Movers and Shakers | 22 October 2018

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

By Ifigenia Balkoura

22 Oct 2018

Today's Movers & Shakers are about:latest appointments in the European Commission, the External Action Service and public affairs, the latest news on the European elections, Brexit, which enters its crucial phase, the reshuffle in the French cabinet, the resignation of the Greek Foreign Minister and more. 


European Parliament:

Composition of the committees and delegations:
Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO)
: Nadja HIRSCH (ALDE, DE) joined as a substitute, replacing Igor GRÄZIN (ALDE, EE).
Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET): Igor GRÄZIN (ALDE, EE) joined as member, replacing Nadja HIRSCH (ALDE, DE).
Committee on Development (DEVE): Stefan GEHROLD (EPP, DE) joined as substitute, replacing Rainer WIELAND (EPP, DE).

MEPs are in Strasbourg from Monday 22 to Thursday 25 October for the second plenary session of the month. 

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European elections:

S&D group leader Udo BULLAMANN together with the German Minister for Justice Katarina BARLEY will be leading the SPD European elections campaign.

The EPP officially announced its Spitzenkandidat candidates. Dods EU Monitoring and Dods People EU teams have prepared short biographies for Alexander STUBB and Manfred WEBER. The EPP will elect its Spitzenkandidat for the next European elections at the EPP Congress in Helsinki, Finland on 7-8 November 2018.

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European Commission:

Special advisors:
Jacques DOCQUIERT has been appointed as a Special Adviser for President Juncker, on strategic issues related to outreach, communication and media.

Directorates General:
Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (EMPL):

Csaba GERGELY is the new Acting HR Business Correspondent, replacing Fabienne LÉVY. LÉVY changes positions to become Head of Unit, EGF, Shared Management in Directorate F; taking over from Szilard TAMAS, who moves to become Head of Unit, Information Technologies. Former IT unit head Octavian PURCAREA leaves the DG.

Jiří ŠVARC is the new Head of Unit, Social Investment Strategy in Directorate C. ŠVARC therefore leaves his role as Head of Unit, Cyprus, Greece in Directorate A with Franza POINTNER being the new acting Unit Head.

The Deputy Director General responsible for Directorates A-D is Helena KONIG, while the Deputy Director General in charge of Directorates E-H is now Sandra GALLINA. KONIG departs as Director of Directorate C with the position currently being vacant, while GALLINA leaves behind the Directorship of Directorate D. Ewa SYNOWIEC is her successor.
There are several other departures leaving vacant positions: Diana ACCONCIA leaves as Head of Unit for Economic Partnership Agreements, Africa-Caribbean- Pacific countries, overseas countries and territories (D2), Signe RATSO departs as Director of Directorate G (Trade Strategy and Market Access); and Tomas BAERT leaves as Head of Unit, Trade Strategy (G2).
Michelangelo MARGHERITA fills the position as Head of Unit, Information, Communication and Civil Society (A3), filling a vacant position.
Damien LEVIE becomes Head of Unit, Transparency and Evaluation (A5); taking over from Delphine SALLARD.

Secretariat-General (SG):
There has been a reshuffle of the Secretariat-General, with the creation of a new Directorate and a reshuffling of units and positions, although no one left or joined the Directorate-General at Head of Unit level or above.
Directorate A: previously “Decision Making Process” was renamed to “Strategy, Better Regulation and Corporate Governance.” Pascal LEARDINI is its Director.
Directorate B: previously “Institutional and Administrative Policies” was renamed to “Decision-Making & Collegiality.” The new director is Jordi AYET PUIGARNAU
Directorate C: previously “Better Regulation and Work Programme” was renamed to “Transparency, Efficiency and Resources” and has Tatjana VERRIER as its director.
Directorate D: previously “Policy Co-ordination I” was renamed to “Jobs, Growth and Investment”. Marcel HAAG has been appointed Director.
Directorate E: previously “Policy Co-ordination II” was renamed to “Single Market & Connectivity”. John WATSON is the new Director.
Directorate F: previously “Relations with other institutions” was renamed to “Citizens, Migration & Security Union”. William SLEATH takes over as Director.
Directorate G: “Interinstitutional Relations” is newly established. Enrico PORTI is the Director responsible for this new Directorate.
Directorate H: “External Relations” has also been newly created and currently does not have a director.
Directorate R: “Resources” has been abolished; with its responsibilities split between several Directorates.


External Action Service (EEAS):

Budget and Administration Department:
Budget and Support: Herman BRAND is the new Division Head of Information Technology; replaced Acting Head Philippe RUYS. RUYS remains Director of Budget and Support.

