Movers and Shakers | 18 April 2016

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

By Ifigenia Balkoura

18 Apr 2016

European Parliament:

Composition of the political groups:
The two remaining members of the Alternative for Germany (AfD), Beatrix VON STORCH and Markus PRETZELL have now both left the ECR group but followed different directions. In March they were asked to leave ECR group due to controversial comments about shooting refugees. VON STORCH, who defected from the ECR group, has now joined the EFDD group, while PRETZELL was expelled and is now sitting with the Non-attached members.

Following these developments the EFDD group increases its number of MEPs to 46 and countries from 7 to 8. There are now 16 Non-attached members, up from 15. Even though ECR group remains third power in the Parliament, the seat breakdown has once again changed. Here is the new party breakdown:


Members of the Committees, Subcommittees and the Delegations:
Syed KAMALL (ECR, UK) joined the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI). 

Rina Ronja KARI (GUE/NGL, DK) left the Committee on Budgetary Control (CONT).

Luke Ming FLANAGAN (GUE/NGL, IE) joined the Committee on Budgetary Control (CONT).

Marcus PRETZELL (NI, DE) left the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI).

Substitutes of the Committees, Subcommittees and the Delegations:
Miguel VIEGAS (GUE/NGL, PT) joined the Committee on Budgetary Control (CONT).

Diane JAMES (EFDD, UK) switched from member to substitute of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON).

Plenary session highlights:
The Conference of Presidents unanimously backed the creation of a new committee of inquiry that will investigate the information on off-shore companies and their beneficiaries in the wake of the Panama Papers. The formal decision will be taken in the plenary session on 4 May.

The Parliament approved the Passenger Name Records (PNR) Directive after five years of talks. Read more.

MEPs also approved a controversial increase in spending on security measures in the wake of the Paris and Brussels terror attacks. Read more.

Policy review: The report of Sajjad KARIM (ECR, UK) on the respect for the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality in EU legislation was debated during the plenary session on 11 April. The proposals most discussed throughout the debate were those related to the inclusion of national parliaments in the EU legislative process. The Parliament voted in favour of the report, which also proposes more time for the member states to comment on the EU legislative proposals, a revision of the Commission’s guidelines to assess better the subsidiarity and an annual debate Commission and each national parliament.

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European Commission:

There were several new appointments announced this week for some of the Commission’s top jobs. The appointments demonstrate progress towards President JUNCKER’s commitment to appoint 40% of the Commission’s top jobs (Director-General or Deputy Director-General) to women. 26% of top managers are now women, up from 13% in November 2014 when Jean-Claude JUNCKER took office.

Informatics (DIGIT):
Gertrud INGESTAD will become Director-General on 16 April. Ms INGESTAD has been acting in the role since the beginning of 2016.
Directorate A - Digital Workplace Solutions: Philip VAN DAMME became acting Director, replacing Paulo JOSE SANTOS who was also acting in the role. JOSE SANTOS retains his role as Head of Unit for User Services and Relationship Management.
Directorate C - Digital Infrastructure Solutions: VAN DAMME also became Director of Directorate C, having served as acting Director prior to this appointment.
Hors Classe Adviser: Francisco GARCIA MORAN joined DIGIT as a HC Adviser for the Luxembourg office.

Interpretation (SCIC):
Florika FINK-HOOIJER will become Director-General on 1 June, leaving her role of four years in DG Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) as Director of Strategy, Policy and Internal Cooperation. She will be taking over from Carlos ALGERÍA who was acting in the role. ALGERÍA retains his position as Director for Resources and Support.

Joint Research Centre (JCR):
Maive RUTE will become Deputy Director-General on 16 April, leaving her role as Resource Director in DG Research and Innovation (RTD). She replaces Vladimir SUCHA, who was acting in the role as well as upholding his position as Director-General.

Neighbourhood and Enlargement (NEAR):
Maciej POPOWSKI will become Deputy Director-General on 16 April. He moves to the Directorate from the European External Action Service, where he served as Deputy Secretary-General between 2011-2015. He will replace Katarina MATHERNOVA.
Directorate R: Resources – Mark JOHNSTON will become Director on 16 April, replacing Wojciech KOWALSKI who was acting in the role. JOHNSTON will leave his role as acting Resources Director at DG Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (MARE).

Research and Innovation (RTD):
Patrick CHILD will become Deputy Director-General on 16 April, leaving his role at the European External Action Service (EEAS) as acting Chief Operating Officer/Director-General for Budget and Administration. His role at EEAS was filled by Gianmarco DI VITA in March 2016.

Communication (COMM):
Directorate A - Strategy and Corporate Communication: Mikel LANDABASO ÁLVAREZ will become Director on 16 April, replacing Nathalie DAVIS who was acting in the role. LANDABASO ÁLVAREZ will leave his role as Adviser and acting Director of Inclusive Growth, Urban and Territorial Development and Northern Europe at DG Regional and Urban Policy (REGIO).

Special Advisors:
*Correction: Irena PETRUŠKEVIČIENĖ remains as a Special Adviser in the cabinet of Vice-President Kristalina GEORGIEVA. She is not leaving as was reported last week.* Renate JÄGER’s mandate ends on 30 April 2016.

Representations to the member states:

Italy: Beatrice COVASSI appointed as the new Head of the Commission’s representation in Rome as of 16 April, succeeding Emilio DALMONTE.

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Court of Auditors:

The European Parliament approved the following nominations, based on the recommendations of the Committee on Budgetary Control (CONT):

Czech Republic: Jan GREGOR
Latvia: Mihalis KOZLOVS
Slovakia: Ladislav BALKO
Slovenia: Samo JEREB

The nomination of Janusz WOJCIECHOWSKI (ECR) from Poland was rejected, while the Maltese nominee, Anthony ABELA was withdrawn. The final decision on the appointments will be taken by the EU Council Ministers.


Public affairs:

Acumen public affairs: George NILAND joined the team as an Account Manager. He will be focusing on the Digital Single Market.

International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM Europe): Marco SCHLÜTER officially stepped down as Director and Eduardo CUOCO took over on 8 April.

Society of Audiovisual Authors (SAA): The General Assembly re-elected Barbara HAYES as Chair on 13 April.  Patrick RAUDE elected as Vice-Chair, replacing Robert STAATS, who stepped down.

TeliaSonera: has been rebranded to Telia Company. The subsidiaries Telia Sonera International Carrier and TeliaSonera Finance renamed to Telia Carrier and Telia Finance.

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News in a nutshell:

Austria: Minister for the Interior Johanna MIKL-LEITNER, Austrian People’s Party (EPP) is to step down from her post to become Deputy Governor of the Lower Austria province. She will switch roles with Wolfgang SOBOTKA, but the date has not yet been set.
On 24 April the first round of the presidential elections will take place.

Belgium: The Minister for Transport Jacqueline GALANT, Reformist Movement (ALDE) resigned amid revelations that she was aware of an EU report on flaws in Brussels airport security before last month’s bombings. Read more.

Ireland: The Parliament failed for third time to form a government, since February’s inconclusive elections.

Lithuania: Tomas ŽILINSKAS, Independent was appointed as the new Minister for the Interior by President Dalia GRYBAUSKAITĖ. ŽILINSKAS, who was holding the post of the Director of the Interior Ministry prior to his appointment, replaced Saulius SKVERNELIS, who was removed from his post after announcing that he will be running for the upcoming parliamentary elections in October with the  Peasant and Green Union (Greens/EFA).

Spain: Minister for Industry Jose Manuel SORIA, People’s Party (EPP) resigned over alleged links to off-shore deals in the light of Panama Papers revelations.

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

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