Today's Movers & Shakers are about: the Parliament's presidency, the incoming and outgoing MEPs, plenary's highlights, latest appointments in the Commission and public affairs, Brexit, the new Lithuanian Prime Minister, the new Danish government and more.
Following weeks of speculation, European Parliament President Martin SCHULZ (S&D, DE) announced on Thursday 24 November he will not be seeking an unprecedented third term. Instead, he will run as the head of the SPD in North Rhine Westphalia in the hope of winning a seat in the German Bundestag. Read more. Read the MEP reactions to SCHULZ’s departure.
Meanwhile, Alain LAMASSOURE (FR) has announced he is running to be EPP group candidate for the Presidency. Sylvie GULARD (ALDE, FR) also announced she is standing for the role.
Pablo ZALBA BIDEGAIN (EPP, ES) will leave his seat as MEP, following his appointment as President of the Instituto de Crédito Oficial (ICO), a state-owned bank attached to the Spanish Ministry of Economy. ZALBA served until last week as Vice-Chair of the ECON Committee and co-rapporteur of the ad-hoc EMIS Committee. Jens GIESEKE (EPP, DE) has replaced him as co-rapporteur.
Tiemo WÖLKEN (S&D, DE) joined the Parliament, replacing Matthias GROOTE, who became Landrat for Leer, north-western Lower Saxony.
Alexandra MAYER (S&D, UK) and former member of Leeds City Council, John Michael PROCTER (ECR, UK) also joined the Parliament, replacing Richard HOWITT and Timothy KIRKHOPE respectively.
Composition of the Parliament:
Diane JAMES (UK) quit UKIP and EFDD Group and is now sitting as an independent MEP. JAMES said her relationship with UKIP had become "increasingly difficult" and that she had been offered no support by the executive during her leadership. Read more. She is the second MEP who leaves the group, following Steven WOOLFE, who quit UKIP and EFDD after an altercation with a fellow MEP Mike HOOKEM. Nigel FARAGE has reacted angrily to the news, telling the Parliament Magazine “This is yet another act of irrational selfishness from Diane JAMES. This pattern of behaviour says that is she unfit to continue as an MEP.” Read more.
Following the defection of JAMES from EFDD group, the current seat breakdown is as follow:
UKIP: came once again under fire, after an audit compiled for the European Parliament's bureau, alleged UKIP misspent tens of thousands of euros to fund its own electioneering and to help boost the Brexit campaign in the run up to the EU referendum. Read more. The Electoral Commission in the UK has launched a formal investigation into whether UKIP "accepted impermissible donations" from EU sources. Read more.
On Monday 28 November, MEP Paul NUTTALL was elected as the new Leader of the party, replacing interim leader Nigel FARAGE.
EU-Turkey relations: MEPs approved a resolution by 479 votes to 37 and 107 abstentions urging the freezing of the EU accession talks with Turkey until it halts repression. Read more.
Günther OETTINGER’s questioning: the Commissioner who is set to take over the Commission's budget dossier in the New Year, will be questioned by MEPs about his qualifications for the post in December but will not face a confirmation vote. Read more.
New caps on air pollution: MEPs approved the report of Julie GIRLING (ECR, UK) at the plenary session. The new directive sets out national emission reduction commitments for sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC), ammonia (NH3) and fine particulates. Read more.
Brexit: European Parliament's Chief Brexit Negotiator Guy VERHOFSTADT (ALDE, BE) held talks with the UK Secretary of State for Exiting the EU David DAVIS and warned that there can be no new UK deal that puts the EU's four freedoms at risk. Read more. Slovakian Prime Minister Robert FICO, told a conference in Bratislava, "I'm not sure whether the UK knows what it wants" and forecasted that Britain’s exit from the EU will be painful. Read more.
Speaking in Strasbourg on Tuesday, EPP group Chair Manfred WEBER (DE) criticised the UK Foreign Secretary of State Boris JOHNSON over his recent visit to Turkey, where the former London Mayor said the Turkish people could rely on British support in its efforts to join the EU. Read more.
