Movers and Shakers | 27 February 2017

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

By Ifigenia Balkoura

27 Feb 2017

Today's Movers & Shakers are about: latest news from the European Parliament, latest appointments in the Commission, EEAS and public affairs, the new Cypriot Permanent Representative to the EU, the new Romanian ministers, Brexit and more.


European Parliament:

Composition of Committee and Delegations:

Fernando RUAS (EPP, PT) left his role as vice-chair of the delegation to the ACP-EU joint parliamentary assembly (D-ACP).

João PIMENTA LOPES (GUE/NGL, PT) was elected as vice-chair of the delegation to the Euro-Latin American parliamentary assembly (D-LAT), replacing Marina ALBIOL GUZMÁN (GUE/NGL, ES), who became a member of the delegation.

Paulo RANGEL (EPP, PT) joined the delegation to the ACP-EU joint parliamentary assembly (D-ACP).

Paulo RANGEL (EPP, PT) joined the delegation for relations with the Mashreq countries (D-MAS) and the delegation to the parliamentary assembly of the union for the Mediterranean (D-MED).

Lidia Joanna GERINGER de OEDENBERG (S&D, PL) joined the committee on the internal market and consumer protection (IMCO), replacing Manuel dos SANTOS.

Jakop DALUNDE (Greens/EFA, LT) joined the committee on foreign affairs (AFET). 

MEPs’ and committees’ news:
President of the S&D group, Gianni PITTELLA (IT) visited London on Thursday 23 February, in order to meet the leader of the UK Labour party, Jeremy CORBYN and discuss Brexit and the future of Europe, within the framework of his European tour. In a statement following the meeting, PITTELLA said “Regardless of Brexit, Labour is and will remain one of the main actors in the European progressive family. We need to work together with the Labour Party to ensure a fair Brexit for British and EU citizens”.

Paul NUTTALL (EFDD, UK) was defeated by Labour’s Gareth SNELL in the Stoke by-election. Read more.

Panama Papers fact-finding mission: Parliament's committee of inquiry into money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion has concluded its fact-finding mission to Malta. During the visit this week, MEPs questioned several people as part of their inquiries into the Panama Papers scandal. Miguel VIEGAS (GUE/NGL, PT), said, "It is disappointing that some of the central figures named in the Panama Papers and other tax evasion and money laundering scandals refused to meet with the parliamentary inquiry committee. Read more.

Eurozone plans: A resolution drafted by German EPP group member Reimer BÖGE and Pervenche BERÈS, a French Socialist, proposes bringing the euro area economies closer together and making them more resilient to outside shocks. The two MEPs advocate a convergence strategy funded by a specific euro area budget, financed by its member states and available under clear conditions. Read more.

Delegation to India: a six-member delegation from Parliament’s IMCO committee visited Mumbai and New Delhi, India from 21 to 23 February and met with the ministers for skills development, consumer affairs, and electronics and information technology. The delegation was composed of the chair of the IMCO committee, Vicky FORD (ECR, UK), as well as Evelyne GEBHARDT (S&D, DE), Andreas SCHWAB (EPP, DE), Olga SEHNALOVÁ (S&D, CZ), Marlene MIZZI (S&D, MT) and Ivan ŠTEFANEC (EPP, SK). During the visit, the delegation discussed issues related to standardisation, services, customs and consumer protection

Delegation to Jerusalem: a five-member delegation, led by Neoklis SYLIKIOTIS (GUE/NGL, CY) visited Jerusalem and the West Bank from 20 to 24 February. MEPs expressed their concerns about the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and discussed the decision of Israel’s decision to build 3000 new homes in the West Bank and retroactively legalise settlements illegally built on the Palestinian land, which violates the self-determination rights of Palestinians.

Get to know:
Sirpa PIETIKÄINEN (EPP, FI) in 5 questions.

The face of the week:
The Romanian S&D group member, Victor NEGRESCU spoke to the Parliament Magazine about relating to Europe's millennials, why EU membership was a dream come true for Romania and why he believes a 'two-speed Europe' is a stupid idea. He also commented on the rising populism, explaining that "we blame populism, but behind populism, we have people, and most of them, I have to say, are politicians. Every time they make a mistake, they blame the EU for what they did." Read the full interview.

DG – Internal Policies of the Union:
Sarah BLAU joined the Legislative Coordination and Conciliation Directorate to become Head of Unit, 'Conciliations and Co-decision'. Previously, Ms BLAU was Deputy Head of Martin SCHULZ's cabinet until it was dissolved in February.

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European Commission:

Directorates General:

Mobility and Transport (MOVE)/ Energy (ENER):
Shared Resource Directorate: Rosalind BUFTON became Head of Unit, ‘Financial Management’, replacing Marcos ROMAN PARRA who was acting in the role. Ms BUFTON moved from DG EAC where she was head of the Accounting and Finance unit.

