Movers and Shakers | 18 June 2018

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

By Ifigenia Balkoura

18 Jun 2018

Today's Movers & Shakers are about: which MEPs left their seats and who replaced them, plenary session's highlights, appointments in the European Commission and public affairs, the agreement reached between FYROM and Greece over the name dispute, Brexit and more.

European Parliament:

Outgoing - Incoming:
Jean-Paul DENANOT (S&D, FR) and Paavo VÄYRYNEN (ALDE, FI) left their seats on 10 and 11 June respectively. Karine GLOANEC MAURIN and Mirja VEHKAPERÄ replaced them.

Viviane REDING (EPP, LU) gave her resignation notice as of 2 September.

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Composition of the committees and delegations:

Karine GLOANEC MAURIN (S&D, FR) joined the committee on agriculture and rural development (AGRI) and the delegation to the EU-Turkey joint parliamentary committee (D-TR).

Julie GIRLING (EPP, UK) joined the special Committee on the Union’s authorisation procedure for pesticides (PEST), replacing Karl-Heinz FLORENZ (EPP, DE).

Karine GLOANEC MAURIN (S&D, FR) joined the committee on budgets (BUDG) and the delegation for relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo (D-SEE).

Giuseppe FERRANDINO (S&D, IT) joined the committees on fisheries (PECH).

Rosa D’AMATO (EFDD, IT) joined the committee on industry, research and energy (ITRE), replacing Marco ZULLO (EFDD, IT).

Gilles LEBRETON (ENF, FR) joined the special committee on financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance (TAX3).

Jacques COLOMBIER (ENF, FR) joined the committee on budgets (BUDG), replacing Paul NUTTALL (EFDD, UK).

Plenary session highlights:
Composition of the EP after 2019 elections:
MEPs voted to officially shrink the size of the Parliament from 751 to 705 seats. 27 out of the 73 seats that will be vacated by British MEPs after Brexit will be re-allocated to 14 member states that are currently under-represented, while the remaining 46 will be reserved for future enlargement. The European Council will now have to greenlight the decision during the EU summit on 28-29 June. Danuta HÜBNER (EPP, PL) and Pedro Silva PEREIRA (S&D, PT) are Parliament’s co-rapporteurs on the file.

Debate on the future of Europe: Mark RUTTE was the seventh EU leader who addressed the European deputies on the future of Europe. The Dutch prime minister said that Europe is not a menu you can pick and choose from and added that more and more Europe is not the answer to the problems people face daily. Speaking during the plenary session, RUTTE added that the EU needs to make choices about its role in the years to come and called on it to focus on core tasks.  

Overhaul of road transport rules: MEPs decided to hold a debate and vote on the proposals for drivers’ rest periods, rules to tackle the illegal practices in road transport and posting of drivers (part of the Mobility package) in July’s plenary session, after they rejected the committee on transport’s decision to start negotiations with the Council.

Rules for safety of drones: The plenary backed a provisional agreement reached between the Parliament and the Council back in November 2017 on the EU-wide principles for drones and their operators to ensure a common safe use. The agreement will now need to be approved by the EU ministers.

Judicial reform in Poland: MEPs debated the judicial reforms which will come into force on 3 July with European Commission First Vice-President Frans TIMMERMANS. MEPs have joined Polish NGOs in petitioning the Commission to ask the European Court of Justice for an interim order to halt the changes to the Polish Supreme Court which would force up to 40 per cent of judges into early retirement.

Schengen Information System (SIS): The Parliament and the Council reached a political agreement on strengthening the Schengen Information System to fight the cross-border crimes, irregular immigration and terrorism. The agreement is comprised of regulations to update the SIS in the area of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, border checks and return of illegally staying non-EU nationals. The agreement has now to be adopted by the Parliament’s committee on civil liberties, justice and home affairs, the Parliament as a whole and then by the Council before it enters into force. Carlos COELHO (EPP, PT) and Jeroen LENAERS (EPP, NL) are Parliament’s rapporteurs on the file.

Addressing the high burden and significant unmet needs in the management of Phenylketonuria (PKU):
Deirdre CLUNE (EPP, IE) and Nessa CHILDERS (S&D, IE) will be co-hosting a roundtable in Parliament on 11 July to raise awareness of phenylketonuria (PKU), an inherited metabolic disorder that affects about one in every 10,000 children born in Europe. If left untreated, can cause severe intellectual disability, epilepsy and behavioural problems. The roundtable seeks to bring together key stakeholders to introduce them to PKU, raise awareness, identify and outline the unmet needs in the management of the condition, support the understanding of the pathophysiology of PKU and what can be done for the improvement of patient functioning and quality of life. Register here.

Marine litter: Following up last week’s event on the issue of biodegradable plastics in the marine environment, organised by the Parliament’s Intergroup on climate change, biodiversity and sustainable development, here’s the full report.


Animal health and welfare: Breeding for extremes in dogs and cats event:

The EU Dog and Cat Alliance, Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) and Federation of European Companion Animal Veterinary Associations (FECAVA) will be holding a parliamentary lunch discussion on 26 June, focusing on enhancing awareness of the animal health and welfare aspects involved with breeding for extremes of conformation in dogs and cats, to highlight the need for change in EU and national legislation on this issue, and to raise consumer awareness and promote responsible ownership.

