Movers and Shakers | 15 May 2017

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

By Ifigenia Balkoura

15 May 2017

Today's Movers & Shakers are about:  Mariya Gabriel's nomination as European Commissioner, MEPs who are running as candidates in the national elections, public affairs appointments, the new French president, the reshuffle in the Finnish government, the resignation of the Austrian vice chancellor, Brexit and more.


European Parliament:


MEP news:
Theresa GRIFFIN (S&D, UK) was not selected as Labour’s candidate in Liverpool Walton for the up-coming the UK general election. Her fellow MEP Siôn SIMON lost in the West Midlands regional election on 4 May. EFFD group members Mike HOOKEM and Roger HELMER have announced that they are running in the general election.

Jean-Luc MELENCHON (GUE/NGL) also announced his candidacy in the French legislative elections in June.


Plenary session:
MEPs are heading off to Strasbourg from today (Monday 15) to Thursday 18 May. António GUTERRES, Secretary-General of the United Nations will address the Parliament on Wednesday.


European Commission:

College of Commissioners: Bulgaria has nominated Mariya GABRIEL as its new Commissioner. Mrs GABRIEL is expected to sit down for an initial interview with President JUNCKER this week or next. Read More


Cabinet of Commissioner KATAINEN: Marika LAUTSO-MOUSNI returned to the cabinet after a period of absence, assuming responsibility for the Single Market, Rule of Law, Justice and Enforcement. Her temporary replacement, Filomena CHIRICO, remains in the cabinet and takes up responsibility for Competitiveness, Job, Human Capital, Better regulation, Taxation and Customs. Following Hilde HARDEMAN’s appointment as Director of the FPI service, the deputy head position in the cabinet is currently vacant.


Committee of the Regions (CoR):


Incoming – 5 May 2017:


Cyprus: Kyprianos ANDRONIKOU (NI), Theodoros ANTONIOU AVVAS (NI)


Political groups:
PES Group: Markus TÖNS (DE) will step down from his regional mandate and consequently from his role as Vice-President of the Group to run as candidate in the upcoming national elections in Germany in September. A new Vice-President will be elected at the Group meeting on 12 July.


Public affairs:

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APCO Worldwide: Pablo ASBO joined the Brussels team as director. In his new role, he will be focusing on competition and anti-trust fields. Previously he was director of competition at Cabinet DN.

Committee for European Construction Equipment (CECE): Riccardo VIAGGI started his new role as Secretary-General on 8 May, succeeding Sigrid de VRIES. Before joining CECE, Mr VIAGGI was Secretary-General of the European Builders Confederation (EBC).

European Central Securities Depositories Association (ECSDA): Anna KULIK was appointed as the new Secretary General, taking over from Soraya BELGHAZI.


News in a nutshell:

Brexit: European Commission chief negotiator Michel BARNIER visited the Irish Parliament on Thursday 11 May. The borders issue was at the heart of the conversation, with BARNIER saying that “Ireland’s interest will be the EU’s interest”. He also insisted that the peace in Ireland is the EU’s priority when it comes to border negotiations, and warned that the UK’s departure from the EU bloc will not be without consequences. Read more.

Austria: Reinhold Mitterlehner resigned as Vice Chancellor and leader of conservative People's Party (OeVP). A party meeting was held on Sunday 14 May at which Sebastian KURZ, Austria’s foreign minister, announced that he had assumed leadership of the OeVP and there would be elections held in the Autumn. It should also be noted that Austria will be holding the EU rotating Presidency in the second half of 2018.  

Czech Republic: Finance minister Andrej BABIS proposed Alena SCHILLEROVA to replace him, in an attempt to end the political crisis. In a letter to the prime minister, he also proposed that Richard BRABEC, environment minister, is made deputy prime minister. The nomination has now to be approved by president Milos ZEMAN, who is currently on a trip in China.

Finland: A mini reshuffle saw Antti HÄKKÄNEN entering the government and taking over the justice portfolio from Jari LINDSTRÖM, who remains minister for labour. Former MEP Sampo TERHO joined the cabinet as European affairs minister and took over the culture and sports portfolio from Sanni GRAHN-LAASONEN, who remains in charge of education.  Jari LEPPÄ succeeded replaced Kiimo TIILIKAINEN’s post as agriculture and forestry minister, while the latter was assigned the energy and housing portfolio in addition to the environment one.

France: Emmanuel MACRON was elected as the new President after winning 66.1 per cent of the votes, defeating Marine LE PEN. The new president was sworn in on 14 May. The first round of the legislative elections will take place on 11 June and the runoff on 18 June. President Antonio TAJANI invited MACRON to address the European Parliament’s plenary session. Read more.
MACRON announced the change of his party’s name from ‘En Marche’ to ‘Republique en Marche’ (Republic on the Move) and announced the names of its 428 candidates for the legislative elections. Most of them have never held public office, and half the candidates are women

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


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