Movers and Shakers | 15 January 2018

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

By Ifigenia Balkoura

15 Jan 2018

Today's Movers & Shakers are about: the date of the next European elections, MEPs' news, the official launch of the Bulgarian presidency, loads of new appointments in the European Commission and public affairs, the new president of the Eurogroup, new heads of missions to the EU, the reshuffle in the UK and Polish cabinets, the Czech presidential elections, the date of the parliamentary elections in Hungary, the coalition talks in Germany, Brexit and more. 


European Parliament:

2019 elections:
The conference of presidents has decided the next European elections will take place 23-26 May 2019. The proposal will now be sent to the Council.

Latest in the Parliament:
Denouncement of Vice-President CZARNECKI:

In a joint letter to President Antonio TAJANI (EPP, IT), the leaders of the EPP, S&D, ALDE and Greens/EFA groups denounced a comment by Vice-President of the Parliament Rycszard CZARNECKI (ECR, PL) against Polish EPP group member Roza THUN. In a blogpost, CZARNECKI branded THUN as “szmalcownik”, a term used to indicate someone who is collaborating with the Nazis and betraying Jews. He has so far refused to apologise.
The presidents urged TAJANI to take action, as this behavior is against the House’s principals.

European Youth Event:
The European Parliament is looking for young reporters to cover the event and its activities and highlight the ideas discussed in a report, which is meant to inspire the MEPs and provide them with a view of young people’s concerns, ideas and perspectives. The deadline for applications is 21 January.

Political groups:
ECR: Jana ŽITŇANSKÁ (SK) switched from bureau member to member of the group, replacing Branislav ŠKRIPEK (SK).

MEPs’ news:
In an interview to the Irish Examiner, Seán KELLY (EPP, IE) revealed that he is considering running for president and that he would be honoured if been selected.

MEPs are in Strasbourg for the first plenary of the year from Monday 15 to Thursday 18 January.
MEPs will vote on a raft of energy proposals and debate the future of the EU during the first plenary session of the year, next week in Strasbourg.

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Composition of the committees and delegations:

Michael DETJEN (S&D, DE) joined the committee on transport and tourism (TRAN) and the delegation to the EU-Montenegro stabilisation and association parliamentary committee (D-ME).
Milan ZVER (EPP, SI) joined the delegation to the EU-Montenegro stabilisation and association parliamentary committee (D-ME), replacing Alojz PETERLE (EPP, SI).
Udo BULLMANN (S&D, DE) LEFT the committee on transport and tourism (TRAN).
Joëlle BERGERON (EFDD, FR) joined the delegation for relations with the countries of Central America (D-CAM).


European Commission:

Communications Networks, Content and Technology Directorate-General (DG CNECT):

Directorate A – Digital Industry: Lucilla SIOLI, previously Head of Unit F4 (Digital Economy and Skills), becomes Director of Directorate A. She takes over from Deputy Director-General Khalil ROUHANA, who held the post on an interim basis.
Directorate B – Electronic Communications Networks and Services: Carlota REYNERS FONTANA becomes Head of Unit B5 (Investment in High-Capacity Networks), taking over from Hervé DUPUY, Deputy Head of Unit, who held the role in an acting capacity. Ms REYNERS FONTANA was previously Deputy Head of Unit B4 (Radio Spectrum Policy).
Directorate E – Future Networks: Pearse O’DONOHUE has been appointed as Director of Directorate E, a position he previously held only on an acting basis. Mr O’DONOHUE has vacated his previous role as Head of Unit E2 (Cloud and Software), which is now held on an interim basis by Pierre CHASTANET, Deputy Head of Unit E2.
Directorate F – Digital Single Market: Following Lucilla SIOLI’s departure for Directorate A, Alexander RIEDL, Deputy Head of Unit F4 (Digital Economy and Skills), becomes Head of that Unit on an acting basis.
Directorate I – Media Policy: Marco GIORELLO has been appointed Head of Unit I2 (Copyright), a position he previously held on an acting basis.

Human Resources and Security Directorate-General (DG HR):
Directorate B – Talent Management and Diversity: Klaus AHREND, previously Head of English Language at the Translation Directorate-General, becomes Head of Unit B3 (Learning and Development), taking over from Christian LEVASSEUR, Director of Directorate B, who was holding the position on an interim basis.

Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Directorate-General (DG GROW):
Directorate I – Space Policy and Research: A new Unit, Unit I5, has been formed within Directorate I, sharing responsibility for Defence with Unit I4. Sylvia KAINZ-HUBER, formerly Deputy Head of Unit I4, heads up the new Unit on an acting basis, leaving her former role as Deputy of I4 vacant.

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

International Cooperation and Development Directorate-General (DG DEVCO):
Directorate B – People and Peace: Daniele D’AMICO departs for Directorate R, leaving Deputy Head of Unit Eric GIDROL as Acting Head of Unit B6 (Finance and Contracts).
Directorate C – Planet and Prosperity: Following Roberto RIDOLFI’s move to become DEVCO’s Principal Adviser, Head of Unit C1 (Rural Development, Food Security, Nutrition) Leonard MIZZI steps in as Acting Director.
Directorate R – Resources: Daniele D’AMICO, previously of Directorate B, becomes Head of Unit R1 (Planning, Budget and Reporting), taking over from Deputy Head of Unit Yves TIELEMANS, who has held the role on an acting basis.

Joint Research Council (JRC):
Directorate I – Competences: Unit R10 (Information and Communication Technology) becomes Unit I5 (Advanced Computing and ICT Support). The Unit continues to be headed by Philippe BIERLAIRE.
Directorate R – Resources: Units R4 (Maintenance and Utilities) and R9 (Infrastructure Development) have been restructured. Unit R4 is now responsible for Infrastructure, and is led by Francois AUGENDRE (formerly Head of Unit R9). Unit R5 is now responsible for Safety and Security, and is headed by Marinus STROOSNUJDER on an acting basis. Mr STROOSNUJDER is Head of Department I, the coordinating function between Units I6, I7, and the newly structured R3, R4 and R5. The previous Head of Unit R4, Maurizo BAVETTA (who held the role on an acting basis), returns to his role as Deputy Head of Unit.
Due to this restructure, several other Units within Directorate R have been renamed, and are as follows: Unit R6 has responsibility for Resource Management (Geel); Unit R7 has responsibility for Resource Management (Karlsruhe); Unit R8 has responsibility for Finance and Procurement, and Unit R9 has responsibility for Budget and Accounting. Unit R10, the temporary Unit led by JRC’s HR Business Correspondent Patrice LEMAITRE, which was responsible for Organisation and Staff Development, has been dissolved.

Secretariat-General (SG):
Directorate R – Resources: Following Chris CURRAN’s departure for Directorate B, Director of Directorate R Tatjana VERRIER steps in as Acting Head of Unit R1 (HR Business Correspondent, Finance, Corporate Training).

Trade Directorate-General (DG TRADE):
Directorate A – Resources, Information and Policy Coordination: Lutz GUELLNER, Head of Unit A3 (Information, Communication and Civil Society), moves to EEAS, leaving the position vacant.
Directorate F – WTO Affairs, Legal Affairs and Trade in Goods: Myrto ZAMBARTA becomes Head of Unit F1 (WTO Coordination, OECD, Export Credits and Dual Use), a position that was previously vacant. Ms ZAMBARTA was previously Deputy Head of Unit B1.

Translation Directorate-General (DGT):
Directorate D – Translation: Martin TURLEY becomes Acting Head of the English Language Department, following Klaus AHREND’s move to DG HR. Mr TURLEY is currently Head of Unit EN1.

High-Level Multi-Stakeholder Platform:
Francesco Starace, CEO and General Manager of Enel, was appointed as a member of Platform on the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


European External Action Service (EEAS):

General Affairs: Lutz GUELLNER, previously of DG TRADE, becomes Head of Division for Strategic Communications, taking over from Silvio GONZATO, Director of General Affairs, who was holding the position on an interim basis. Mr GUELLNER leaves his previous position as Head of Unit A3 at DG TRADE vacant.


Bulgarian presidency:

The official launch of Bulgaria’s EU Council presidency took place on Thursday 11 January. The college of European Commissioners as well as president of the Parliament Antonio TAJANI headed to Sofia to attend the ceremony.  Scroll down for a link to the Parliament Magazine's coverage of the event.

Dods EU Monitoring team have prepared a guide outlining the priorities and useful contacts of the Bulgarian Presidency. Download the report.

In case you missed it, here’s a little refresher on what Bulgarian MEPs expect from the presidency.

