Today's Movers & Shakers are about: plenary's highlights, the new chairs of Parliament's delegations, latest appointments in the Commission and public affairs and more.
Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA): MEPs backed the controversial agreement between the EU and Canada by 408 votes to 205. Artis PABRIKS (EPP, LV), Parliament’s rapporteur on the deal said “This is an open and progressive trade deal and sets a standard for future trade agreements.” European trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström, speaking at the same news conference, hailed the signing of what she called a “landmark” trade deal which would “open up cooperation” between the two sides. Read more.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin TRUDEAU addressed the Parliament, following the adoption of the report. He said, "With CETA we have built something important together. If it succeeds, it will become a blueprint for all future ambitious trade deals." Read more. Previously, he was criticised for refusing to participate in a debate with them on CETA
EU ETS: On Wednesday 15 February, the European Parliament’s Plenary Session adopted the European Parliament’s environment, public health and food safety committee’s report on the EU ETS reform with 379 votes to 263, with 57 abstentions. The report, authored by MEP Ian DUNCAN (ECR, UK), will constitute the Parliament’s position during negotiations with the Council. The aim of the reform is to revise the ETS directive so that it meets the EU's 2030 greenhouse gas emissions target of "at least" 40 per cent while protecting European industry from the risk of carbon "leakage" and promoting innovation and modernisation in Europe's industrial and power sectors over the decade from 2020.
Schengen Borders Code: reinforcement of checks at external borders: plenary adopted without amendments the agreement with the Council on the proposal for a regulation as regards the reinforcement of checks against relevant databases at external borders by 469 votes to 120, with 42 abstentions. The majority of the political groups supported the report but underlined that in order for the new system to work it is crucial that the member states use the databases and feed them information. There was also criticism vis-à-vis the Commission because no impact assessment was carried out. Monica MACOVEI (ECR, RO) is Parliament’s rapporteur on the file.
Civil Law Rules on Robotics: MEPs adopted the Legal Affairs Committee report. A debate was held the day before, where MEPs stressed the need to ensure that the robotics impact on the labour market is properly examined and that issues on liability should be properly addressed. Read Dods EU Monitoring the briefing.
Future of the EU: MEPs discussed three separate reports on the future of Europe drafted by German EPP group deputy Elmar BROK, Italian Socialist Mercedes BRESSO and ALDE's Guy VERHOFSTADT. A third report, on the Eurozone's future, was authored by French Socialist Pervenche BERÈS and German EPP group MEP Reimer BÖGE. VERHOFSTADT's report looks at possible changes to the institutional set up of the EU while the BROK-BRESSO document sets out how the EU could better function. Read more.
President of Austria: Alexander VAN DER BELLEN addressed the European Parliament as part of his first official foreign trip since taking office in late January. In a passionate speech, the recently elected President said of Europe’s democratic success since 1945, "It takes only a few minutes to chop down a tree, but for it to grow again, it takes decades." Read more.
EPP-ALDE new partnership: Speaking at a news conference on Wednesday, the leaders of the European Parliament’s centre-right and Liberal groups have made a robust defence of the recent partnership pact they made for the remainder of the current assembly’s legislature. Read more.
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ECR Group: Ulrike TREBESIUS (DE) replaced Morten MESSERSCHMIDT (DK) as Bureau member.
Committees and Delegations:
Inés AYALA SENDER (S&D, ES) was elected as the new Chair of the delegation for relations with the Maghreb countries and the Arab Maghreb Union (D-MAG), replacing Pier Antonio PANZERI (S&D, IT), who became a member.
Christian EHLER (EPP, DE) was elected as the new Chair of the delegation for relations with the United States, replacing David MCALLISTER (EPP, DE), who stepped down following his appointed as Chair of the foreign affairs committee.
Fernando RUAS (EPP, PT) was elected as the new Chair of the delegation for relations with the Federative Republic of Brazil (D-BR), replacing Paulo RANGEL (EPP, PT).
Sławomir KŁOSOWSKI (ECR, PL) elected as then new Vice-Chair of the delegation to the EU-Moldova parliamentary association committee (D-MD).
Paulo RANGEL (EPP, PT) left the delegation for relations with Mercosur (D-MER) and the delegation to the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (D-LAT).
Hugues BAYET (S&D, BE) switched from substitute to member of the delegation for relations with the Maghreb countries and the Arab Maghreb Union (D-MAG).
Alex MAYER (S&D, UK) left the delegation for relations with the countries of South Asia (D-SAS) and joined the delegation for relations with the United States (D-US).