Task Force – Article 50:
Randolph DE BATTISTA joined the task force as a policy officer, 'seconded national expert', having previously worked as the head of cabinet for Malta's EU ambassador.

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European External Action Service (EEAS):

EU Delegations:
Republic of Korea
: Michael REITERER was appointed head of delegation, starting on 16 February 2017. He was previously the principle adviser to the managing director for Asia and the Pacific in the EEAS. He replaced Gerhard SABATHIL, who became principal adviser for economic diplomacy in the EEAS.

Egypt: Ivan SURKOS was appointed head of delegation, as of 16 February 2017. Prior to this appointment Mr SURKOS held a number of diplomatic positions on behalf of his native Slovakia. He replaced James MORAN, who became principle adviser for the Middle East and North Africa directorate in the EEAS.


Permanent Representations to the EU:

Cyprus: Nicholas EMILIOU succeeded Kornelios KORNELIOU as the new ambassador - permanent representative to the EU, as of 13 February. Mr EMILIOU, who served at the same role from 2004 to 2008, was previously the Permanent Representative of Cyprus to the United Nations, New York.


Public Affairs:

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AccorHotels: Former French President Nicola SARKOZY was appointed as director. In his new role, SARKOZY will be chairing the newly created international strategy committee, focusing on developing the company’s network and brand portfolio. 

Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation of the EU (FACE): Ludwig WILLNEGGER started his new role as Secretary-General, taking over from Filippo SEGATO.

International Road Transport Union (IRU): Matthias MAEDGE was appointed as the new General Delegate (head of office) for its Brussels office, as of 1 March. Matthias brings extensive experience of working within the transport sector in a leadership role having previously been the Secretary General of NGVA Europe, which promotes natural gas and bio- and synthetic methane alternative fuel used in the road transport sector. Matthias, 37 years old, holds a Master’s degree in Political Science, Media & Communications and in addition to his native German, speaks English, French, Spanish and Italian.

Weber Shandwick: Monica RADELESCU joined the Brussels team as strategic planner. In the newly created role, she will be working with the public affairs, corporate communications, regional planning and consumer marketing teams. She joins Weber Shandwick from JWT in Bucharest, where she was senior strategic planner and head of digital.


News in a nutshell:

Brexit: The Article 50 bill was passed to the House of Lords for a second reading during a two-day debate. Prime Minister Theresa MAY took the extraordinary step of attending the House of Lords in person to watch the debate. Mrs MAY was sitting in front of the monarch’s throne in the upper chamber as Leader of the Lords Baroness Evans warned peers to “respect the primacy” of the House of Commons – and the result of the referendum – and not to hold up the passage of the legislation. Read more.

Brexit Secretary David DAVIS admitted that it will take “years and years” for Brits to fill the job vacancies left by migrant workers after Brexit, while he insisted EU workers in hotels and restaurants, the social care sector and agriculture would continue to be welcomed for at least a period after Brexit. Read more.

European Commission President Jean-Claude JUNCKER warned that Britain must pay a “hefty” bill when it quits the EU, as he rallied remaining members to prepare for a “tough negotiation”. He said the bloc’s 27 members must not approach the upcoming talks with “hostility” towards the UK, but warned them not to be “naive”. Read more.

Former EU Permanent Representative, Sir Ivan ROGERS said during a hearing the UK would struggle unless its financial services were allowed special access to markets on the continent - but played down hopes of such a deal. Read more.

According to official figures revealed on 23 February, the new migration to the UK fell to its lowest level for two years. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said 273,000 more people entered the country during the year, which represents a fall of 49,000 compared with the year to September 2015 and is the lowest level since the year to June 2014. Read more.

On the EU side, a cross-party group has been set up in the European Parliament to investigate complaints about residency issues facing EU nationals in the UK who say they currently find themselves living in limbo. The task force will investigate complaints by EU nationals living in the UK who fear they will not be allowed to continue living in Britain when the country exits the EU. Read more.

EU-US: Speaking in Brussels last week, the US Vice President Mike PENCE sought to allay fears that the new Trump administration will row back on decades of US support for European security interests. He said that "whatever differences" may exist between the two sides, the US was "committed to continuing and expanding" its collaboration with Europe on collective security. Read more.

Austria: Minister for health and women, Sabine OBERHAUSER died on Thursday 23 February, after suffering from abdominal cancer.

Romania: Alexandru PETRESCU was appointed as the new business minister and Tudorel TOADER as the new justice minister, replacing Florin JIANU and Florin IORDACHE respectively, who resigned earlier this month. The newly appointed cabinet saw two more entries as part of a reshuffle. Rovana PLUMB became the new minister for European funds and Mihai TUDOSE replaced Alexandru PETRESCU, as economy minister. The new ministers took oath on Thursday 23 February.


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


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