Committees and MEPs news:
EU campaign to stop “revenge porn”: Roberta METSOLA (EPP, MT) launched a written declaration on revenge pornography and cyberbullying in Strasbourg and called on member states to take all necessary measures and develop anti-cyberbullying awareness programmes and education tools. “We know the devastating effects that this crime can have on its victims including severe mental health issues, social stigma and in some cases even suicide. It must be stopped,” the MEP said.
Jasenko SELIMOVIC (ALDE, SE): was reprimanded by President SCHULZ for psychological harassment against his Accredited Assistants, following the findings of the Advisory Committee on Harassment and its Prevention at the Workplace. SELIMOVIC maintained his innocence in a written statement. The matter has now been referred to the Swedish Liberal Party’s ethics committee.
CULT Committee: On 21 November, the CULT Committee discussed the draft report on the Coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the provision of audiovisual media services in view of changing market realities. Read Dods EU Monitoring’s briefing on the discussion.
CETA: Maria ARENA (S&D, BE) anaylses the difficulties in agreeing CETA highlight the need for an overhaul of EU trade policy and the lessons learnt from Wallonia. Read more.
Get to know:
Catherine STIHLER in 5 questions.
Vice-Chairs of the Committees, Subcommittees and the Delegations:
Pablo ZALBA BIDEGAIN (EPP, ES) left his role as 4th Vice-Chairs of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON).
Members of the Committees, Subcommittees and the Delegations:
Dubravka ŠUICA (EPP, HR) joined the Delegation to the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committee (D-UA).
Ivica TOLIĆ (EPP, HR) joined the Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN).
Željana ZOVKO (EPP, HR) joined the Committee on Development (DEVE) and the Delegation for relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo (D-SEE).
Esther HERRANZ GARCÍA (EPP, ES) switched from substitute to member of the Delegation to the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (D-LAT) and joined the Delegation to the EU-Chile Joint Parliamentary Committee (D-CL).
Gabriel MATO (EPP, ES) joined the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) and the Committee of Inquiry to investigate alleged contraventions and maladministration in the application of Union law in relation to money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion (PANA).
Pablo ZALBA (EPP, ES) left the Delegation to the EU-Chile Joint Parliamentary Committee (D-CL), the Delegation to the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (D-LAT), the Committee of Inquiry to investigate alleged contraventions and maladministration in the application of Union law in relation to money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion (PANA).
Tiemo WÖLKEN (S&D, DE) joined the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI), the Delegation to the EU-Mexico Joint Parliamentary Committee (D-MX) and the Delegation to the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (D-LAT).
Morten LØKKEGAARD (ALDE, DK) switched from substitute to member of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO).
Ángela VALLINA (GUE/NGL, ES) joined the Delegation for relations with the Arab Peninsula (D-ARP).
Substitutes of the Committees, Subcommittees and the Delegations:
Pablo ZALBA (EPP, ES) left the Delegation for relations with the countries of the Andean Community (D-AND).
Rosa ESTARÀS FERRAGUT (EPP, ES) joined the Delegation for relations with the countries of the Andean Community (D-AND).
Tiemo WÖLKEN (S&D, DE) joined the Committee on Regional Development (REGI).
Maria GRAPINI (S&D, RO) joined the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE).
Viorica DĂNCILĂ (S&D, RO) left the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE).
Catherine BEARDER (ALDE, UK) switched from member to substitute of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO).
Dennis de JONG (GUE/NGL, NL) switched from member to substitute of Delegation for relations with the Arab Peninsula (D-ARP).
Kristallina GEORGIEVA: Dennis CHAIBI was promoted from member to Deputy Head of Cabinet, replacing Andreas SCHWARZ, who was appointed as became Head of Unit, ‘Multiannual financial framework; funding systems and forecasts; budgetary aspects of enlargement’ at DG BUDG.
