Movers and Shakers | 29 February 2016

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

By Ifigenia Balkoura

29 Feb 2016

European Parliament:

Vice-Chairs of the Committees, Subcommittees and the Delegations:
João PIMENTA LOPES (GUE/NGL, PT) elected Vice-Chair of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM).

Members of the Committees, Subcommittees and the Delegations:
Anna HEDH (S&D, SE) left the Committee on Regional Development (REGI).

Jens NILSSON (S&D, SE) joined the Committee on Regional Development (REGI).

Carolina PUNSET (ALDE, ES) joined the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) and the Delegation to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (D-ACP).

Jaromír KOHLÍČEK (GUE/NGL, CZ) joined the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) and the Delegation to the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committee (D-UA).

Substitutes of the Committees, Subcommittees and the Delegations:
Anna HEDH (S&D, SE) joined the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO).

Jens NILSSON (S&D, SE) left the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO).

Branislav ŠKRIPEK (ECR, SK) left the Delegation for relations with Mercosur (D-MER) and the Delegation to the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (D-LAT) and joined the Delegation for relations with the Mashreq countries (D-MAS).

Jaromír KOHLÍČEK (GUE/NGL, CZ) joined the Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) and the Delegation to the EU-Kazakhstan, EU-Kyrgyzstan, EU-Uzbekistan and EU-Tajikistan Parliamentary Cooperation Committees and for relations with Turkmenistan and Mongolia (D-CAS).

Bill ETHERIDGE (EFDD, UK) joined the Committee on International Trade (INTA) and the Committee on Budgets (BUDG).

David COBURN (EFDD, UK) joined the Committee on International Trade (INTA).

James CARVER (EFDD, UK) joined the Committee on Regional Development (REGI).

Special Committees:
The constituent meeting of the Committee of inquiry into Emission Measurements in the Automotive Sector (EMIS) will be held on 2 March, when it will elect its Chair and Vice-Chairs for a one year term.

National parties:
UK Independence Party (UKIP): The leader of the party and President of the EFFD group in the European Parliament Nigel FARAGE announced the appointment of MEPs Diane JAMES and William Dartmouth as Deputy Chairs of the party. According to the announcement, both Suzanne EVANS and Neil HAMILTON who previously held these positions, are candidates in the upcoming devolved elections, which would limit any role they could play in EU referendum campaign.

Interested in Brexit update from an MEP perspective? - The Parliament Magazine reports on how the Tory MEPs will be voting in June’s referendum. For a detailed breakdown read the full article. Want more on Brexit? Subscribe to our fortnightly bulletin to stay updated with the latest developments. 


European Commission:

Directorates General:
Communications Network, Content and Technology (CONNECT):

The Director-General, Roberto VIOLA announced the rebranding of the DG’s web presence as of 25 February in order to boost the engagement with the public and share attractive content on social media. In this context, the content of the DG CONNECT will merge with the new Digital Single Market website. Digital Single Market name will be used for the central account across all social networks. Interested in twitter engagement? Follow @DSMeu.

Health and Food Safety (SANTE):
Veronique WASBAUER was appointed as Principal Adviser in the DG. She was also seconded to the Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency (CHAFEA) as Director for a four-year term, which is renewable once. The date of the effect has not been decided yet.


European Agencies:

Europol: Commissioner for Migration, Home affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris AVRAMOPOULOS (EL) launched the new European Migrant Smuggling Centre (EMSC). The new structure will be tasked with proactively providing support to the EU member states in dismantling criminal networks involved in organised migrant smuggling and will be focusing on geographical criminal hotspots. It will also support the EU Regional Task Force and the work of other partner agencies by acting as an information hub. The new-style will be led by Robert CREPINKO.


Public Affairs:

APCO Worldwide:  Ex-Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to NATO and to the UN, Frank MAJOOR joined the International Advisory Council (IAC).

European Cancer Organisation (ECCO): Birgit Berger was appointed as the new CEO as of 1 March, succeeding Michel BALLIEU.

Huawei: Walter JI was appointed as President of Consumer Business Group for the Western Europe Region. Mr JI will focus on ensuring that Premium products are offered to the market and developed in a consumer-centric way, as well as cooperating with the local partners.


News in a nutshell: 

Member states:
National Front party founder and MEP Jean-Marie LE PEN (NI) has issued a threat to his daughter and current party leader Marine LE PEN, also an MEP (ENF), saying he will launch a rival party if she refuses to accommodate ultra-conservatives within the party.

Hungary: Prime Minister, Victor ORBAN who strongly opposes the mandatory refugee quotas system announced a referendum on whether or not to accept it. The question that the Hungarian people will be asked is: “Do you want the EU to prescribe the mandatory settlement of non-Hungarian citizens in Hungary even without the consent of Parliament?” ORBAN, who said that “the quotas would redraw the ethnic, cultural and religious map of his country and Europe”, did not give a date for the referendum. However, the European Commission has cited concerns over the legality of the referendum.

Spain: The Socialist Party (S&D) of Pedro SÁNCHEZ signed an agreement with Ciudadanos party (ALDE) hoping to win the support of the other political parties in order to form a government. Although, the coalition would fall short of a parliamentary majority, the leaders of the two parties hope to secure the abstention of the People’s Party of Mariano RAJOY.

Candidate member states:
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM):
The national elections scheduled for April were postponed by the Parliament, responding to concerns that the country has not met yet the conditions to hold credible and democratic elections. Previously, the EU and US ambassadors Aivo ORAV and Jess BAILY expressed their concerns over reports of pressure and intimidation of the voters, in a joint letter to the interim Prime Minister, Emil DIMITIRIEV. Ex-Prime Minister who resigned in January, Nikola GRUEVSKI said that the elections would be held on 5 June but the decision depends on President Gjoge IVANOV.

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