Movers and Shakers | 23 January 2017

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

By Ifigenia Balkoura

23 Jan 2017

Today's Movers & Shakers are about: the new president, Vice-Presidents and Quaestors of the European Parliament, the Maltese presidency, latest appointments in the Commission and public affairs, the new Bulgarian and Austrian Presidents, Brexit and more.

European Parliament:

Antonio TAJANI (EPP, IT) was elected as the new President of the Parliament, succeeding Socialist member Martin SCHULZ who has stood down to return to German politics. In the fourth and final ballot, TAJANI secured 351 votes, an absolute majority, while his main rival and fellow Italian, the Socialist candidate Gianni PITTELLA, received 282. His election means the centre-right European Peoples’ Party (EPP) political grouping now holds the presidencies of each of the three main EU institutions: European Commission, Council and Parliament. TAJANI, who will serve until the next European elections in 2019, is a former European Commissioner and long standing MEP. Read the stakeholders’ reaction to the election of TAJANI as the new Parliament Chief.

On Tuesday, just before the ballot, EPP and ALDE groups announced their “pro-European coalition to reform Europe." In statement issued the same day, the two groups agreed that "as part of this political agreement, both groups will back Antonio TAJANI to become President of the European Parliament." ALDE leader Guy VERHOFSTADT (BE) subsequently withdrew his own candidacy for the role. Both VERHOFSTADT and the leader of EPP group, Manfred WEBER (DE) defended the coalition, saying "Our coalition plan is open to all pro-European groups. It's a coalition of ideas to change the direction of the EU. The agreement entails a European border and coast guard. A new governance for the eurozone to lift us out of the crisis.” Read more.

Vice Presidents:
Bogusław LIBERADZKI (S&, PL), previously Quaestor
David-Maria SASSOLI (S&D, IT)*
Evelyne GEBHARDT (S&D, DE)
Ioan Mircea PAŞCU (S&D, RO)*
Ulrike LUNACEK (Greens/EFA, AT)*
Alexander Graf LAMBSDORFF (ALDE, DE)*

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Vladimír MAŇKA (S&D, SK)
Catherine BEARDER (ALDE, UK)*

*indicates re-election

Given the composition of the new Bureau, the political group, countries and gender breakdown is as follows:

Political groups:
EPP: 7
S&D: 6
ECR: 2
Greens/EFA: 1

The bureau is comprised of MEPs from 14 countries:

Austria (1), Bulgaria (1), Czech Republic (1), France (2), Germany (3), Greece (1), Hungary (1), Ireland (1), Italy (2), Poland (3), Romania (1), Slovakia (1), Spain (1) and United Kingdom (1).

Males: 13
Females: 7

Incoming MEPs:
Peter KOUROUMBASHEV (S&D, BU) joined as member at an interesting time for the Parliament. He replaces Iliana IOTOVA who left her seat to take on her new post as Vice-President of Bulgaria on 22 January.

The composition of all the 22 standing committees was approved by the plenary on 19 January. The committees will elect their chairs and vice-chairs in their meetings next week. Here’s the new MEPs committees’ assignments:

José Ignacio SALAFRANCA SÁNCHEZ-NEYRA (EPP, ES) joined the CONT committee.

Peter KOUROUMBASHEV (S&D, BU) joined the ITRE committee.

Jordi SOLÉ (Greens/EFA, ES) joined the AFET and BUDG committees.

José Ignacio SALAFRANCA SÁNCHEZ-NEYRA (EPP, ES) joined the AFET committee.

Peter KOUROUMBASHEV (S&D, BU) joined the TRAN, PETI, D-AL and D-CN committees.

Jordi SOLÉ (Greens/EFA, ES) joined the FEMM and DROI committees.

The full updates on the committees’ membership can be found on our online database Dods People EU


European Commission:

Spokesperson's Service (SPP):
Anca PADURAU joined the Foreign and Security Policy team as an EEAS Press Officer.