The event is organised by the Parliament Magazine and kindly hosted by Petras AUŠTREVIČIUS (ALDE, LT) and Marlene MIZZI (S&D, MT).

To register your interest, please contact: | +44 207 593 5672.
More information here.

Refining industry and liquid fuels: new approaches for low carbon fuels that will ensure CO2 targets by 2050 event:

On Tuesday 26 June, Fuels Europe and the Parliament Magazine will be holding a Parliamentary Breakfast Briefing kindly hosted by Paul RÜBIG (EPP, AT).

The event will focus on the long-term vision for the transition of the refining industry and liquid fuels, and discuss new approaches for low carbon fuels that will contribute to reaching the 2050 CO2 targets. Europe’s ambitious yet recommended long-term global climate objectives are driving the decarbonisation of our society and economy. This transition to a low-carbon economy will, however, not be driven in the same way for all sectors of the European economy.

To register your interest, please contact: |+044 207 593 5672. 
More information here.


European Commission:

Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union (FISMA):

Directorate B – Investment and company reporting: Eric DUCOULOMBIER, current head of unit, inter-institutional relations, planning and stakeholder's relations replaced Nathalie de BASALDUA-LEMARCHAND as acting director of Directorate B.

Trade (TRADE):
Directorate D – Sustainable Development, Economic Partnership Agreements, Africa-Caribbean and Pacific, Agri-food and Fisheries: Ewa SYNOWIEC replaced current deputy director general Sandra GALLINA as director

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

European Court of Justice (ECJ):

Irmantas JARUKAITIS (LT) and Peter George XUEREB (MT) were appointed as judges as of 7 October for a period of six years.


Public affairs:

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ERTICO ITS Europe: Jacob BANGSGAARD was re-elected as MaaS Alliance president.

European Fresh Produce Association (freshfel): Stephan WEIST and Salvo LAUDANI were elected president and Vice-President respectively during its annual event on 7-8 June in Hambourg, Germany.

European Rail Infrastructure Managers (EIM): Pier ERINGA was re-elected as president. Miguel NIETO MENOR and Graham HOPKINS elected as Vice-Presidents.

European Women’s Lobby: Gwendoline LEFEBVRE was elected president, Laura ALBU and Ana Sofia FERNANDES as Vice-Presidents and Annelies PIERROT-BULTS as treasurer. Pirkko MAHLAMÄKI, Pauline MUKANZA and Anna ZOBNINA were elected as members of the executive committee.

German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA): Herbert DIESS, chairman of the board of management at Volkswagen AG and Volkswagen brand chairman and Wolf-Henning SCHEIDER, chief executive officer of ZF Friedrichshafen AG, joined the managing board. They replaced Matthias MÜLLER and Stefan SOMMER respectively.


News in a nutshell:

Brexit: The EU Withdrawal bill returned to the House of Commons last week for a debate following the amendments made by the House of Lords. MPs debated the meaningful vote on the final deal.  

Conservative pro-EU MP Dominic GRIEVE tabled an amendment that would guarantee that ministers will have until November to negotiate further the agreement, if the one that will be brought forward by the government is rejected by the Parliament. However, the wording of the amendment was later changed by the government, challenging the UK Prime Minister’s leadership.  

MPs voted down the Lords’ amendment on including the exit day in the bill. The Lord’s amendment on retaining membership of the European Economic Area (EEA) was also defeated.

The Bill returns to the Lords for consideration on Monday 18 June.

The UK government suffered another blow, after the justice minister Philip LEE resigned over Theresa MAY's approach to Brexit. Edward ARGAR, who was previously Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Home Secretary, replaced him.

On immigration policy, Downing Street confirmed that doctors and nurses will be excluded from the cap on skilled migrant visas that was introduced by prime minister Theresa MAY when she was home secretary, amid fears of a staff shortage.

Home secretary Sajid JAVID also announced a visa scheme for entrepreneurs looking to set up new businesses in Britain, set to launch next spring.

The European Commission published slides summarising the possibilities for third countries the  possibilities  for  involvement  of  third countries in EU  space-related activities, including  Galileo, and provided a comparison with UK positions.

Spain: Culture minister Maxim HUERTA resigned after a week in office, after revelations of tax avoidance. José GUIRAO succeeded him in the role.

Name dispute: Athens and Skopje reached an agreement, which was signed off on Sunday 17 June in Big Prespa lake, settling a long-standing name dispute between the two countries. The two prime ministers agreed on "Republic of North Macedonia" (the term will be applied erga omnes), as the new name.

The move, which also paves the way for the country to join the EU and NATO, was welcomed by senior EU and NATO officials.

However, the move failed to garner internal support. Greek opposition leader Kyriakos MITSOTAKIS filed a vote of confidence challenging prime minister Alexis TSIPRAS. MITSOTAKIS said that the agreement is “detrimental for Greece’s own interests and provides unacceptable concessions.

The government’s junior coalition partner, the Independent Greeks said they will vote down the agreement as the word “Macedonia” is included in the new name. However, the party also voted down the motion of confidence, which was unsucceful on Saturday 16 June.

The President of FYROM Gjorge IVANOV also said that he will not sign off the agreement.

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