Movers and Shakers | 19 September 2016

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

By Ifigenia Balkoura

19 Sep 2016

Today's Movers & Shakers are about: the new UK Commissioner, the State of the Union, new Task Force for Brexit and more.

European Parliament:

Parliament Presidency:
The leader of the UK Conservative MEPs, Ashley FOX, has submitted an amendment to the revised rules of procedure being drawn up by Parliament's constitutional affairs committee. FOX has suggested limiting the Parliament presidency to two terms, as a way of promoting "fresh leadership." Read more.

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Matthias GROOTE (S&D, DE) will leave his seat in the Parliament on 1 November after being elected as Landrat for Leer, north-western Lower Saxony.

Members of Committees, Subcommittees and the Delegations:
Ramona Nicole MĂNESCU (EPP, RO) joined the Delegation to the EU-Armenia and EU-Azerbaijan Parliamentary Cooperation Committees and the EU-Georgia Parliamentary Association Committee (D-SCA).

Traian UNGUREANU (EPP, RO) left the Delegation to the EU-Armenia and EU-Azerbaijan Parliamentary Cooperation Committees and the EU-Georgia Parliamentary Association Committee (D-SCA).

Angelo CIOCCA (ENF, IT) joined the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE).

Tim AKER (EFDD, UK) switched from substitute to member of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL).

Substitutes of the Committees, Subcommittees and the Delegations:
Andrejs MAMIKINS (S&D, LT) joined the Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly (DEPA).

Political groups:
ECR: Branislav ŠKRIPEK (SK) switched from member to member of the Bureau and Jana ŽITŇANSKÁ switched from member of Bureau to member.

National Parties:
United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP)
: Diane JAMES was elected as the new leader of the party, succeeding Nigel FARAGE, who stepped down from the post in June. Read more.

Directorate General for the Presidency
: Markus WINKLER returned to the position of Director-General for the Presidency on 1 September following a period as the President’s Head of Cabinet between July 2014 and August 2016. From 1 November 2016 Mr WINKLER will take on the position of Deputy Secretary General for the Presidency. This role will merge the functions of the Director-General and the Deputy Secretary General upon the retirement of current Deputy Secretary General Francesca RATTI on 1 November.

European Commission:

State of the Union:
In a wide-ranging state of the union speech to MEPs in Strasbourg on Wednesday, Commission President Jean-Claude JUNCKER acknowledged that the state of Europe today, as was the case a year ago, "left a lot to be desired" and could be seen as a "colourless melting pot."  He has made robust defence of the EU, but admitted the European project "needs to be better explained." Read more. He also called for closer military cooperation at EU level. Read more. On Brexit, Remain supporters have predicted the UK will soon start to "rethink" Brexit, while Brexiteers have accused Jean-Claude Juncker of not taking the EU referendum result seriously. Read more.

On 12 September Commissioner-designate Sir Julian KING was subject to a hearing with the LIBE Committee and successfully received their backing. Read more about the hearing.  On 15 September the decision was passed to the Plenary for vote by secret ballot. The Parliament voted in favour of the appointment by 394 votes to 161, with 93 abstentions. The decision will now be deferred to the Council for the final decision.

New Task Force:
Task Force for the Preparation and Conduct of the Negotiations with the UK: On 14 September the Commission announced the establishment of a new task force to tackle future proceedings relating to the UK and Article 50. On 27 July Michel BARNIER was appointed as Chief Negotiator to lead these proceeding and will head up this task force, which will supported by Commission experts and Directors-General. Mr BARNIER will begin his role on 1 October 2016 and will be ranked at the Director-General level. In addition, the Commission appointed Sabine WEYAND, currently Deputy Director-General in DG TRADE, to the position of Deputy Chief Negotiator as of 1 October. Stéphanie RISO from DG BUDG and Georg RIEKELES from the European Political Strategy Centre (EPSC) will also be joining the team, along with others who are yet to be appointed.

Frans Timmerman’s cabinet
: Tony AGOTHA joined the team as member and Communication Adviser.

Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (GROW):

Directorate E – Modernisation of the Single Market: as of 16 September Marzena ROGALSKA became acting Head of Unit, ‘Public Interest Services’, replacing Werner STENGG who has moved to DG CONNECT.

Communications Networks Content and Technology (CNECT):
Directorate F – Digital Single Market: Werner STENGG became Head of Unit, ‘E-Commerce and Platforms’ replacing Prabhat AGARWAL who was acting in the role.

European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO):
Directorate D – Policy Coordination, International and Multilateral Relations, Legal Affairs: Deputy Head Stella ZARKALI became acting Head of Unit, ‘Information System Management and Reporting’, replacing Jean-Pierre BUISSERET.

