Movers and Shakers | 3 July 2020

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)

02 Jul 2020

European Parliament

French authorities have given the greenlight for plenary to go ahead in Strasbourg in September. Parliament had initially cancelled all plenary sessions in the French city due to the spread of the Coronavirus of COVID-19, however president David SASSOLI has said that a return to Strasbourg is favourable “providing all the necessary conditions prevail.” An official decision on the matter will be taken by Parliamentary bodies over the next days.

Read more about the return to Strasbourg here.

European Commission

Trade Commissioner Phil HOGAN (IE) has withdrawn himself from the race to become the next Director-General of the WTO, citing ongoing Brexit negotiations and the risk of the election being delayed until the autumn, as reasons for his decision. Although HOGAN had never officially put his name forward for the role, he had expressed keen interest at the beginning of June.

Directorates-General and Services

Economic and Financial Affairs (ECFIN)
Vincenzo BACCARO joins as Adviser to Director-General Maarten VERWEY.
Jose LEANDRO replaces Horst REICHENBACH as Principal Adviser, EU Director in the EBRD.
LEANDRO is replaced in his previous role as Director of Directorate A (Policy, strategy and communication) by Joao NOGUEIRA MARTINS in an acting capacity.
Ingo KUHNERT replaces Werner RÖGER as Head of Unit B3 (Models and databases) in an acting capacity.

Health and Food Safety (SANTE)
Paola COLOMBO leaves her role as Director of Directorate F (Health and food audits and analysis) leaving a vacant tenure.

Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (GROW)
Kamil KILJANSKI replaces Valentina SUPERTI as Director of Directorate A (Competitiveness and Outreach) in an acting capacity. The latter was also performing the role in an acting capacity.

Spokespersons Service
Virginie BATTU-HENRIKSSON leaves her position as Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. She is replaced be Nabila MASSRALI. MASSRALI has worked as Spokesperson of the Strategic Communications’ Taskforce South at the EEAS.

EU Institutions and Agencies

Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP)
Vice-Admiral Riccardo MARCHIÒ has been appointed as EU Force Commander for the naval operation EUNAVFOR Atalanta, whose objective is to contribute to the deterrence, prevention and repression of acts of piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast. He will take up the role on 26 August, replacing Spanish Rear Admiral Ignacio VILLANUEVA SERRANO.

Public Affairs

European Payment Institutions Federation (EPIF)
At the EPIF annual general meeting, Elie BEYROUTHY of American Express was reelected chair of the board for an additional 3 years. BEYROUTHY, who has been chair of EPIF since 2018, is vice-president of European Government Affairs at American Express where he leads the company’s engagement with European Union Institutions and advises senior leaders on EU regulatory and public policy matters. Additionally, Loreta LIUTKUTĖ of Western Union was reelected as vice-chair and Marcel TRIK of Bitsafe was reelected as treasurer.

National News

On Monday, the new minister for justice and the new minister for defence were sworn in as part of a mini reshuffle of the government. Emily YIOLITIS is the new Minister for Justice and Public Order, succeeding Giorgos SAVVIDES and Charalambos PETRIDES is the new Minister for Justice, taking over from Savvas ANGELIDES. SAVVIDES and ANGELIDES were appointed as the country’s Attorney General and Deputy Attorney-General respectively.

Leader of Fianna Fáil (RE) Micheál MARTIN,was elected Taoiseach (head of Irish government) after a special parliament vote on Saturday succeeding Fine Gael (EPP) leader Leo VARADKAR. A new cabinet was instated on the same day after a historic three-party coalition was agreed between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and The Green Party (Greens).

For full details of the cabinet reshuffle, visit

Rimantas SINKEVIČIUS has been appointed new minister for economy and innovation. SINKEVIČIUS is deputy chair of the Lithuanian Social Democratic Labour Party and coordinator of the political group at the Seimas. The post of the minister for economy and innovation had been vacant since last December, when former Minister Virginijus SINKEVIČIUS became European Commissioner.

At the first round of presidential elections that took place on Sunday, incumbent Andrzej DUDA of the Law and Justice party (ECR) won the most votes (43.7%) but fell short of the 50% needed to win without a second round. Mayor of Warsaw Rafał TRZASKOWSKI of Civic Platform (EPP) received the second most votes with 30.3%. A second round between DUDA and TRZASKOWSKI will take place on 12 July.

The presidential elections had initially been scheduled for May during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. At this time, Law and Justice were expected to win easily, however the consequences of the pandemic and concurrent economic downturn have narrowed the race.

Former prime minister Peter PELLEGRINI has announced the name of his new centre-left party - ‘Hlas-Sociálna Demokracia’ (Voice-Social Democracy). PELLEGRINI had left the Direction – Social Democracy Party (PES) in the middle of June.

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