The launch was marked by a large-scale demonstration by thousands of protesters in the country’s capital objecting to alleged corruption and the decision to permit a ski resort and commercial logging in Pirin National Park.



Mário CENTENO’s (PT) term as president of Eurogroup will officially start on 13 January, succeeding Jeroen DIJSSELBLOEM. Mr CENTENO starts his mandate as chairman of the Board of Governors of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) at the same time.

Missions to the EU:

The following Ambassadors to the European Union have sent letters of credentials to President of the European Council Donald TUSK:
Principality of Andorra: Esther RABASA GRAU, Ambassador and Head of mission.
Lebanon: Fadi HAJALI, Ambassador and Head of mission.
Guinea-Bissau: Apolinario MENDES DE CARVALHO, Ambassador and Head of mission.


Public affairs:

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CERRE, the Centre on Regulation in Europe: Per-Olof GRANSTRÖM was appointed as director, energy. Prior to his appointment, he was Secretary-General of EDSO for Smart Grids, Vice-Chairman of the Global Smart Grids Federation, director of European affairs at Vattenfall, executive Vice President at Svensk Energi/Swedenergy and Vice-President/Director of Trade at Nord Pool.

Rasmussen Global: bolstered its Brussels team and services by appointed Nina SCHICK as director for data and polling. The consultancy hired Jonas PARELLO-PLESNER as senior advisor, who will be focusing on EU-China relations and investments flows. Henrik OVERGAARD MADSEN also joined the team as senior business adviser with focus on the Nordics.


News in a nutshell:

Brexit: Theresa MAY reshuffled her cabinet on Monday 8 January. However, the reshuffle came with no surprises in the most crucial departments for negotiations. David DAVIS’ team was bolstered with the appointment of Suela FERNANDES as parliamentary under-secretary of state. For the full details of the reshuffle visit the PoliticsHome live blog.
The UK prime minister is reportedly planning to appoint  a dozen new peers, which is more than the recommended numbers,  in a bid to boost the Government’s chances of its Brexit bill passing through the upper chamber.
Leader of opposition Jeremy CORBYN, is facing a major rebellion from his Labour MPs after more than 20 backed an amendment to the Government's Trade Bill demanding that the option of remaining in the customs union be kept on the table.
European Commission president Jean-Claude JUNCKER said that there will not be a second referendum and the UK’s exit is inevitable. Commission’s spokesperson Margaritis SCHINAS reacting to David DAVIS letter to Theresa MAY on “no deal” said that the Commission is surprised that the UK is surprised that it is preparing for this scenario, which was announced by the UK government itself.
Former leader of UKIP and current MEP Nigel FARAGE said that he could back a second vote “to finish the whole thing off”. However, according to a new ComRes survey, if a second referendum was held, 55 per cent would vote to remain in the EU and 45 per cent to leave – compared to the 52 per cent who voted in the favour of Brexit in the June 2016 referendum.
Responding to EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel BARNIER’s comment that the UK would get no special treatment for the City of London, Chancellor Philip HAMMOND and David DAVIS joined forces to argue a trade deal which includes financial services was integral to the “bespoke” arrangement the UK wants.
According to a new independent economic analysis , commissioned by the mayor of London, a hard Brexit deal would see a loss of £50bn in investment. The report warned of a "lost decade".

Czech Republic: Current president Miloš ZEMAN got 38.6 per cent of the votes in the first round of the president elections. He will now face Jiří DRAHOŠ in the run-off on 26-27 January.

Hungary: the parliamentary elections will be held on 8 April, it was announced.

Poland: a reshuffle which took place earlier this week saw major changes in the composition of the Polish government. Teresa CZERWIŃSKA was appointed as the new finance minister, a role that was previously held by newly appointed prime minister Mateusz MORAWIECKI. She was previously undersecretary of state at the ministry of finance. Interior and administration minister Mariusz BŁASZCZAK succeeded Antoni MACIEREWITZ as minister for national defence. Foreign minister Witold WASZCZYKOWSKI was replaced by Jacek CZAPUTOWICZ.
The new Polish prime minister met with Jean-Claude JUNCKER on 10 January. However, the meeting failed to find a breakthrough in the impasse between the EU and Poland.

You can access all updated information on the reshuffled cabinets, via our database.

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


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