Movers and Shakers | 29 January 2021

Keep track of developments in the European institutions and public affairs with our Movers and Shakers column.

By Mia Bartoloni

Mia Bartoloni is the Editor of Dods People EU and the European Public Affairs Directory (EPAD)

29 Jan 2021

Today’s Movers & Shakers are about: A familiar face returns to Parliament, rapporteur on the Digital Services Act appointed, Commission appoints a director-general in DG SCIC and three new Heads of Representation, Portuguese president re-elected, Estonia’s first female PM, and more!

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European Parliament

Tom Vandenkendelaere (EPP, BE) has succeeded outgoing member Kris Peeters. Vandenkendelaere previously served as a MEP between 2014 and 2019 during which time he was a member of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON), the Australia and New Zealand Delegation (D-AZ) and the People’s Republic of China Delegation (D-CN). The 36 year-old is also the former chair of the Christian Democratic and Flemish party (CD&V) youth wing. Since leaving Parliament in 2019, Vandenkendelaere has worked as an independent consultant for Fast Forward Consult and served as Councillor for Roeselare.

MEP News
Christel Schaldemose (S&D, DK) has been appointed the Parliament’s rapporteur on the Digital Services Act. In a tweet, Schaldemose has said that she aims to ensure that consumer rights are protected online, as well as offline by asking large online retailers such as Wish and Amazon to take responsibility for product safety and the sale of dangerous goods. She has also spoken in favour of more regulated social media while at the same time protecting democratic dialogue.

National parties
Milan Uhrík (NI, SK) has left People's Party – Our Slovakia along with five other Slovak MPs. The move comes after the group criticised the changes made to the party statute that transferred the competences of the party board to the chair of the party, Marian Kotleba. Uhrík will now sit as an independent in Parliament.

European Commission

Heads of Representation
The Commission has appointed three new Heads of the Representation in Spain, Latvia, and Slovenia. María De Los Angeles Benítez Salas will become Head of Representation in Madrid on 1 April. On 16 April 2021, Zane Petre and Jerneja Jug Jerše will start in their new functions in Riga and in Ljubljana, respectively.

Directorates-General and Services

Migration and Home Affairs (HOME)
Martin Schieffer replaces Hans Das as head of unit D2 (Counter-Terrorism). Nacira Boulehouat replaces Schieffer as head of unit C4 (Migration Management Support).
Andrea De Candido replaces Victoria Amici as head of unit B4 (Innovation and Industry for Security) in an acting capacity.

Research and Innovation (RTD)
Patrick Child replaces Jean-Eric Paquet as deputy director-general for science and policy transitions in an acting capacity.

Interpretation (SCIC)
Genoveva Ruiz Calavera has been appointed director-general with the date of effect yet to be determined. Ruiz Calavera (ES) has been working as director for the Western Balkans in DG Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (NEAR) since 2016. Prior to that, she served in several head of unit roles in the Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI) and in DG External Relations (RELEX).

Council of the European Union

Permanent Representations

Ambassador to the Political and Security Committee Tomas Kozak, will be leaving Brussels to take up the position of EU director general at the foreign ministry in Bratislava, starting next week. His replacement is yet to be named.

Public Affairs

Natural & bio Gas Vehicle Association (NGVA Europe)
Jens Andersen has been named as new secretary-general succeeding Andrea Gerini, who has led the association since 2017. Andersen, an independent senior executive consultant and board Advisor with extensive experience in the automotive industry, will take up the role as of 1 March.

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National News

Kaja Kallas has been confirmed as the first female prime minister of Estonia and will lead a coalition of the Centre Party (ALDE) and the Reform Party (ALDE). Kallas’ cabinet was sworn in on Tuesday following the collapse of the previous ruling coalition of prime minister Juri Ratas.

For a comprehensive breakdown of the new cabinet, please visit

Prime minister Giuseppe Conte has handed in his resignation to president Sergio Mattarella, with the hope that the president will invite him to return with a new mandate and form his third government. As it stands, Conte has support from the Democratic Party and the 5-Star Movement but is in negotiations with several other MPs.

Incumbent president Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa won a second five-year term during Sunday’s presidential elections. Rebelo de Sousa took 61% of the vote, beating opponent Ana Gomes who scored 12.9% of the vote.

Defence minister Matej Tonin will temporarily take over as health minister relieving prime minister Janez Janša of the portfolio. Janša had been covering the portfolio since the resignation of former health minister Tomaž Gantar on 18 December.

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Read the most recent articles written by Mia Bartoloni - Movers and Shakers | 16 July 2021