Movers and Shakers | 27 March 2017

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

By Ifigenia Balkoura

27 Mar 2017

Today's Movers & Shakers are about: the MEP awards, the 60th anniversary of the treaty of Rome, latest news from the Parliament, latest appointments in the Commission and public affairs, the Bulgarian elections and the new interior minister of France, Brexit and more.


European Parliament:

MEP awards:
The 13th MEP awards ceremony took place at the glamourous Concert Noble, recognising MEPs for their outstanding work over the last year. Roberta METSOLA (EPP, MT) hosted the event. Opening the ceremony, METSOLA called on those attending to take a moment to remember the Brussels terrorist attacks, saying, "A year ago today, Brussels suffered a terrorist attack that killed many, injured more and has left a mark on all of us. We have a duty to remember and a responsibility as legislators to act and make Europe safer and freer. We will never forget that day or the people who lost their lives a year ago”.  Eighteen MEPs were awards during the ceremony. See all winners by category and watch the highlights of the awards. Among the presenters were the President of the Committee of the Regions, Markku MARKKULA and the Permanent Representative of Malta to the EU, Marlene BONNICI.

Several deputies attending the 2017 MEP awards briefly assessed the work they and their relevant committees had achieved in the first half of the current parliamentary mandate - and looked forward to the second half of the legislature. Read more.

Brussels attacks anniversary:
22 March marked the first anniversary of the twin attacks at the city's airport and a metro station that killed 32 people. A short ceremony was held in Parliament to mark the commemorations of the terrorist atrocities as part of several events. A similar event also took place at Zaventem airport on Wednesday morning.

Vicky MAEIJER (NI, NL) left Brussels to take on her seat in the Dutch parliament. André ELISSEN will replace her in the European Parliament.

Composition of the committees and the delegations:
The following MEPs were elected in the committee on Budget:

2nd Vice-Chair - Jens GEIR (S&D, DE),
3rd Vice-Chair - Siegfried MURESAN (EPP, RO) and
4th Vice-Chair - Monika HOHLMEIER (EPP, DE)

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Get to know:
Davor ŠKRLEC (Greens/EFA, HR) in 5 questions.

MEPs’ news:
Resolution on lobbying transparency: A resolution called 'Transparency, accountability and integrity in the EU institutions', drafted by German Greens/EFA group deputy Sven GIEGOLD, approved by the constitutional affairs committee on Tuesday. The resolution suggests that all lobbyists looking to influence the legislative process should be required to sign the transparency register before being allowed to meet MEPs on Parliament's premises. Read more.

60th anniversary of the treaty of Rome: In a speech on Tuesday to mark the anniversary, Parliament’s President Antonio TAJANI (EPP, IT) urged member states "not to venture into nationalism" while he insisted that no member state alone could hope to solve the issues facing Europe. Read more.
German S&D group member Jo LEINEN, argued in an article to the Parliament Magazine that the declaration by the EU heads of state on the 60th anniversary of the treaty of Rome must offer a clear commitment to European unification and be the starting-point of a comprehensive public debate on the future of our Union. Read more.

Afzal KAHN (S&D, UK) was selected as Labour’s candidate for the forthcoming Gorton by-election. Read more.


European Commission:

Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI):

Directorate B – Quality, Research and Innovation, Outreach: Lene NAESAGER became acting Director replacing Diego CANGA FANO. Nicolas VERLET became Head of Unit, ‘Organics’, replacing Elena PANICHI was acting in the role.

Economic and Financial Affairs (ECFIN):
Directorate L – Treasury and financial operations: Anna KRZYZANOWSKA became Head of Unit, ‘Coordination with the EIB Group, EBRD and IFIs’, replacing Paulus GERAEDTS who was acting in the role. Ms KRZYZANOWSKA was previously overseeing a unit in DG CNECT, which now has Hervé DUPUY acting in the role.

European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF):
Directorate A – Investigations I: Vasil KIROV became Head of Unit, ‘Centralised Expenditure’, replacing Jean-Louis RIODA who was acting in the role. Mr KIROV was previously in charge of the ‘External Aid’ unit, and will continue to oversee the unit in an acting capacity.

Human Resources and Security (HR):
Georges BINGEN joined the DG as Principle Adviser ‘Luxembourg Site Coordination’, filling a vacant position. He moved from the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency.

Informatics (DIGIT):
The DG was slightly restructured and some of the Directorates were renamed. See below for a list with the corresponding Directors:
Directorate A – Strategy and Resources (was Digital Workplace Solutions): Petra KNEVER
Directorate B – Digital Business Solutions: Ken DUCATEL (T. GAGEIK from 05/17).
Directorate C – Digital Workplace and Infrastructure (was Digital Infrastructure Solutions): Philippe VAN DAMME.
Directorate D – Digital Services: Mario CAMPOLARGO (acting).
Directorate S – IT Security: Ken DUCATEL.