Economic and Global issues:
Americas Multilateral Department: Javier NINO-PEREZ was appointed head of Division for US and Canada, replacing Richard TIBBELS. NINO-PEREZ was previously Head of Division, Turkey.

Political Issues:
Western Europe, Western Balkans and Turkey: Clive RUMBOLD was appointed to the position of Acting Head of Division, Western Balkans, replacing outgoing division head Eduard AUER.
Thomas FRELLESEN is the new Head of Division, Turkey. He replaced NINO-PEREZ, who as mentioned earlier has moved to become Head of Division for the US and Canada.
Russia + East Partnership: Dirk SCHUEBEL has been appointed the Head of Division, Russia, replacing Acting Head of Division John BOGAERTS. SCHUEBEL also leaves his position as Head of Division, Eastern Partnership (Bilateral); where he is replaced by former US Division Head Richard TIBBELS.

Security Policy Directorate:
Francois RIVASSEAU departs as Head of Division, Security Policy and Space Policy. Replacing him in this role is new Acting Head of Division Rory DOMM.

Crisis Management and Planning Directorate:
Arnout MOLENAAR is the now Acting Head of Division, Capabilities, Concepts, Training and Exercises; replacing former Head of Division Giorgio PORZIO.

Civilian Planning and Conduct Capability Directorate:
Bert VERSMESSEN departs as both acting Director and Head of Division, Chief of Staff/Horizontal Coordination. The new Director is Vincenzo COPPOLA, and the new Acting Chief of Staff is Michael MERKER.


Public affairs:

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European Association of Fish Producers Organisations (EAPO): Pim VISSER was re-elected as President and Emiel BROUCKAERT remains as Secretary-General.

German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA): Martin KOERS was appointed as the new Managing Director as of 1 February. He succeeds Klaus BRÄUNIG, who will retire at the end of January 2019.


Convention on international trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora (CITIES):

Ivonne HIGUERO was appointed as Secretary-General. 


News in a nutshell:

Brexit: The UK Prime Minister Theresa MAY informed the House of Commons on the state of play regarding the Brexit negotiations ahead of the crunch European Council that took place on Wednesday 17 October. She started her speech by saying “this is the time for cool, calm heads to prevail”.

Before her speech, Brexit Secretary Dominic RAAB met with the EU Chief Negotiator Michel BARNIER, who he held a long meeting with, but did not manage to come to an agreement regarding the border issue.

In his invitation letter to the EU27 leaders, President of the European Council Donald TUSK admitted that “as things stand today, it has proven to be more complicated than some may have expected”, and he added that “the fact that we are preparing for a no-deal scenario must not, under any circumstances, lead us away from making every effort to reach the best agreement possible, for all sides”.

The EU Summit ended up without making any significant progress. Theresa MAY said that she would be prepared to see the post-Brexit transition period could be extended until the end of 2021. EU leaders seemed disappointed on the state of play, as the deadlock on key issues such as the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland remains. Despite intensive negotiations between the EU and the UK, there has not been sufficient progress to call an extraordinary summit in November. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) also rejected the idea of an extended transition period.

Speaking to the press, EU Chief Negotiator Michel BARNIER said that “we are not there yet”. He said that Brexit should be orderly for everyone and for all issues, adding that much more time will be needed. As the negotiations enter a crunch phase, BARNIER repeated that they will continue to work over calmly and patiently over the next few weeks.

The People's Vote march took place on Saturday 20 October. Almost 700.000 people atteneded, seeking a referendum on the final Brexit deal.

France: The cabinet reshuffle saw Christophe CASTANER being appointed as the new Minister for the Interior, following the resignation of Gérard COLLOMB, the third one in two months. Jacqueline GOURAULT became the new minister for territorial cohesion. Stéphane TRAVERT was replaced by Didier GUILLAUME, as Minister for Agriculture. Franck RIESTER succeeded Françoise NYSSEN in the Ministry of Culture.

Greece: Foreign Minister Nikos KOTZIAS resigned following a row with the leader of the Independent Greeks, the junior coalition partner, Panos KAMMENOS allegedly. According to the Greek press, KOTZIAS felt that Prime Minister Alexis TSIPRAS did not provide him with enough support on accusations regarding handling secret funds. Alexis TSIPRAS, who took over KOTZIAS as Foreign Minister stated that his decision sends multiple messages both internally and externally. The development came at a very crucial moment for the conclusion of the Prespa Agreement on FYROM’s name issue.

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


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