Parliament welcomes its newest member Jordi Solé i Ferrando (Greens/EFA, ES). Solé i Ferrando replaces fellow Republican Left of Catalonia member Oriol Junqueras whose seat was officially made vacant at the beginning of the year after he was sentenced to 13 years in prison by the Spanish Supreme Court for sedition. Solé i Ferrando has previously served as a MEP between 2017-19 when he was a member of the Budgets Committee, the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Turkey Delegation.
A member of the Republican Left since 2003, Solé i Ferrando first worked in Brussels from 2002-07 as an adviser to MEPs from the party. He became mayor of Caldes de Montbui in 2007 and occupied that role until 2019. In 2012, Solé i Ferrando was appointed Secretary General of the European Free Alliance.
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Committees and Delegations
Udo Bullmann (S&D, DE) joins the International Trade Committee (INTA).
Margarida Marques (S&D, PT) joins the International Trade Committee (INTA).
Sylwia Spurek (S&D, PO) joins the Moldova Delegation (D-MD), the South Asia Delegation (D-SAS) and the Euronest Delegation (D-EPA).
Maria Grapini (S&D, RO) leaves the Constitutional Affairs Committee (AFCO) and joins the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE). Grapini is replaces on the Constitutional Affairs Committee (AFCO) by Mihai Tudose (S&D, RO).
Jordi Cañas (RE, ES) joins the Mexico Delegation (D-MX) replacing Luis Garicano (RE, ES).
Luis Garicano (RE, ES) joins the South Asia Delegation (D-SAS) replacing Jordi Cañas (RE, ES).
An extraordinary plenary session was convened on Thursday to discuss the Council’s agreement on a €750 billion, EU post-Covid-19 Economic Recovery Plan and the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). With 465 votes in favour against 150, with 67 abstentions, MEPs made clear that the recovery fund was a “historic move for the EU”, but also criticised long-term and significant cuts to the grant components as well as the lack of a formal role given to the Parliament. With regards to the long-term EU budget, members stated their disapproval of the cuts made to future-oriented programmes and lamented these effects on flagship EU programmes for climate protection, digital transition, health, youth, culture, research or border management. As a result, MEPs have said that they will not "rubber stamp” the European Council’s political agreement on the 2020-21 MFF in its current state and have called for constructive negotiations with the Council to improve the proposal.
Directorates-General and Services
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said she plans a reshuffle to deal more effectively with the economic fallout from COVID-19. A new recovery taskforce is said to be part of this plan, with its date of establishment yet to be determined, according to Politico’s Brussels Playbook.
Council of the European Union
Olaf Prüßmann has been appointed Director, Economic and Financial Affairs in DG ECOMP (Economic Affairs and Competitiveness), succeeding Alda Silveira Reis. Prüßmann was previously Head of Unit, Economic Policy in the same DG.
Preben Aamann, former Spokesperson for Donald Tusk while he was President of the Council, has been appointed Head of Unit, Media Relations in DG COMM (Communication and Information), succeeding Guy Milton.
With effect from 1 September:
Catherine Geslain-Laneelle will assume the role of Director, Veterinary and Plant Health Questions, Food and Forestry in DG LIFE (Agriculture, Fisheries, Social Affairs, Health). Geslain-Laneelle is currently Deputy Head of Cabinet for Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski.
Piotr Serafin, Head of Cabinet to former President Donald Tusk, will assume the role of Director, Transport, Telecommunications and Energy in DG TREE (Transport, Energy, Environment and Education).
With effect from 16 September:
Nicole Bayer will assume the role of Director, Media and Communication in DG COMM (Communication and Information).
With effect from 1 October:
Peter Javorcik will assume the role of Director-General in DG TREE (Transport, Energy, Environment and Education).
Alexandre Pichon will assume the role of Director, Safety and Security in DG ORG (Organisational Services).
EU Institutions and Agencies
European External Action Service (EEAS)
Kai Holst Andersen replaces Jean-Marc Pisani as Head of Division CPCC 1 (Conduct of Operations, Civilian Planning and Conduct Capability) in an acting capacity. Holst Andersen was previously Greenland’s deputy minister responsible for foreign affairs. He rejoined the European External Action Service in 2017.
European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA)
The recruitment procedure for a new chair has been launched. Incumbent chair Steven Maijoor has reached the maximum number of years allowed in the position after nearly a decade in the role and will leave his post on 31 March 2021. The chair of ESMA is appointed by the Council of the European Union following the European Parliament’s confirmation of the candidate.
European Stability Mechanism (ESM)
Newly elected chair of the Eurogroup, Paschal Donohoe has been elected chair of the Governing Council.
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Boyko Borrissov’s third cabinet will remain in power after it survived a no-confidence vote on Tuesday. The vote had been called by the Bulgarian Socialist Party but failed to pass with 124 votes in opposition against 102 in favour. The vote follows accusations that the government has failed to tackle corruption despite the sacking of three ministers last week.
A cabinet reshuffle was announced on Thursday. In addition to the three resignations he demanded last week from Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov, Interior Minister Mladen Marinov and Economy Minister Emil Karanikolov, Borissov also announced the resignation of Nikolina Angelkova as Tourism Minister. Kiril Ananiev moves from Health Minister to Finance Minister while former head of the national police, Hristo Terziyski, is to be the Interior Minister. Ananiev is replaced in his former role as Health Minister by Professor Kostadin Angelov, until now head of Alexandrovska Hospital in Sofia. Deputy Prime Minister Mariana Nikolova will take over the tourism portfolio.
151 newly elected MEPs were sworn in on Thursday and Gordan Jandroković was elected as the speaker of the house with 143 votes in favour, none against and one abstention.
Senator Gianluigi Paragone has launched a new party, ‘Italexit’, a party that aims to take Italy out of the European Union. Paragone left the Five Star Movement last year after the party entered a coalition with the Democratic Party.
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