Movers and Shakers | 3 July 2018

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

By Ifigenia Balkoura

03 Jul 2018

Today's Movers & Shakers are about: news from the MEPs, latest appointments in the European Commission, the External Action Service and public affairs, the new Czech cabinet, Brexit and more.

European Parliament:

New friendship group:
The Alevi Friendship Group was launched on 27 June in the European Parliament. The new Group is an initiative by Josef WEIDENHOLZER (S&D, AT) and Arne GERICKE (ECR, DE). Its goal is to serve as a platform to promote cooperation between the MEPs and the Alevi, and to give this 1.5 million-strong community a voice and more visibility at the European level.

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Composition of committees and delegations:

Alojz PETERLE (EPP, SI) joined the delegation to the EU-Montenegro stabilisation and association parliamentary committee (D-ME).
Ramona Nicole MĂNESCU (EPP, RO) joined the delegation for relations with the Arab Peninsula (D-ARP).
Kaja KALLAS (ALDE, EE) switched from Vice-Chair to substitute of the delegation to the EU-Ukraine parliamentary association committee (D-UA).
Urmas PAET (ALDE, EE) left the delegation to the EU-Ukraine parliamentary association committee (D-UA) and the delegation to the Euronest parliamentary assembly (D-EPA) and joined the delegation for relations with the United States (D-US).
Tilly METZ (Greens/EFA, LU) joined the committee on the environment, public health and food safety (ENVI) and the delegation for relations with the United States (D-US).

Plenary session:
MEPs are in Strasbourg from Monday 2 to Thursday 5 July.


European Commission:

Commissioners' Cabinets:
Cabinet of Miguel ARIAS CAÑETE:
Alexandra MARTEN GONZÁLEZ-CARRASCOSA joined the team as member. She is in charge of clean energy for islands, relations with the EESC and COR, the Covenant of Mayors, the Energy Poverty Observatory, among others.
Cabinet of Margrethe VESTAGER: Yizhou REN joined the team as member, replacing Astrid COUSIN. Ms REN's main responsibilities will be focusing on state aid policy and enforcement, financial crisis and exit strategy, and fiscal aid, among others.

Communications Networks, Content and Technology (CNNCT):

Directorate C – digital excellence and science infrastructure:  Jean-François BUGGENHOUT was appointed as head of flagships, replacing Aymard de TOUZALIN, who was acting in the role.
Directorate R – resources and support: Ingrid MARIËN-DUSAK started her new role as acting head of budget and finance, replacing Marie Christine LAFFINEUR. Ms MARIËN-DUSAK is also head of HR business correspondent and support services and acting director of the same directorate.

European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF):
Ville ITÄLÄ was appointed Director-General as of 1 August.

Taxation and Customs Union (TAXAUD):
Directorate B – Digital delivery of Customs and Taxation Policies: Diego PAPALDO was appointed as head of processes and data, customer relationship and planning. Mr PAPALDO replaces Sophie DE COSTER, who was acting in the role.

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European External Action Service (EEAS):

The European Council decided to extend the mandates of the following EU Special Representatives (EUSRs):
Lars-Gunnar WIGEMARK, EUSR in Bosnia and Herzegovina until 31 August 2019.
Peter BURIAN, EUSR in Central Asia, Alexander RONDOS, EUSR in Horn of Africa, Nataliya APOSTOLOVA EUSR in Kosovo, Ángel LOSADA FERNÁNDEZ EUSR in Sahel, and Toivo KLAAR EUSR in South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia until 29 February 2020.

Permanent Representations:

Germany: Permanent Representative to the EU, Reinhard SILBERBERG retired. His successor has not yet been officially appointed.


Public affairs:

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Airports Council International (ACI Europe): Michael KERKLOH was re-elected as president. Jaime GARCIA LEGAZ, Ugo DE CAROLIS, David CICÉO, Dimitry KAMENSHCHIK and Dalton PHILIPS were elected to the board, while Stefan SCHULTE, Dominique THILLAUD, Yiannis PARASCHIS, John HOLLAND-KAYE, Robert SINCLAIR and Raoul LAURENT were re-elected to the board.

Association of Chocolate, Biscuit and Confectionery Industries of Europe (CAOBISCO): Mary BARNARD, President, Chocolate Europe, at Mondelēz International was elected as President for a two-year mandate, starting on 15 June. She succeeded Alessandro CAGLI.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA): Thomas BOARDLEY was appointed as the new Secretary General of CLIA Europe as of 1 October 2018.

