Movers and Shakers | 30 January 2017

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

By Ifigenia Balkoura

30 Jan 2017

Today's Movers & Shakers are about: the new parliamentary committees' chairs, latest news and developments in the Parliament, Galileo, new Heads of missions to the EU, public affairs appointments, the new Bulgarian caretaker government, Brexit and more.

European Parliament:

Cabinet of President Antonio TAJANI:
Peter AGIUS has been confirmed as President Antonio TAJANI’s speechwriter. Dr AGIUS will begin his new role on 6 February, joining the cabinet from his current role as Head of the European Parliament in Malta. He has been in his current role since 2012 and before that worked with the Council of Ministers in Brussels. More appointments to the new cabinet are expected to be confirmed in the coming days and weeks.

Last week 22 parliamentary committees and sub-committees elected their new chairs and vice-chairs. In total, 6 new chairs were elected in total of 22 committees and sub-committees. The rest were re-elected. The ECON and BUDG committees did not elect 2nd, 3rd and 4th vice-chairs, as the vote was suspended due to gender and nationality imbalance (Rule 204 of the Rules of Procedure).


AFET: David MCALLISTER (EPP, DE), replacing Elmar BROK (EPP, DE).
CULT: Petra KAMMEREVERT (S&D, DE), replacing Silvia COSTA (S&D, IT).
ENVI: Adina-Ioana VĂLEAN (EPP, RO), replacing Giovanni LA VIA (EPP, IT)
FEMM: Vilija BLINKEVIČIŪTĖ (S&D, LT), replacing Iratxe GARCÍA PÉREZ (S&D, ES).
TRAN: Karima DELLI (Greens/EFA, FR), replacing Michael CRAMER (Greens/EFA, DE).

Antonio PANZERI (S&D, IT), replacing Elena VALENCIANO (S&D, ES).

: Danuta HÜBNER (EPP, PL).
INTA: Bernd LANGE (S&D, DE).
LIBE: Claude MORAES (S&D, UK).

: Anna Elżbieta FOTYGA (ECR, PL).

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Political group breakdown:
EPP: 8
S&D: 7
ECR: 2
Greens/EFA: 1

Country breakdown:
Germany: 5
Poland: 4
France: 3
UK: 3
Italy: 2
Romania: 1
Lithuania: 1
Czech Republic: 1
Finland: 1
Bulgaria: 1

MEPs news:
Martin SCHULZ (S&D, DE) will challenge Angela MERKEL for the Chancellorship in Germany’s upcoming elections in September 2017, it was announced on Tuesday 24 January. It follows German Social Democrat leader Sigmar GABRIEL's decision not to compete in the elections. Gabriel said that, considering his party's current poor poll ratings, SCHULZ stood a better chance of success. MEPs have given a mixed reaction to the news. Read here the reactions.

Eva PAUNOVA (EPP, BU) has changed her last name to MAYDELL after getting married on 21 January.

Catherine BEARDER (ALDE, UK) has denied allegations that she claimed a charity donation on her parliamentary expenses. She is also alleged to have claimed expenses for seeking legal advice she undertook after reportedly branding Danish MEP Morten MESSERSCHMIDT a Nazi. Read more.

Paul NUTTALL (EFDD, UK) has been selected as the UKIP candidate for the Stoke on Trent by-election that will be held on 23 February.

In political groups news, a bitter war of words has erupted over recent overtures the leader of the Socialists, Gianni PITTELLA made to Guy VERHOFSTADT’s ALDE group. It follows the emergence of a letter PITTELLA sent to his ALDE counterpart in the run up to last week’s contest to elect a new president in the Parliament. Read more.

The international trade committee endorsed the controversial EU-Canada trade and investment deal (CETA) on Tuesday 25 January by 25 to 15 in favour with one abstention. The approval for the deal comes despite warnings that the agreement could lead to a "bonfire" of environmental, health and social protection standards. Read more.

Beppe GRILLO's Eurosceptic 5 Star Movement (affiliated to EFDD group) surprised MEPs after backing the single currency and hailing the EU as a force for good. A letter sent by the party to the ALDE group came amid attempts by GRILLO, the 5 Star leader, to join the political mainstream by linking up with the Liberal grouping. Read more. Senior political figures were quick to comment on the proposed 5 Star/ALDE link-up, including Glenis WILLMOTT, UK Labour's Leader in Parliament and UK ECR MEP Charles TANNOCK. Read more.

Geo-blocking: The committee on internal market and consumer protection (IMCO) discussed on 25 January the draft report by Roza GRAFIN VAN THUN UND HOHENSTEIN (EPP, PL) on geo-blocking. Read Dods EU Monitoring full briefing.

Get to know:
Seb DANCE (S&D, UK) in 5 questions.

MEP Awards 2017:

The shortlist of the nominated MEPs has been now published. Click here to see all categories.

Consumers and Business at Risk: Counterfeit Electrical Products Across Europe:
The Parliament Magazine is organising a lunch briefing on Counterfeit Electrical Products across Europe in association with Electrical Safety First and UL, on Tuesday 28 February 2017. MEP Lucy ANDERSON (S&D, UK) will host the event, which will explore the key challenges of counterfeit and substandard electrical goods, their impacts on consumers, manufacturers and businesses, and seek workable solutions in the near and long-term future. For more information, click here


EU Space Conference 2017: Recap

Finally, Galileo gets to work. Since December, users around the world are being guided using the positioning, navigation and timing information provided by Galileo's global satellite constellation. In 2017, the European GNSS Agency (GSA) officially takes over responsibility for Galileo operations and service provision. Carlo DES DORIDES, Executive Director of GSA said that the main goal is to ensure a return on investment from Galileo in the form of clear, across-the-board services and applications for end users. Read more.