Cabinet of Cecilia MALMSTRÖM: Nele EICHHORN, who is on paternity leave was replaced by Pedro VELASCO MARTINS.
Cabinet of Karmenu VELLA: Aurore MAILLET, who is on maternity leave until 10 March 2017 (tbc), was replaced by Astrid LADEFOGED.
Economic and Financial Affairs (ECFIN):
Kerstin JORNA (DE) was appointed as Deputy Director-General as of 16 December, replacing Marco BUTI who has been acting in the role. She will have responsibility over Directorates B, E and L. Ms JORNA is currently Director, ‘Single Market Policy, Regulation and Implementation’, in DG GROW.
Migration and Home Affairs (HOME):
Simon MORDUE (GB) was appointed as Deputy Director-General as of 1 December. He will be responsible for EU migration policy and the European Agenda for Migration. Mr MORDUE is currently Director, ‘Strategy and Turkey’, in DG NEAR.
Communication Networks, Content and Technology (CNECT):
Khalil ROUHANA (FR) was appointed as Deputy Director-General with a start date yet to be determined. He will manage research and innovation programmes, digital industry directorates and the digital transformation of the public sector and services. Mr ROUHANA is current a Director in DG CNECT in charge of ‘Digital Industry’.
Research and Innovation (RTD):
Directorate R – Resources: Priscila FERNÁNDEZ-CAÑADAS (ES) was appointed as Director having served as acting Director since April 2016. Ms FERNÁNDEZ-CAÑADAS is also Head of Unit, ‘New Management Modes’, in DG RDT.
Taxation and Customs Union (TAXUD):
Directorate R – Resources: Sabine HENZLER (DE) was appointed as Director replacing Stephen QUEST who was acting in the role. Prior to this appointment, Ms HENZLER was Head of Unit, ‘Internal Coordination, Process Optimisation and Relationship Management’, in DG DIGIT.
European External Action Service (EEAS):
Turkey: Christian BERGER (AT) was officially confirmed as Ambassador and Head of the European Union Delegation to Turkey during a letter presentation ceremony with President Recep Tayyip ERDOĞAN. Mr BERGER’S appointment was announced in July following the resignation of the former Ambassador, Hansjörg HABER, in June. Mr BERGER previous role was Director/ Deputy Managing Director, ‘Middle East and North Africa’ in the Political Affairs department of EEAS.
Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER): Andris PIEBALGS was appointed as Chair of the ACER’s Board of Appeals during a meeting of the Board on 17 November. Mr PIEBALGS is currently Chairman of the Board of the Latvian political party UNITY and previously served as a European Commissioner from 2004 to 2014.
European Economic and Social Committee (EESC):
Netherlands: on 21 November Hester HOUWING was appointed as a member of the EESC replacing Melanie Irmgard BOUWKNEGT, who finished her term. Ms HOUWING has joined the ‘Workers’ Group (Group II)’. Her appointment will run until 20 September 2020.
European Stability Mechanism (ESM):
Board of Directors: Emma NAVARRO AGUILERA was appointed as the Spanish member to the Board of Directors following her appointment as Secretary General for the Treasury and Financial Policy in Spain. She replaced Rosa Maria SANCHEZ-YEBRA ALONSO.
General Court of the European Union:
On 16 November the term of office for Emmanuel COULON, Registrar of the General Court, was renewed for a further six year term, for the period 6 October 2017 to 5 October 2023. Mr COULON joined the General Court on 6 October 2005 meaning that this renewal will see him serve a third term.
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British Chambers of Commerce in Belgium: Nikolaus TACKE was elected as the new Chair of the EU Committee. Nikolaus is currently the Managing Director and Head of Brussels Office of Hering Schuppener Consulting, having previously worked for Coca-Cola Company. In his new role, he will be focusing on shaping the dialogue for the members of the Chambers, given the changing relationship between the UK and the EU.