Glenis WILLMOTT (S&D, UK) joined the delegation for relations with the United States (D-US).
Paul BRANNEN (S&D, UK) left the delegation for relations with the United States (D-US) and joined the delegation for relations with Canada (D-CA).
Richard CORBETT (S&D, UK) joined the delegation for relations with the countries of South Asia (D-SAS).
Rikke KARLSSON (ECR, DK) left the committee on the environment, public health and food safety (ENVI) and joined the subcommittee on human rights (DROI).
Arne GERICKE (ECR, DE) left the subcommittee on human rights (DROI) and joined the committee on the environment, public health and food safety (ENVI).
Cecilia WIKSTRÖM (ALDE, SE) left the committee on legal affairs (JURI).
Paul RÜBIG (EPP, AT) joined the committee on international trade (INTA), replacing Sven SCHULZE (EPP, DE).
Inese VAIDERE (EPP, LV) joined the delegation for relations with India (D-IN).
Laima Liucija ANDRIKIENĖ (EPP, LT) joined the delegation for relations with the countries of Central America (D-CAM) and the delegation to the Euro-Latin American parliamentary assembly (D-LAT).
Momchil NEKOV (S&D, BU) joined the delegation to the ACP-EU Joint parliamentary assembly (D-ACP).
Siôn SIMON (S&D, UK) switched from member to substitute of the delegation for relations with the Maghreb countries and the Arab Maghreb Union (D-MAG).
Anders Primdahl VISTISEN (ECR, DK) joined the delegation for relations with the Maghreb countries and the Arab Maghreb Union (D-MAG), the delegation for relations with the United States (D-US) and the delegation to the parliamentary assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean (D-MED).
For in-depth analysis of the European Parliament's mid-term committee reshuffle, look no further than Parliament Magazine’s popular European Parliament Committee Guide. The March 2017 edition includes details of the committees' structure and personnel, as well as interviews with leading figures from the Parliament.
View a Committee Guide synopsis.
Directorate B – Representations: Christiane WALCHER became acting Head of Unit, ‘Priority Actions and Political Reporting’, replacing Ludolf van HASSELT.
Communications Networks, Content and Technology (CNECT):
Directorate H – Digital Society, Trust and Cybersecurity: Despina SPANOU became Director, replacing Andrea SERVIDA who was acting in the role. Prior to this appointment Ms SPANOU was Director of the Consumer Affairs directorate in DG JUST.
Economic and Financial Affairs (ECFIN):
Elena REITANO became Head of Unit, ‘Secretariat for the Eurogroup/EWG’, replacing Moises ORELLANA.
Directorate F – Economies of Member States I: Moises ORELLANA became Head of Unit, ‘Austria, Cyprus, Germany’, replacing Magda MORGESE BORYS who was acting in the role.
Directorate G – Economies of Member States II: Florian WÖHLBIER became acting Head of Unit, ‘Czech Republic, Slovakia, United Kingdom’, replacing Elena REITANO.
Justice and Consumers (JUST):
Communication and strategic planning: Giles GOODALL became acting Head of Unit replacing Pinuccia CONTINO.
Directorate E – Consumers: Pinuccia CONTINO became Head of Unit, ‘Product Safety and Rapid Alert System’, filling a vacant position.
Directorate D – Natural Capital: Jean-Claude MERICOL became Head of Unit, ‘LIFE Programme’, replacing Hervé MARTIN.
Committee of the Regions:
President of the ALDE group and Mayor of Mechelen, Bart SOMMERS (BE) was awarded the 2016 World Mayor Prize for his contribution in welcoming refugees and integrating immigrants from different religious, cultural and social backgrounds. Read his interview in the Parliament Magazine on tackling radicalisation.
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European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC): Thierry J.-L. COURVOISIER became the new President, starting in January 2017 for a three-year term. Christina MOBERG and Eva-Mari ARO were also appointed as Vice-Presidents for the same period.
News in a nutshell:
US ambassador to the EU: In an exclusive article in the Parliament Magazine, Ted MALLOCH, the man tipped to be next US ambassador to the EU said that the European Union has become undemocratic and bloated by both bureaucracy and rampant anti-Americanism. He also claimed that the US is no longer interested in the old forms of European integration and it may be able to encourage a reversal of the EU’s accelerating drive to a socialist, protectionist, United States of Europe. Read the full article.
MEPs reacted angrily to his controversial views, with Linnéa ENGSTRÖM (Greens/EFA, SE) branding them as "rubbish, rubbish and utterly rubbish”, while Claude MORAES (S&D, UK) talked about an ill-informed contempt for the EU. Read all the reactions.