce to the European Union: Aongus HEGARTY, president of Dell EMC in Europe, Middle East and Africa was elected as the new Chair of the executive council.

European Patient Office: Carl JOSEFSSON was appointed as the new President of the boards of appeal as of 1 March.


News in a nutshell:

Brexit: Theresa MAY suffered a fresh blow last week after the House of Lords overwhelmingly voted for Parliament to have a veto on the final Brexit deal. Peers voted by 366 to 268 in favour of an amendment which would give the Commons and Lords a "meaningful vote" on the agreement with Brussels. The blow came just six days after the Lords backed a separate amendment to the Article 50 bill calling on the Government to guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in Britain. Read more. Downing Street had earlier warned MPs minded to back the "meaningful vote" amendment that they risk encouraging the EU to give Britain a bad deal. Read more.

Former Tory leader and foreign secretary Lord William Hague, suggested the Prime Minister should call an early general election to provide her with a ”large and decisive Conservative majority” which would help her secure a better deal with the EU. Read more. Downing Street moved quickly to dismiss the possibility of a snap election, but the idea was backed by two cabinet ministers. One told The Times Mrs MAY "needs to go sooner rather than later”, while another - pointing at the current woes in the Labour party - added: “We may never get this sort of chance again and we don’t know what’s coming round the corner.” Read more.

In Scottish news, First Minister Nicola STURGEON said autumn 2018 would be the "common sense" time to hold another Scottish independence referendum. Read more. According to a new poll, the Scottish voters are evenly split on whether their country should quit the UK, which is an increase on previous polls.

Home Secretary Amber RUDD, shed more light on the government’s plan for after Brexit when she said maintaining the European Arrest Warrant was "absolutely essential" to allow suspects to be arrested and transferred across EU member states. Read more.

In other developments this week, Chancellor Philip HAMMOND delivered his Spring Budget on Wednesday 8 March, setting out his priorities for the economy as the UK prepares to leave the EU. Read his full speech.

Ahead of Theresa MAY’s Brexit trigger, Mark Mcclelland, head of research and political risk at Dods Research assessed the risks to both the UK and the EU in an article in the Parliament Magazine.

Austria: Pamela RENDI-WAGNER was appointed as the new minister for health and women’s affairs, replacing Sabine OBERHAUSER who passed away on Thursday 23 February, after suffering from abdominal cancer.

Czech Republic: President Milos ZEMAN announced that he will be running for a second term in office in next year’s elections.

Netherlands: general elections will be held on Wednesday 15 March.

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


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