Interpretation (SCIC):
Directorate C – Provision of Interpretation: Filip MAJCEN became Director replacing Maria Do Pilar MOREIRA RIBEIRO who was acting in the role. Prior to this appointment Mr MAJCEN was a Director in DG Translation (DGT). Cristina DE PRETER is now acting in this role.

Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (MARE):
Directorate C – Fisheries Policy -Atlantic, North Sea, Baltic and Outermost Regions:  Hélène CLARK became Director replacing fellow Director Bernhard FRIESS who was acting in the role. Ms CLARK moved to MARE from DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (EMPL) where she was Director of ‘Resources, Planning and Communication’. This role is currently vacant.

Taxation and Customs Union (TAXUD):
Directorate C – Indirect Taxation and Tax Administration: Maite FABREGAS FERNANDEZ became Director replacing Donato RAPONI who was acting in the role. Ms FABREGAS FERNANDEZ’s previous role was Head of ‘Financial Markets Infrastructure’ unit in DG FISMA, which has been taken over by Jennifer ROBERTSON who is acting in the role.


Committee of the Regions (CoR):

Incoming – March 2017:

: Kirstine Helene BILLE (PES)

Germany: Anne QUART (PES); Gerry WOOP (PES)

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: Kirsten JENSEN (PES)

Germany: Stefan LUDWIG (PES)

Spain: Virginia MARCO CÁRCEL (PES)

Portugal: Rui BETTENCOURT (NI)


European Economic and Social Committee (EESC):

Incoming – March 2017:


Luxembourg: Christophe HANSEN


European Investment Bank (EIB):

Board of Directors:

France: Shanti BOBIN replaced Arnaud DELAUNAY as alternate.

United Kingdom: Jennifer YOUNG replaced Vanessa MACDOUGALL as alternate.

Portugal: Elsa RONCON SANTOS left the Board leaving the Director position vacant


European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS):

Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA): Panagiota KALYVA replaced Dirk HOMANN as DPO.

European Research Council Executive Agency (ERCEA): Maria CHACON MOHEDANO replaced João SOARES DA SILVA as DPO.


Public affairs:

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Eni SpA: Alessandro TORELLO joined the Brussels team as European Press Manager, as of 1 March. In the newly-created role, he will mainly be in charge of coordinating Eni’s presence in the EU media landscape, with a particular focus on gas, its role in the EU energy mix and its potential to help meet climate targets. He will also be in charge, press-wise, of the company’s trading and LNG activities. Mr. TORELLO was previously the spokesman for the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers, IOGP, and before that a journalist for The Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones in Brussels.

European Business Aviation Association (EBAA): Brandon MITCHENER was appointed as chief executive officer, effective 3 April. Previously, he was head of corporate communications at Monsanto Co. in Europe and the Middle East.

Scottish Centre for European Relations (SCER): the new Edinburgh based think tank was launched. Its mission will be to provide information via research and analysis on the European developments with a particular focus on Scotland’s EU interests and policies. Brexit, climate change and immigrations are some of the topics it will be looking at. Dr Kirsty HUGHES is the director of the Centre, while among the members of the advisory board are MEPs Alyn SMITH (Greens/EFA, UK), Danuta HÜBNER (EPP, PL) and David MARTIN (S&D, UK), as well as Fabian ZULEEG, Chief Executive and Chief Economist of the European Policy Centre and Giles MERRITT, founder and Chairman of the Friends of Europe think tank.


News in a nutshell:

60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome: EU leaders converged in Rome at the weekend to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the signing of treaty of Rome. In a declaration issued, the leaders from 27 member states said, "Europe is our common future" and voiced optimism that they can hold the bloc together following loss of Britain. Several EU leaders spoke of their hopes and fears, including European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker who said, "Only by staying united can we pass on to future generations a more prosperous, a more social and a safer Europe. Read more.

United Kingdom:
On Wednesday 22 March a terror attack outside the Houses of Parliament left four dead and several injured. The incident happened when the attacker, named Khalid MASOOD drove a car into the crowd at Westminster.
European Commission President Jean-Claude JUNCKER led EU and international tributes to the victims. Read more.

Prime Minister Theresa MAY will trigger Article 50 on 29 March. Read the reactions. European Council President Donald TUSK has announced a special meeting of EU heads of government on 29 April to discuss the Brexit negotiations. Read more.

Addressing the Committee of the Regions plenary on Wednesday 22 March, EU’s chief negotiator Michel BARNIER reiterated the importance of having “open and transparent” talks with the UK ahead of Brexit and insisted that the absence of an agreement between the two sides would have “serious consequences for everyone. Read more.

Bulgaria: Boyko BORISOV's Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party (GERB) won 32% of the votes at the snap elections held on Sunday 26 March. Coalition talks are to be held to form a government.

France: The interior minister Bruno LE ROUX resigned after it was revealed he had employed his daughters as parliamentary assistants during their school holidays. Matthias FEKL has taken over his role.

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

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