EURELECTRIC: Kristian RUBY was appointed as the new Secretary General, effective January 2017, succeeding Hans TEN BERGE.
European Coordination of Independent TV Producers (CEPI): during its General Assembly meeting in Ljubljana, CEPI announced its new leadership. Jérôme DECHESNE, Assistant Delegate General at the French Union for Audiovisual Production (USPA) was appointed as President, succeeding Barbara GALAVAN of Screen Producers Ireland. He is joined by Max RUNNEY, Deputy CEO of PACT who was appointed as Vice-Chair. Former CEPI President, Dr. Werner MÜLLER of Film and Music Austria (FAMA) was appointed as Treasurer of the association.
European Biomass Association (AEBIOM): Didzis PALEJS was elected as President, taking over from Gustav MELIN and Thomas SIEGMUND as Vice-President. AEBIOM elected its new Vice-President, Thomas Siegmund. The Associations also renewed part of its board by appointing Michael DORAN, Christoph PFEMETER, Marijan KAVRAN, Vilma GAUBYTE, Eric VIAL and Gustav MELIN.
European Crop Protection Association (ECPA): Eric DEREUDRE succeeded Martin DAWKINS as President of the association, while Jean-Philippe AZOULAY was formally appointed as Director-General, a post he was holding since September 2016. The General Assembly also elected Alexandra BRAND, Regional Director EAME, of Syngenta as Vice-President. Brand will replace her fellow colleague from Syngenta, Andrew GUTHRIE. Joerg ELLMANNS, Senior Vice President North-West Europe for Bayer’s Crop Science Division replaced Eric DEREUDRE as Treasurer.
GML: Former Speechwriter to the President of the European Commission, Jonathan HILL was appointed as the new Director of Communications, effective Monday 21 November.
News in a nutshell:
Austria: the presidential elections will be held on 4 December following the faulty glue on postal votes in the re-run. The two candidates are Alexander VAN DER BELLEN, Green party and Norbert HOFER, Freedom Party.
Brexit: Britain could stay in the European Union for longer than two years after Article 50 is triggered, Downing Street has confirmed. The development came after Theresa MAY told business leaders that British people do not want to face a "cliff edge" as the Brexit deadline looms. Read more.
US president-elect Donald TRUMP tweeted that Nigel FARAGE would do "a great job" as Britain’s Ambassador. Downing Street moved quickly to quash the suggestion, saying: "There is no vacancy. We have an excellent ambassador to the US." Read more.
According to the Government’s fiscal watchdog, the vote to leave the EU will cost the Government almost £60bn over the next six years. Lower migration alone is expected to hit the British economy to the tune of almost £6bn by the 2020-21 financial year. Read more.
Former Prime Minister Tony BLAIR has insisted the Brexit vote can be overturned if voters become convinced leaving the European Union will damage the economy. Read more.
Bulgaria: The Constitutional Court rejected the request of President Rossen PLENVELIEV to call snap elections, three months before the end of his mandate without dissolving the Parliament. Instead he may appoint a caretaker cabinet.
Cyprus: Negotiations for the re-unification of the island came to a dead-end. President Nicos ANASTASIADES vowed to explore ways to resume them.
Denmark: Prime Minister Lars Løkke RASMUSSEN agreed to form a new government with the Liberal Alliance and the Conservatives, following coalition talks.
France: Conservative former Prime Minister François FILLON has been selected as his party's candidate for next year's presidential elections. FILLON, who served as Prime Minister of France from 2007 to 2012 beat his opponent, Alain JUPPÉ - also a former Prime Minister - with 67 per cent of the vote. Read more.
Italy: The constitutional reform referendum will be held on 4 December. The result is considered of great importance for the political stability of the country, as Prime Minister Matteo RENZI had initially pledged to step down if he loses.
Lithuania: President Dalia GRYBAUSKAITĖ approved Saulius SKVERNELIS, Peasants and Greens Union (Greens/EFA) as Prime Minister on Tuesday 22 November.