Movers and Shakers | 14 May 2021

Today’s Movers & Shakers are about: New deputy director-general appointed in DG COMP, two new directors appointed in DG ECFIN, Cypriot Permanent Representative takes on new role, overview of the EPPO, caretaker government appointed in Bulgaria, and lots more!

By Mia Bartoloni

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

14 May 2021

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

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European Parliament

Parliament is expected to return to Strasbourg for the June plenary session after an absence of more than a year due to COVID-19 restrictions. President David Sassoli announced the decision to the secretaries-general of the political groups on Tuesday, and said that the epidemiological situation had improved sufficiently for MEPs to return the main seat however in-person staff presence will be reduced, and MEPs will be given the option to follow online if they choose to do so.

Political Groups

MEP Lars Patrick Berg (DE) has left his national party Alternative for Germany (AfD) and therefore leaves the ID group to sit in Parliament as a non-attached (NI) member. A member of Parliament since 2019, Berg stated that he was leaving the AfD party as its current policies, including support for German leaving the European Union, diverged from his own opinions. As he leaves the group, Berg will lose his seat on various parliamentary committees, including as member of the Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET), the Human Rights Sub-committee (DROI) and the Security and Defence Sub-committee (SEDE).  Berg’s departure from ID means that the group will now be represented by 73 MEPs, the same number as the Greens/EFA group.

European Commission

Directorates-General and Services

Competition (COMP)
Guillaume Loriot (FR) has been appointed deputy director-general for mergers and will take up the office as of 16 May. Loriot has broad knowledge of competition law enforcement, in particular in the areas of mergers in the private sector through experiences in the EU General Court and in the Commission where he has worked since 2002. Loriot is currently director for antitrust, mergers and state aid in digital, telecoms and media cases in the same DG. Prior to that, he served as a deputy head of cabinet to Commission vice-president and commissioner for competition policy, Joaquin Almunia between 2010 and 2014.

Economic and Financial Affairs (ECFIN)
Luc Tholoniat (FR) has been appointed director for economies of the member states II. Tholoniat has worked in the Commission for over 20 years, most recently as principal adviser for sustainable growth and the European Semester in the same DG. His prior assignments include the position of economic adviser to the former president of the Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, and the function of policy assistant to the former secretary-general of the Commission, Catherine Day. The date of effect will be determined later.
Giorgio Chiarion Casoni has been appointed director for InvestEU and the financial institutions with the date of effect also to be determined later. Similar to Tholoniat, Casoni has more than 20 years’ experience in the Commission, specifically within DG ECFIN. He is currently head of unit of ‘InvestEU implementation' where he manages a team responsible for designing and coordinating the set-up of the InvestEU Programme, including relations with implementing partners, new climate tracking, sustainability proofing and risk methodologies.

Infrastructure and Logistics – Brussels (OIB)
Marc Becquet replaces Guy Dorwart as head of service for management of real estate in an acting capacity.

Council of the European Union

Permanent Representations

Permanent Representative Nicholas Emiliou has been appointed advocate general of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) from 7 Ocotber 2021 to 6 October 2027 by the Representatives of the Governments of the EU Member States. His replacement will be announced at a later date.

Alan O’Brien is the new spokesperson of the Irish Permanent Representation to the EU, replacing Shane Sargeant.

Other EU Institutions and Agencies

European Agency for Safety and Health and Work (EU-OSHA)
The Management Board has selected Juan Menéndez-Valdés as its candidate to be the Agency’s new executive director.  He will now be invited to a hearing of the Employment Committee of the European Parliament before the Management Board makes its appointment decision.

European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA)
MEPs on the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) have approved the appointment of Petra Hielkema as chief of EIOPA with 54 votes in favour, none against, and 4 abstentions. Hielkema is currently serving as Director of Insurance Supervision at the central bank of the Netherlands.

European Public Prosecutor’s Office

Originally conceived in 1995 as a European legal area for the protection of the financial interests of the European communities, thirty years later the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) is now on the brink of action. Following a letter sent to EU Commissioner for Justice Dider Reynders and Commissioner for Budget and Administration Johannes Hahn, Chief Prosecutor Laura Kövesi has said the new judicial body will be ready to begin activities as of 1 June. So, what is the EPPO and how will it work?

The EPPO is intended as an independent prosecution office of the European Union and will have the competence to probe financial fraud of the EU budget which is currently estimated at €60bn a year. It is a voluntary project and as it stands, only 22 out of 27 Member States have signed up. Hungary, Poland, Sweden, Denmark and Ireland have opted out.

Spotlight on...Chief Prosectutor Laura Codruța Kövesi
Laura Codruța Kövesi was selected as the inaugural chief EU public prosecutor in October 2019 after succeeding over rival candidate French magistrate Jean-François Bohnert. Kövesi made her name in her homeland of Romania as head of the country’s anti-corruption body, the DNA. During her time with the DNA, Kövesi ignited an unprecedented anti-corruption drive which resulted in some of the country’s most powerful politicians being put behind bars between 2013 and 2018. While she was eventually ousted by the then-ruling party, Kövesi hasn’t stopped her fight against corruption.

Kövesi will be supported in her work by a prosecutor from each of the participating countries and 40 deputy prosecutors (of which ten have been approved so far). 

National News

President Rumen Radev has appointed his security and defence adviser, Stefan Yanev, to head a caretaker government after MPs voted in at last month’s elections failed to form a government. The caretaker government will have three deputy prime ministers: Galab Donev, Boyko Rashkov, and Atanas Pekanov. The economy portfolio will go to Kiril Petkov, and Asen Vassilev will take the finance portfolio. Velislav Minekov will lead on culture. The Caretaker government has taken office as of 12 May. Early parliamentary elections will be held on 11 July.

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