Movers and Shakers | 16 July 2018

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

By Ifigenia Balkoura

16 Jul 2018

Today's Movers & Shakers are about: the latest appointments in the European Commission, the European elections, the new US ambassador to the EU, the week's public affairs  appointments, Brexit and more.


European Parliament:

Composition of the political groups:
ECR group:
Bernd KÖLMEL (DE) and Peter LUNDGREN (SE) were appointed as bureau members.

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Composition of the committees and delegations:

Romeo FRANZ (Greens/EFA, DE) joined the committee on Culture and Education (CULT), replacing Ian HUDGHTON (Greens/EFA, UK).
Martin SCHIRDEWAN (GUE/NGL, DE) joined the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO), replacing Thomas HÄNDEL (GUE/NGL, DE).


Interview with Ilhan KYUCHYUK:

Bulgarian MEP Ilhan KYUCHYUK  talked to the Parliament Magazine about Brexit, Balkans, and battling populists. Read the interview here.


Get to know:

Ana GOMES (S&D, PT) in 5 questions. 
Mrs GOMES has been an MEP since 2004 and is a Vice-Chair of the special committee on financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance (TAXE3).


European elections:

Ska KELLER (DE), Co-Chair of the Greens/EFA group, has announced her candidacy to become the next European Commission President.
European Commissioner for employment, social affairs, skills and labour mobility Marianne THYSSEN announced that she will quit politics at the end of her current mandate.


European Commission:

Budget (BUDG):

Gert-Jan KOOPMAN, was appointed as the new Director-General of the Budget department, effective 1 August. He will replace Nadia CALVIÑO, who became minister of economy and enterprise in the new Spanish government. Mr KOOPMAN is currently deputy Director-General of the DG for competition.

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Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG CONNECT):


Morten FJALLAND, currently head of unit, research strategy and programme coordination in Directorate D – policy strategy and outreach was appointed as the new director for resources and support (R) as of 16 July. He will replace Ingrid MARIËN-DUSAK, who is acting in the role.

Economic and Financial Affairs (ECFIN):
Outi SLOTBOOM was appointed as Head of Secretariat of the EFC and EPC, replacing Stefan PFLÜGER, who was acting in the role.
Directorate E- Economies of the Member States III: Dino PINELLI was appointed as acting head of unit, Finland, Hungary and Slovenia, replacing Outi SLOTBOOM.

Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (DG EMPL):
Directorate C – Social affairs: Olivier BONTOUT was appointed as acting head of unit, social investment strategy, replacing Manuela GELENG.
Directorate E – Skills: Manuela GELENG, who is also acting director of Directorate C – Social affairs, was appointed as director, replacing Ann BRANCH, who was acting in the role.

Human Resources and Security (DG HR):
Norman JARDINE was appointed as principal adviser as of 16 July.

Secretariat-General (SG):
Céline GAUER, currently deputy Director-General of the DG for Health and Food Safety (SANTE) was appointed as new deputy Secretary-General. She will become the third female deputy Secretary-General.

Representations in the member states:
: Francisco FONSECA MORILLO, currently deputy Director-General in the DG for Justice and Consumers (JUST) was appointed as the new head of the Commission's Representation in Madrid as of 1 September. He will take over from Juergen FOECKING.


Missions to the EU:

Gordon D. SONDLAND, Ambassador, Head of the Mission of the United States of America to the EU presented his credentials to President of the European Council Donald TUSK on 9 July. He replaces Anthony GARDNER who resigned in January 2017. 


Public affairs:

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Cambre associates: Feriel SAOULI was promoted to chief operating officer.

Euros/Agency: bolstered its Brussels team with two new hires. Jenna LUCHMAN joined from Weber Shandwick Brussels as senior advisor in the European public affairs department, where she will be working closely with Tanguy LAUDELOUT in several sectors, including transport, environment, digital and trade. Sloan MOREAU also joins as senior advisor and business development manager in the same department. He joins from Eamonn Bates and in his new role he will be supporting Jean-François PASCAL and providing public affairs and political support to clients, in relation to trade associations and public diplomacy.

International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA): Alan MELIA was appointed as technical adviser – diving.


News in a nutshell:

Brexit: Following the resignation of UK Brexit secretary, Boris JOHNSON also stepped down from his role as foreign secretary, in protest at the Government’s blueprint Brexit strategy. In his resignation letter, he said that “the dream is dying, suffocated by needless self-doubt”, and he added that the UK is heading to the status of colony of Brussels.  Health secretary Jeremy HUNT was named as the new foreign secretary. Theresa MAY suffered another blow after two vice-chairs of her Conservative party quit over the Chequers summit, and could even face the prospect of a motion of confidence in her leadership after angry pro-Brexit Conservative MPs reportedly gave her a week to drop the deal.

Meanwhile, the UK government published its long-awaited Brexit White Paper on 12 July. The 120-page document suggests an association agreement with a “common rule book” on regulations, entering into a free trade area for goods and striking a so-called "facilitated customs arrangement" with Brussels in order to avoid a hard border in Ireland. The White Paper also says that citizens coming to Britain from the continent will be allowed to "travel freely for tourism and temporary business activity" and that "the UK would seek reciprocal arrangements that would allow UK nationals to visit the EU without a visa for short-term business reasons and equivalent arrangements for EU citizens coming to the UK.

Following the publication of the White Paper, EU chief negotiator Michel BARNIER said that the EU27 and the European Parliament will analyse the document in the light of the European Council guidelines. He added that the EU had offered an ambitious Free Trade Agreement and effective cooperation on a wide range of issues, including a strong security partnership. EU27 will meet on 20 July at the general affairs council to discuss the document. A press briefing is scheduled for Thursday 19 July at 11.00 GMT.

The European Parliament’s Brexit Steering Group (BSG) welcomed the White Paper and the Chequers Statement as a step towards a new relationship between the UK and the EU and particularly the proposal for an Association Agreement, which is also BSG’s position. BSG stated its readiness to provide more input to the negotiations process and will further assess the document in the coming days.  

Michel BARNIER visited New York on 10 July, where he spoke at the European American Chamber of Commerce about Brexit and its implications on trade that will also affect the businesses of the US firms’ subsidiaries. He called on businesses to analyse the impacts of Brexit and prepare for the worst-case scenario of a "no deal", which would result in the return of tariffs, under WTO rules. However, he highlighted that the “no deal” scenario is not the EU’s objective, as it aims to reach an orderly withdrawal agreement by October. Regarding the financial sector, he reiterated that the UK financial institutions, including the US ones who have their hubs in London will lose their passporting rights. He concluded that “we will not change who we are as the European Union because the UK is leaving” and he added that the “EU is and will remain the most open market in the world.” Full speech here.

The US President Donald TRUMP visited the UK where he met with the UK prime minister. President TRUMP gave an interview to The Sun and said that the Chequers agreement has “probably killed” any hopes of a free trade deal between the UK and America, while he hailed the outgoing foreign secretary Boris JOHNSON, who resigned of Brexit as a” talented guy and great representative of the UK who would make a great prime minister.” Just hours after the Sun aired the intereview, Donald TRUMP insisted that it "will be absolutely possible" for the UK and US to strike a free trade agreement post-Brexit and branded the interview as "fake news". Theresa MAY later revealed that the US President advised her to "sue the EU" over Brexit.

Czech Republic: Jan KNĚŽÍNEK was appointed as the new minister for justice, following the resignation of Taťána MALÁ after two weeks in office in the wake of a plagiarism scandal in her university thesis. A vote of confidence to the new minority government was backed by the parliament on Wednesday 11 July, which will now be backed by the communist party on key votes.


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