Informatics (DIGIT):
Directorate R – Resource Management and Optimisation: as of 16 September Petra KNEUER became Director, replacing Bernard MAGENHANN who became Deputy Director-General in DG HR on 1 September. Ms KNEUER was Director, ‘Investigations I’, in the European Anti-Fraud Office (DG OLAF).
Directorate S – IT Security: Carl-Christian BUHR became Head of Unit, ‘IT Security Operations’, replacing IT Security Director Ken DUCATEL who was acting in the role.

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European External Action Service (EEAS):

External Delegations:
Democratic Republic of Congo
: Bertrand SORET became chargé d’affairs following Jean-Michel DUMOND’s move to the Sudan delegation.


European Council:

Cabinet of the President - Economic team: João NOGUEIRA MARTINS became Chief Economic Advisor, replacing Jean-Pierre VIDAL. Prior to this appointment Mr NOGUEIRA MARTINS was an Advisor in the Economic team. Alfredo PANARELLA became a Senior Advisor and Wouter COUSSENS joined the team as an Advisor. Mr COUSSENS replaces Christina JORDAN who is on maternity leave.


Permanent Representations:

Cyprus: Olympia NEOCLEOUS was appointed the new Deputy Permanent Representative, replacing Maria HADJITHEODOSIOU.


European Border and Coast Guard:

The Council gave its final approval on 14 September with the new regulation coming into force on 6 October 2016. The agency should begin to function by mid-October. The agency will expand the functions and activities of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Boarders of the Member States of the European Union (more commonly known as Frontex) and will work more closely with national boarder authorities. It will continue to be commonly referred to as Frontex and will retain the same legal position. The aim of the expanded Agency will seek to create an operational strategy for the EU and coordinate member states’ activities. The European Fisheries Control Agency and the European Maritime Safety Agency will also align their activities with the new agency.


European Court of Auditors (ECA):

On 13 September Klaus-Heiner LEHNE was elected President of the European Court of Auditors. He is currently responsible for audits in Chamber III (external policies) having joined the ECA in 2014. Mr LEHNE will begin his term on 1 October replacing Vítor CALDEIRA who has been President since 2008.

The European Parliament rejected the Maltese candidate, Leo BRINCAT, as a Member to the ECA in a plenary vote on 13 September. The Parliament approved the Portuguese nominee, João FIGUEIREDO, and the renewal of the Cypriot Member, Lazaros S. LAZAROU's mandate. The final decision will be taken by the EU Council of Ministers.


European Stability Mechanism (ESM):

Netherlands: Victor CRAMER became the Alternate Director on the ESM Board of Directors replacing Focco VIJSELAAR.


Public Affairs:

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European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC): Dr. Lydia MAKAROFF was appointed as the new Director, replacing Mihaela MILITARU.

European Community Shipowners’ Association (ECSA): Claudia VELLA CASAGRANDE joined the team as the new Director Social, Legal and Fiscal Affairs. In her new duties, she will be in charge of coordinating the Legal Advisory Committee’s work and the Taxation Working Group and will be organising social dialogue with the Association’s trade union counterpart, European Transport Workers’ Federation. Eirini TSAKONA who joined ECSA back in March, was appointed as a Policy Advisor in the Shipping and Trade policy team.

European Power Exchange EPEX SPOT SE.: Thierry MORELLO steps down as Chief Operating Officer. Jonas TÖRNQUIST will take over from MORELLO as COO and Member of the Management Board.


News in a nutshell:

Austria: The rerun of the presidential elections, scheduled for 2 October has been postponed to 4 December, due to faulty glue on the postal votes.

Croatia: The elections held on 11 September were inconclusive. The party of Andrej PLENKOVIĆ MEP, Croatian Democratic Union (EPP) won most of the seats, but fell short of a parliamentary majority. Zoran MILANOVIC stepped down as leader of the Social Democratic Party, following the election defeat.

Estonia: Marina KALIJURAND announced her resignation from her post as Minister for Foreign Affairs on Friday 9 September to run as presidential candidate. Minister for Education Jürgen LIGI took over KALIJURAND and Maris LAURI replaced him.

Italy: The government will meet on 26 September to decide the date of the national referendum on the constitutional reform.

Poland: Minister of the Treasury, Dawid JACKIEWICZ was dismissed by Prime Minister Beata SZYDŁO. There were allegedly plans to close the Ministry down by the end of the year. Head of the Chancellery, Henryk KOWALCZYK will be leading the Ministry on a temporary basis.

Sweden: Anna EKSTRÖM was appointed as the new Minister for Upper Secondary School and Adult Education and Training, replacing Aida HADZIALIC who resigned after being caught drink-driving.

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

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