Movers and Shakers | 17 January 2020


Today’s Movers & Shakers are about: Catalan MEP seat officially becomes vacant, the new Secretary-General of the Commission, Guy Verhofstadt to lead Conference on the Future of Europe, Plenary week highlights, latest Commission, public affairs appointments, and more!


European Parliament

Given the decision of the Spanish Electoral Commission of 3 January and the decision of the Spanish Supreme Court of 9 January, Parliament has declared that Oriol JUNQUERAS’ seat is now vacant in accordance with the rules of procedure.

Meanwhile, Parliament ruled that Catalan separatist leaders Carles PUIGDEMONT and Toni COMIN did not hold any office incompatible with that of Member of the European Parliament and could take their seats and would enjoy all attendant rights. However, Spanish authorities have forwarded a request to waive the immunity of both PUIGDEMONT and COMIN in relation to their ongoing criminal proceedings.

After leaving the Brexit Party and announcing their support for the Conservative Party in the UK elections last month, UK MEPs Lucy Elizabeth HARRIS, Annunziata REES-MOGG, Lance FORMAN and John LONGWORTH have ceased to be non-attached members and have joined the ECR Group.

Committees and Delegations

Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE)
Lukas MANDL (EPP, AT) joins as a member, replacing Karoline EDTSTADLER.

Industry, Research and Energy Committee (ITRE)
Beata SZYDŁO has replaced Geoffrey VAN ORDEN as a member.

Petitions Committee (PETI)
Alex AGIUS SALIBA (S&D, MT) has been elected as the coordinator representing the Socialists and Democrats Group to replace Jude KIRTON-DARLING (UK).

Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee (FEMM)
Alexander BERNHUBER (EPP, AT), who was formerly a substitute, has left the committee and has been replaced by Angelika WINZIG.

Korean Peninsula Delegation (D-KOR)
Lukas MANDL (EPP, AT) joins as a member, replacing Karoline EDTSTADLER.

Latin American Delegation (D-LAT)
Isabel BENJUMEA joins as a substitute.

United States Delegation (D-US)
Ioan-Rareş BOGDAN becomes a member, replacing Gheorghe-Vlad NISTOR who moves to substitute.

Plenary highlights

On Wednesday the Parliament voted on the size of its committees and sub-committees after Brexit. The list of members will be finalised after new composition of the Parliament has been confirmed, but numbers will be as follows:

Foreign Affairs (AFET) - 71

Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI) - 48

Budgets (BUDG) - 41

Culture and Education (CULT) - 31

Development (DEVE) - 26

Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) - 60

Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL)  - 55

Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) - 81 (+5)

Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) - 45

International Trade (INTA) - 43 (+2)

Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) - 78 (+6)

Legal Affairs (JURI) - 25

Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) - 68

Regional Development (REGI) - 43

Transport and Tourism (TRAN) - 49

Constitutional Affairs (AFCO) - 28

Fisheries (PECH) - 28

 Petitions (PETI) - 35

Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) - 35

Budgetary Control (CONT) - 30

Human Rights (DROI) - 30

Security and Defence (SEDE) – 30

On the same day, MEPs adopted a resolution calling to ensure the protection of EU and UK citizen’s rights after Brexit. The adopted text calls for information campaigns to be launched to prepare citizens and urges governments in member states to adopt consistent and generous measures to provide legal certainty for UK citizens residing in their territory.

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej PLENKOVIĆ also presented the priorities of the country’s Council presidency under the motto “A Strong Europe in a World of Challenged”. He outlined that the Croatian presidency would focus on an agreement on the new Multiannual Financial Framework, the orderly withdrawal of the UK from the European Union, organising the EU-Western Balkans summit in May and preparing the Conference on the Future of Europe.

