Movers and Shakers | 17 May 2016

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

By Ifigenia Balkoura

17 May 2016

European Parliament: 

Composition of the Parliament:

Janusz WOJCIECHOWSKI (ECR, PL) left his seat in the Parliament, effective 7 May following his appointment as Member of the European Court of Auditors (see bellow).

Philippe DE BACKER (ALDE, BE) also left the Parliament, as he was appointed as State Secretary in charge of the North Sea, Privacy and the Battle against Social fraud in the federal government. He is taking over from Bart TOMMELEIN, who left his position to become Minister for Budget and Energy in the Flemish government.

Lieve WIERINCK replaced Philippe DE BACKER.
Next in line to replace Mr WOJCIECHOWSKI is  Witold  WASZCZYKOWSKI, who is currently the Polish Foreign Minister, so the mandate may move to ex-MEP Urszula KRUPA (2004-09) but nothing has been confirmed.

Composition of the Political groups:
Marcus PRETZELL (DE), who was expelled from ECR group last month and was sitting with the non-attached members since then, has now joined ENF group. PRETZELL followed a different path from his Alternative for Germany party colleague Beatrix VON STORCH after she was defected from ECR and joined EFDD. ENF currently numbers 39 members and raises the number of countries from 8 to 9, surpassing EFFD by one.

Renato SORU (IT) was suspended from S&D after he was handed a three year jail sentence for tax evasion. He now sits with the non-attached members.

The chart bellow reflects the shake-up in the seat allocation:


National parties:
United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP): Nathan GILL (EFDD) was elected to the Welsh Assembly last week. According to the Parliament’s rules, his election does not disqualify him from holding a dual mandate but he had stated before the election he intended to stand down from his seat in Brussels.

Members of the Committees, Subcommittees and the Delegations:
Evžen TOŠENOVSKÝ (ECR, CZ) left the Delegation for relations with Japan (D-JP) and joined the Delegation for relations with the People's Republic of China (D-CN).

Rikke KARLSSON (ECR, DK) joined the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI).

Roberts ZĪLE (ECR, LV) left the Delegation for relations with the People's Republic of China (D-CN) and joined the Delegation for relations with Japan (D-JP).

Syed KAMALL (ECR, UK) left the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI).

Substitutes of the Committees, Subcommittees and the Delegations:
Eleni THEOCHAROUS (ECR, CY) joined the Delegation to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (D-ACP).

Branislav ŠKRIPEK (ECR, SK) left the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) and joined the Committee on Regional Development (REGI).

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Highlights of the plenary session:
New powers for Europol
: The European Parliament voted on new governance rules that strengthen the powers of the EU law enforcement agency.  The new regulation enables Europol to more easily set up specialised units in order to respond immediately to emerging terrorist threats, cybercrime and other forms of cross-border and organised crime. Read more.

Investigation into Alliance for Peace and Freedom (APF) party: Parliament launched a procedure to check the compliance of the political party with the founding principles of the EU, after receiving the required number of MEPs’ signatures. The Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO) will verify whether or not APF complies with the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law and at next stage will hear representatives from the party. AFCO’s proposal will then be submitted to the Parliament for a decision on the party’s compliance and funding eligibility.


European Commission:

Commissioners’ cabinets:
Corina CREŢU cabinet
: Ioana RUS switched from member to Deputy Head of Cabinet, while Mihaela Maria CIUCIUREANU became Member of Cabinet – Cabinet Expert from Deputy Head of Cabinet to member.

Directorates General:
Economic and Financial Affairs (ECFIN):

Directorate E – Economies of the Member States III: Jose Luis ROBLEDO-FRAGA leaves his role as Adviser for the Directorate.

International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO):
Stefano MANSERVISI will become Director-General on 16 May 2016. Mr MANSERVISI will move from the European External Action Service (EEAS) where he serves as Head of Cabinet for the High Representative/ Vice-President Federica MOGHERINI.

Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union (FISMA):
Directorate B – Investment and Company Reporting: Erik NOOTEBOOM became acting Director, replacing Ugo BASSI who moved to Directorate C. NOOTEBOOM retains his position as Head of Unit for Accounting and Financial Reporting in Directorate B.
Directorate C – Financial Markets: Ugo BASSI became Director, replacing Martin MERLIN who moved to Directorate D.
Directorate D – Regulation and Prudential Supervision of Financial Institutions: Martin MERLIN became Director, replacing Mario NAVA who moved to Directorate E.
Directorate E – Financial System Surveillance and Crisis Management: Mario NAVA became Director, replacing Deputy Director-General Jon BERRIGAN who was acting in the role.

Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (NEAR):
Genoveva RUIZ CALAVERA will become Director of ‘Western Balkans’ as of 1 June 2016.

Office for Infrastructure and Logistics – Brussels (OIB):
Logistics and Services Directorate: Cristina Querol CARCELLER became Head of Unit, replacing Pierre-Olivier BRINDELS who was acting in the role and continues as Head of Unit for Budget, Public Procurement, Internal Control and Programming.

Secretariat-General (SG):
Tatjana VERRIER will become Director ‘Resources’ as of 1 June 2016. Ms VERRIER is currently Head of Unit, Strategy, Delivery and Evaluation at DG Competition (COMP).

Research and Innovation (RTD):
Deputy Director-General – Research Programmes Directorates: Director-General Robert-Jan SMITS became acting Deputy Director General following Rudolf STROHMEIER’s move to the Publication Office on 1 May 2016.
Directorate B – Open Innovation and Open Science: Deputy Director-General Wolfgang BURTSCHER became acting Director, replacing Peter DRÖLL.
Directorate D – Industrial Technologies: Peter DRÖLL became Director, replacing Rudolf STROHMEIER who was acting in the role.

Spokesperson’s Service:
: Giulia KOMEL joined the team as an additional Press Officer.

Special Advisers to the President, Vice-Presidents and Commissioners:
Vice-President Kristalina GEORGIEVA
: Arjen W.H. MEIJ began his role as Special Adviser (Président du Conseil de Discipline), replacing Renate JAEGER.
Vice-President Valdis DOMBROVSKIS: Pierre LEPETIT began his role as Special Adviser (public administration reform in selected member states).

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NEW ROLE: former Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth (2004-09), Ján FIGEĽ was appointed Special Envoy for the promotion of freedom of religion or belief outside the European Union on 6 May 2016 by President JUNCKER. This role was created in light of the European Parliament Resolution of 4 February 2016 (a resolution on the systematic mass murder of religious minorities by the so-called ‘ISIS/Daesh’) and seeks to promote and protect religious freedoms outside of the EU in the context of the Union’s dialogue and assistance programmes with third countries. The Special Envoy will serve as Special Adviser to the Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven MIMICA.
He will take up the Special Envoy role for an initial one-year mandate, though the mandate has scope for renewal. As part of this role Mr FIGEĽ will produce a report in the context of the on-going dialogue between the Commission and religious communities and organisations, which is led by First Vice-President Frans TIMMERMANS.


Council of the European Union

General Secretariat:
Directorate-General A – Security, Safety, Communication and Information Systems: Francis MORGAN became Director, Security Office.


Permanent Representations:

Italy: Carlo CALENDA left his post as Permanent Representative to become the new Minister of Economic Development (see bellow). Maurizio MASSARI, who was previously Ambassador to Egypt will succeed him. Mr MASSARI is the third Representative since March.     


European Court of Auditors (ECA):

The ECA appointed four new members, and reappointed one, for a 6-year term starting 7 May 2016. Their chambers and specific duties will be decided by the College of Members in the coming weeks. The new members will be sworn in at the European Court of Justice on 6 July 2016.

Samo JEREB (SI),
Mihails KOZLOVS (LV)

Ladislav BALKO (SK)


European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD):

The Board of Governors re-elected Sir Suma CHAKRABART as President for another four-year term.


Public affairs:

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Brunswick Group: Annalisa BARBAGALLO was promoted to partner. Brunswick bolstered its team with few more appointments. Emira MUJKIC and Claire THOMAS-DOULAS joined the team as Associates and Michael WILSON as an Executive.