COCERAL - European association representing the trade in cereals, rice, feedstuffs, oilseeds, olive oil, oils and fats and agrosupply: Paul DELLA TOLLA (Dimitriaki S.A) was elected as President until May 2019, taking over from Jaana KLEINSCHMIT. Zsolt KOCZA, Managing Director at Grains EMEA at Cargill and Marco ORIOLI, EMEA General Manager at CHS Inc. were elected as Vice-Presidents for the same period.

ePURE, the European renewable ethanol association: Charles-Albert PEERS, CEO of Alcogroup was re-elected as President. The association’s members also elected Alarik SANDRUP, director of public and regulatory affairs for Lantmännen, as Vice-President.

EuropaBio: Tjerk DE RUITER was appointed as Chair until 2020.

European Association of Sugar Manufacturers (CEFS): Paul MESTERS was elected as the new president, succeeding Johann MARIHART, who was in the role for 17 years.

IPREX: Fernando ANTON, director of corporate and digital communications at Cambre Associates was appointed to chair the best practices committee of global communications partnership. The move is part of major board and committee chair changes announced by IPREX, which is a $380m network of communication agencies with 1,600 staff and 110 offices worldwide.

Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE): Thomas LIPPERT replaced Anwar OSSEYRAN as Chair of the council for a two-year term. Janne IGNATIUS was appointed as Vice-Chair, replacing Sergi GIRONA. Florian BERBERICH was also appointed as council secretary.


News in a nutshell:

Brexit: The EU Withdrawal Bill received royal assent from the Queen. Marking the occasion, UK Prime Minister Theresa MAY said that it was “a historic moment for our country and a significant step towards delivering on the will of the British people”.

The European Banking Authority (EBA), which is currently based in London, published its opinion regarding the risks posed by lack of preparedness for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) published an opinion on disclosure of information to customers about the impact of the UK’s departure from the bloc. It is urging among other things, the insurance undertakings to take the necessary steps to ensure service continuity of insurance contracts concluded before the withdrawal date.

Following Airbus’ announcement that the company may need to relocate elsewhere in the EU, British MEPs from S&D, EPP, ECR, Greens/EFA and ALDE groups wrote a letter to the UK secretary of state Greg CLARK raising their concerns about the jobs losses that would be triggered by the departure of the company’s operations from the UK. The MEPs highlighted the fact that the current uncertainty does not help the protection and the growth of British businesses. They also said that they could share with him the discussions they held with business and industry regarding the benefits of the single market, customs union and the EU membership.

The cabinet has a new minister of state for trade policy. George HOLLINGBERY took over from Greg HANDS who resigned over a Heathrow airport runway expansion.

In its Summit conclusions, the European Council welcomed the progress made on parts of the legal text of the Withdrawal Agreement. However, it took note of the fact that there are still outstanding issues, such as the territorial application of the Agreement, regarding Gibraltar. The Council expressed its concerns that no substantial progress has been made yet on agreeing a backstop solution for Ireland/Northern Ireland, and called for the acceleration of preparing a political declaration for the future relationship.

The Council also authorised the European Commission to open formal negotiations with the WTO to divide up existing EU tariff rate quotas between the EU27 and the UK.

A debate on Brexit will be held on Monday 2 July at 18.00 at a meeting of the committee on constitutional affairs. During the debate, there will be an exchange of views on Brexit preparedness and the state of play of the negotiations with the director of institutional and administrative policies, the Brexit Preparedness Group and the European Commission.

Czech Republic: a new minority government between ANO and the Social Democrats was installed under Andrej BABIS. Alena SCHILLEROVÁ was appointed as the new finance minister and Jan HAMÁČEK as deputy prime minister, minister for the interior and acting minister for foreign affairs. A vote of confidence will be held on 11 July.

Germany: Interior minister and leader of CSU, Horst SEEHOFER offered to step down from both roles amid a row with chancellor Angela MERKEL regarding migration policy, putting the coalition between his party and CDU at odds. However, SEEHOFER remained in his post after he met with the chancellor on Monday.

Romania: A vote of no-confidence to oust the government of former MEP Viorica DĂNCILĂ was rejected.

European Council presidency: Austria took over from Bulgaria on 1 July.


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