On Thursday the Conference of Presidents decided on the composition of the Executive Coordination Committee of the Conference on the Future of Europe, the body which Parliament believes should be responsible for steering its day-to-day work. Guy VERHOFSTADT (RE, BE),  who is currently coordinator and chair of the Brexit Steering Group in the European Parliament, has been confirmed as the President of the Conference on the Future of Europe, asfter a deal between Parliament leaders. Manfred WEBER (EPP, DE) and a yet unnamed MEP from the S&D and group will be VERHOFSTADT’s deputies.

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European Commission


Competition (COMP)
Kris DEKEYSER takes over from Cecilio MADERO VILLAREJO as deputy director for Antitrust in an acting capacity.
Svend ALBAEK is replaced by Pierre REGIBEAU as chief economist.
Gereon THIELE is the head of the new unit 6 (Agriculture and Fisheries) in Directorate H.

European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)
Andreas PAPACONSTANTINOU is the new director or Directorate C (Neighbourhood and Middle East), replacing Juha AUVINEN who was serving in the role in an acting capacity.
Charles PIROTTE replaces Kim ELING as head of unit E1 (International and Interinstitutional Relations, Legal Framework) in an acting capacity.

Statistics (EUROSTAT)
Solveiga EIDUKYNAITĖ-GERARD leaves the position of HR Business Correspondent, leaving a vacant position.
Ruxandra ROMAN ENESCU replaces Christian GOEDERT as head of unit E3 (Transport) in an acting capacity.
Axel BEHRENS replaces August GÖTZFRIED as head of unit G3 (Business cycle; Short-term statistics) in an acting capacity.

Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union (FISMA)
John BERRIGAN, who is currently deputy director general, takes on the role of director general in an acting capacity following the departure of Olivier GUERSENT from the DG to take on the role of director general in DG COMP.

After three candidates put their names forward for the role of Commission secretary general, current acting secretary general Ilze JUHANSONE has now been appointed to the role with immediate effect. JUHANSONE had stood against Jean-Eric PAQUET, who currently leads DG RTD (Research and Innovation), and Daniel CALLEJA CRESPO, current head of the environment department.

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

EU Institutions and Agencies

European Investment Bank
Thomas ÖSTROS (SE), economist and CEO of the Swedish Bankers’ Association, has been appointed vice-president. He will succeed Alexander STUBB (FI) whose mandate ends later this month.

Public Affairs

Eni Spa
Daniele D’ANGELO has joined the team in the EU Representative office. D’ANGELO was previously at ENGIE working in the EU Public Affairs and Communication office.

European Forest Institute
Valérie MERCKX has been appointed as head of the FLEGT and REDD Unit with immediate effect.

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National News

Minister for Environment and Water resources Neno DIMOV has resigned from the role following the announcement he was facing charges of criminal mismanagement, due to water shortages in Pernik. United Patriots MP Emil DIMITROV will replace DIMOV.

Prime minister Kyriakos MITSOTAKIS has nominated Aikaterini SAKELLAROPOULOU, president of the council of state which is Greek’s highest court, for the role of Greek President. This is the first time a woman has been proposed for the role.

Leo VARADKAR has announced that an early general election will take place on the 8 February 2020.

The Labour Party elected Robert ABELA as the new leader and Prime Minister. ABELA replaces Joseph MUSCAT.

Over the weekend President Klaus IOHANNIS and Prime Minister Ludovic ORBAN advocated for an early general election to be held.

Prime Minister Pedro SANCHEZ’s coalition government was sworn in on Monday. The coalition between the Socialist Party and the far-left Podemos consists of twenty-two ministers, four of which are also deputy prime ministers.

For a full breakdown of the Spanish coalition government, go to

United Kingdom
After three years of political deadlock, the Northern Irish Assembly has been re-instated. The Democratic Unionist Party’s Arlene FOSTER is first minister. Vice-president of Sinn Fein Michelle O’NEILL will be the deputy first minister. The two roles are considered equal despite the titles.


Read the most recent articles written by Mia Bartoloni and Megan MacDougall - Movers and Shakers | 9 April 2020


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