Maltese Presidency:

Maltese Prime Minister Joseph MUSCAT presented the priorities of the Maltese presidency to the European Parliament Plenary. After congratulating Anotnio TAJANI on his elections as the Parliament’s President, he explained that the Presidency will be a fair partner and will work to achieve the results the EU seeks. He then outlined the issues on which the Maltese presidency will be focusing, which are: migration, the single market, security, social inclusion, Europe’s neighbourhood and the maritime sector. Read more.

Dods EU Monitoring team have also prepared an updated guide outlining the priorities (by policy area) and useful contacts of the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Download your free guide.

MUSCAT also warned the member states to prepare for another migration crisis and said all member states must be ready to share the burden of a further influx of migrants and asylum seekers. Read more


Missions to the EU:

Paraguay: H.E. Mr Rigoberto GAUTO became Ambassador and Head of Delegation on 15 January. He replaced H.E. Mr Mario Francisco SANDOVAL FERNÁDEZ. Mr GAUTO has yet to present his credentials to Council President Donald TUSK, which is when he will be officially recognised as Ambassador. 

United States of America: Adam SHUB became Chargé d'Affaires of the US Mission following the end of Anthony GARDNER's time as Ambassador. Mr SHUB served as Deputy Head of Mission since July 2015.


Public Affairs:

Acumen: Nikos MANARAS joined the team as Account Manager as of 9 January. In his new role, Nikos will be focusing on healthcare clients. Prior to joining acumen public affairs, he worked at the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (EADV) as the Senior EU Affairs and Media Coordinator, where he set up the EU Affairs and Media department. 

European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (EADV): Pascale BLAES joined the team as the new Senior EU Affairs and Media Coordinator, replacing Nikos MANARAS.


News in a nutshell:

Brexit: On Tuesday 17 January Prime Minister Theresa MAY set out her 12 points for Britain’s departure from the EU block. Some of the key aims are the control of immigration, the free trade with the European markets and the new agreements with other countries and the cooperation in fight against crime and terrorism. Read the full speech transcribed by PoliticsHome here.

She warned EU leaders that it would be a “calamitous act of self-harm” to punish Britain for Brexit as she threatened to walk away from talks if the deal on offer was not good enough. Read more. She also confirmed that both Houses of Parliament will get a vote on the final deal agreed between the EU and the UK. The Brexit Secretary David Davis said that MPs will not vote down the Government’s final Brexit deal when it comes before parliament and argued the withdrawal negotiations “will succeed” and that parliament will deliver voters' wish to quit the EU. Read more.

MAY’s speech failed to impress Brussels though. Responding to her Brexit landmark speech, European Council President Donald TUSK said it was a sad day but that MAY had made a "more realistic announcement" on Brexit and the EU was now ready to start talks, while Parliament's chief Brexit negotiator, Guy VERHOFSTADT, reacted bullishly after the confirmation that the UK will be leaving the single market to regain control of its immigration policies. Read more. European Commission President Jean-Claude JUNCKER welcomed her Brexit clarification, but warned the UK that it can expect “very, very difficult” negotiations. However, he insisted that neither he nor the EU was in a “hostile mood” towards the UK over its planned exit. Read more.

The Scottish First Minister Nicola STURGEON said ripping the UK out of the EU and single market against the will of Scotland made a fresh drive to break away “more likely”. Read more.

UK foreign minister Boris JOHNSON has come under fire after he warned French President François HOLLANDE not to hit the UK with World War Two-style "punishment beatings" for leaving the EU. Read more.

The landmark ruling on whether the government can trigger Article 50 without the consent of Parliament will be delivered on Tuesday 24 January. Read more.

Austria: Alexander VAN DER BELLEN will be sworn in as the new President on 26 January, replacing Heinz FISCHER.

Bulgaria: Rumen RADEV took oath on 22 January as the President, succeeding Rosen PLEVNELIEV.

Germany: 24 September 2017 is the date that was proposed by the German cabinet for the parliamentary elections. The date has now to be approved by the President Joachim GAUCK. 

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


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