Movers and Shakers | 29 January 2018

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

By Ifigenia Balkoura

29 Jan 2018

Today's Movers & Shakers are about:  Parliament's number of seats after Brexit, MEPs' news, appointments in public affairs, the presidential elections in Cyprus, Finland and the Czech Republic, latest on  Brexit and more.


European Parliament:

EU elections 2019:
The members of the committee on constitutional affairs proposed to reduce the number of seats in the Parliament from 751 to 705 when the UK leaves the EU. MEPs backed a proposal according to which 46 out of the 73 seats, currently held by UK MEPs would be reallocated to any new countries joining the EU and/or pan-European electoral lists. The other 27 would be distributed among the 14 EU countries that are currently said to be slightly under-represented. The following countries will gain seats:

France and Spain: 5
Italy and Netherlands: 3
Ireland: 2
Poland, Romania, Sweden, Austria, Denmark, Slovakia, Finland, Croatia and Estonia: 1

Danuta HÜBNER (EPP, PL) and Pedro SILVA PEREIRA (A&D, PT) are Parliament’s co-rapporteurs. The initiative will be voted by the chamber and once approved will be put to the European Council for a unanimous decision.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day:
A ceremony took place at the European Parliament on 24 January to observe the international holocaust Remembrance Day on 27 January. The event was held together with the European Jewish Congress (ECJ) and the Conference of European Rabbis (CER).

MEPs’ news:
Rupert MATTHEWS (ECR, UK) launched Projekt Hansa on 23 January. The project is an ECR group initiative aiming to promote trade, tourism and development of cultural links across northern Europe. Its first event will be held on 15 February in Nottingham, UK.

Gianni PITTELLA (S&D, IT) announced he will run as candidate for the Italian Senate in the general elections that will be held on 4 March. PITTELLA is the leader of the S&D group and has been an MEP since 1999.

Anneleen VAN BOSSUYT (ECR, BE) was picked as the leading candidate for the local election (14 October 2018) in Ghent. She has been an MEP since 2015 and is chair of the committee on the internal market and consumer protection (IMCO).

Rory PALMER (S&D, UK) recently celebrated his first 100 days as an MEP. He also welcomed his second child.

Petr JEŽEK (ALDE, CZ) announced his resignation from his national party ANO. The move follows the party’s support to Miloš ZEMAN in the presidential elections, the run off of which was held last weekend. He also voiced his disagreement with the party’s ties with the communist party and the Freedom and Direct Democracy party. JEŽEK is the second ANO MEP after Pavel TELIČKA to leave the party.

Finnish MEPs Merja KYLLÖNEN (GUE/NGL), Paavo VÄYRYNEN (ALDE) and Nils TORVALDS (ALDE) run as candidates in the presidential elections. See below.

Composition of the committees and delegations:

Paul NUTTALL (EFDD, UK) joined the committee on budgetary control (CONT) and the committee on budgets (BUDG).


Get to know:

Maria ARENA (S&D, BE) in 5 questions.
Ms ARENA has been an MEP since 2014. She is a member of the committee on international trade and the committee on women's rights and gender equality. She is also rapporteur of opinion on 'transparent and accountable management of natural resources in developing countries: the case of forests' for the international trade committee.


Female entrepreneurship:

The Parliament Magazine organized a debate on how the EU can help women entrepreneurs. The event was hosted by Biljana BORZAN (S&D, HR), rapporteur on the ‘external factors that represent hurdles to European female entrepreneurship’ and S&D group shadow rapporteur for report on 'EU funds to improve work-life balance.' 

The panel was comprised of:
Eva FABRY, director of the European Centre for Women and Technology, Norway​
Rotem SHNEOR, Associate Professor, University of Agder, School of Business and Law, Norway
Denitsa SACHEVA, deputy minister of education and science, Bulgaria
Nadja HIRSCH (ALDE, DE), head of FDP delegation in the European Parliament
Lowri EVANS, Director-General of DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, European Commission

During the debate it was mentioned that would-be female entrepreneurs are still being held back from achieving their dreams by a “fear of failure.” Read more about the discussion.


Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe:

The alliance was officially registered as a European political party, after being approved by the authority for European parties and European political foundations.  


European Commission:

Public hearing on the Public Sector Information (PSI) directive:
DG CNECT organised a public hearing on the review of the PSI directive on 19 January. Representatives from various sectors took the floor. While most participants agreed that data creates added value and is crucial in today’s economy, some cautioned against opening up all data as some of it is sensitive or has security implications. Others argued that the private sector should not gain access to all public-sector information. Read Dods EU Monitoring briefing about the hearing.

Galileo Security Monitoring Centre back-up (GSMC):
The Commission decided to transfer the back-up site from the UK to Spain, following an open call for expression of interest to host the Centre back in August.


Space policy:

Jerzy BUZEK (EPP, PL), chair of the Parliament’s industry, research and energy committee talked to the Parliament Magazine about importance of EU space policy. The MEP argued that space policy is associated with the most innovative technologies, so it is of crucial importance for the EU to invest in space policy. 



Hans VIJLBRIEF was appointed as the new president of the Eurogroup working group (EWG) as of 1 February. He will replace Thomas WIESER.


Committee of the Regions (CoR):

Olga Zrihen (PES, BE) was appointed as rapporteur on revising the structural reform support programme and new financial instruments for the eurozone.
Christophe ROUILLON (PES, FR) was appointed as rapporteur on integrating the European fiscal pact into EU law, the Monetary Fund and the European Minister of finance.


Public affairs:

Got any new appointment you would like us to include in our next newsletter? Contact Ifigenia Balkoura!

CEMA – the European Agricultural Machinery: Jérôme BANDRY was appointed as new Secretary-General, replacing Ulrich ADAM.

European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT): Christian BANK, CEO of Rovsing was appointed as director of programme preparation and development as of 1 April.

European Power Plant Suppliers Association (EPPSA): Martin POGOREUTZ was elected as the new president.

International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW): Staci MCLENNAN became the new director of the European Union office in Brussels as of 1 December 2017.


News in a nutshell:

Brexit: The EU leaders are reportedly working on a secret plan to force a soft Brexit by pushing the UK government to stay in the customs union after the country has left the EU bloc. The allegations come after both European Council president Donald TUSK and president of the European Commission Jean-Claude JUNCJER said they would welcome the UK back in the EU.

According to the Times, the EU will pay £230m to process residency applications for the EU citizens living in the UK, after Brexit.

Speaking in Parliament on 23 January, Parliament’s chief negotiator Guy VERHOFSTADT said the final agreement will depend entirely on Britain’s so-called red lines, while he predicted that the next phase, due to start soon, will be “more intense and more difficult” than the first. Regarding the freedom of movement, he said that the changes would only apply after the Withdrawal Agreement and the transition period, namely after 2021.

Brexit Secretary David DAVIS faced though questions during a hearing of the Brexit Select Committee. Responding to questions by the newly-appointed chair of the European Research Group of Conservative MPs, Jacob REES-MOGG, Mr DAVIS was forced to deny UK will be an EU ‘lackey’ after Brexit.

In a speech on Friday 26 January, DAVIS is expected to demand the UK be allowed to sign trade deals with other countries during the transition period, while accepting the UK being part of the customs union for the same period.

Responding to French president Emmanuel MACRON’s comments that ‘the only way for City firms to maintain their access to the continent would be for the UK to continue paying into the EU budget and recognise the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice’, Chancellor Philip HAMMOND told the House Magazine that ‘trying to cut London off from the EU marketplace would be a tremendous act of self-harm by the European Union

Cyprus: incumbent Nicos ANASTASIADES secured 35.5 per cent of the votes in the first round of the presidential elections on Sunday 28 January.The runoff will be held on 4 February, when he will contest against communist AKEL-backed Stavros MALAS.

Czech Republic: Miloš ZEMAN was re-elected as presidential for another five-year term.

Finland: incumbent Sauli NIINISTÖ was re-elected as president for a six-year mandate, after winning 62.7 per cent of the votes.


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


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