European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA): The Director General, Oliver GRAY is leaving EASA in the end of May to launch his own consultancy in June.

European Association of Co-operative Banks (EACB): Gerhard HOFMANN was elected as the new President of the association for a two-year mandate. Mr HOFMANN takes over from Christian TALGORN.

European Association of Institutions in Higher Education (EURASHE):  During its General Assembly Michal KARPÍŠEK was appointed as the new Secretary General as of 1 June, after Johan CLOET resigned. Armando PIRES was also elected as Vice-President, replacing Patrick BLONDÉ.

European Film Agency Directors Association (EFADs): Samuel YOUNG was appointed as the new Secretary-General.

Eurochild: Norah GIBBONS was elected as the new President, succeeding Maria HERCZOG.


News in a nutshell: 

Member states:
Werner FAYMANN, Social Democratic Party (S&D) surprisingly resigned as Chancellor and leader of the party on Monday 9 May after losing the support of his colleagues. FAYMANN faced criticism after the far-right Freedom Party (ENF) won a shocking victory in the first round of the presidential elections on 24 April. Christian KERN was named as the new Chancellor and leader of the party. The second round of the presidential election will take place on 22 May.

Belgium: Philippe DE BACKER, who left his seat in the European Parliament appointed State Secretary in charge of the North Sea, privacy and the battle against social fraud.

Bulgaria: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Labour and Social Policy Ivailo KALFIN, Alternative for Bulgarian Revival (centre-left) resigned shortly after his party said that it was withdrawing its support to the government due to disagreement over changes in the electoral code. Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav DONCHEV, Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (EPP) was nominated to take over KALFIN.

France: The dates for next year’s presidential elections has been announced. The first round will be on 23 April and the run-off on 7 May.
The French government survived a no-confidence vote over controversial labour reforms.

Ireland: Enda KENNY, Fine Gael (EPP) was re-appointed as Taoiseach after a ten week political deadlock. KENNY’s minority government was backed by independent MPs and more importantly by Fianna Fáil (ALDE). Read more.

Italy: Prime Minister Matteo RENZI, Democratic Party (S&D) called a confidence vote in the light of the same-sex civil unions bill, which was approved.
Permanent Representative to the EU Carlo CALENDA replaced Federica GUIDE as Minister for Economic Development.

Romania: Culture Minister Vlad ALEXANDRESCU, Independent resigned over a scandal at the Bucharest National Opera.  Corina ȘUTEU was appointed in his position on 3 May.  Minister for health Patriciu ACHIMAS-CADARIU also submitted his resignation, which is the fourth resignation within a month. His resignation came after he did not agree with how the government decided to deal with the hospital disinfectants scandal. Prime Minister Dacian CIOLOȘ will act as health Minister until the crisis is over.

Slovenia: Julijana BIZJAK MLAKAR, Modern Centre Party (ALDE) resigned over a dispute on the UNESCO-listed Idrija mercury mine on 25 April. The resignation took place ahead of a vote of confidence that was called by the Prime Minister on her dismissal and she had previously rejected it. Minister without a portfolio for Slovenians abroad, Gorazd ŽMAVC, Democratic Party of Pensioners (ALDE) will be acting the position until a new minister is appointed.

Spain: Podemos Party (GUE/NGL) sealed a deal with the United Left (GUE/NGL) to run together in the upcoming elections on 26 June, following the inconclusive elections in December 2015.  

Sweden: Asa ROMSON resigned as deputy Prime Minister following the Green Party’s (Greens-EFA) decision to nominate ex-MEP Isabella LÖVIN and current Minister for International Development Cooperation as its spokesperson. LÖVIN was officially elected as the new Spokesperson of the party during its congress on 13 May. Prime Minister Stefan LOFVEN announced a government reshuffle after the party's congress.

Candidate countries:
Prime Minister Ahmet DAVUTOGLU, Justice and Development party (AECR) announced his resignation on 5 May allegedly amid rift with President Tayyip ERDOGAN over his plans for a presidential system of government. His successor will be chosen at the congress of the party on 22 May.


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

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