Getting to know more about EU space policies, the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) delivers operational Earth observations and around the clock support services for the benefit of European citizens and its economy. Alain RATIER, EUMETSAT’s Director-General gives an overview of the organisation’s work and explains how its programmes will ensure EU remains leader in the satellite meteorology. Read more.

The UK's first astronaut to work on the ISS, Tim PEAKE talked to the Parliament Magazine from the Nasa Space Centre in Houston, Texas, about his time on the International Space Station, inspiring the younger generation and why he hopes Brexit will not impact on Europe's scientific research. Read the full interview.


Missions to the EU:

President Donald TUSK received the credentials for the following Ambassadors and Heads of Mission:

Peru: H.E. Mr Gonzalo GUTIERREZ REINEL replaced H.E. Ms Cristina RONQUILLO DE BLÖDORN, who has been head of the Peruvian Mission since 2012.

Nepal: H.E. Mr Lok Bahadur THAPA replaced Ghanshyam BHANDARI who has been serving as the Mission’s Chargé d’Affaires.

Bangladesh: H.E. Mr Mohammed Shahdat HOSSAIN replaced H.E. Mr Ismat JAHAN, who’s role as Ambassador ended in 2016.

Afghanistan: H.E. Mr Wali J. MONAWAR replaced Ahmad Seyar MAALIJI, who has been serving as Chargé d’Affaires.

Guyana: H.E. Mr David HALES replaced Bevon Rodlin MCDONALD, who was Chargé d’Affaires and returns to her role as First Secretary.


Public Affairs:

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European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD): Nandita PARSHAD was appointed as the new Managing Director Energy and Natural Resources business group, as of 1 January 2017.

G+ Europe: Mark FISCHER joined as Partner. As a veteran political analyst in Washington DC, Brussels and other national European capitals, he will be leading gplus europe’s Berlin office. Mr FISCHER has worked with national and regional governments, international organisations, blue chip companies, as well as foundations and NGOs in Europe, the US, and the MENA region in fields ranging from foreign and security policy to energy, trade, and conflict resolution. Before joining gplus, he worked for the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

International Energy Agency (IEA): Christian ZINGLERSEN was named the first Head of Secretariat for the new Clean Energy Ministerial Secretariat, established at IEA.

Open Europe: Henry NEWMAN was appointed as the new Director.


News in a nutshell:

Brexit: The Supreme Court ruled by a majority of 8 to 3 that the Parliament must be consulted before the Government triggers Article 50. However, the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish administrations will not get legally binding votes on the triggering of Brexit. The Government will now have to bring a bill to Parliament before beginning the formal process of leaving the European Union. Read more.

Responding to the news, Scottish First Minister Nicola STURGEON said that the case for a fresh vote on Scotland's future was becoming "ever clearer" as she accused ministers of ignoring Holyrood's voice on Brexit. Read more.

Prime Minister Theresa MAY performed a major U-turn by announcing she will publish a white paper on the triggering of Article 50. The Prime Minister acknowledged that there is an "appetite" in the Commons for her Brexit strategy to be set out in a policy document and subject to parliamentary scrutiny. Read more.

Mrs MAY became the first world leader to visit US President Donald TRUMP on Friday 27 January, who told UK Prime Minister that he wants them to be even closer than Margaret THACHER and Ronald REAGAN. Read more. Prior to her trip she faced anger from across the political divide for the meeting, but she insisted that she could work with Mr TRUMP, as the opposites attract. Read more.

On Monday 30 January, Downing Street has insisted that Donald TRUMP’s planned state visit will go ahead – despite growing calls for the event to be postponed (a petition to stop the US President’s  visit to the UK has reached one millions signatures) as long as his ban on refugees remains in place. Read more.

Meanwhile, Ted MALLOCH, the man tipped to be TRUMP's new ambassador to the EU said that more Brexit-style departures to come and told British government advisers they should read the President's business book 'The Art of the Deal' before starting trade negotiations with the US. Read more.

Speaking in Brussels, former UK deputy Prime Minister Nick CLEGG has predicted Britain is headed for a "disorderly and chaotic" exit from the EU. CLEGG believed there are three possible outcomes to Brexit, one being that British withdrawal does not actually happen. Read more.

ALDE group leader and Parliament’s chief negotiator on Brexit, Guy VERHOFSTADT has once again ruled out Britain receiving any special treatment regarding the terms for exit from the EU, but he said that the UK is welcome to apply to re-join the EU. Read more.

Whitehall is battling to cope with the Brexit workload following a 19 per cent fall in the number of Civil Servants since 2010, a new report has said. Read more.

Bulgaria: Snap elections will be held on 26 March, it was announced this week. The national assembly was dissolved on Friday 27 January and Ognyan GERDZHIKOV, was appointed by President Roumen RADEV as Prime Minister. A 19 minister caretaker cabinet was also appointed. Radi NAIDENOV was appointed as the new Foreign Minister, Kiril ANANIEV as Finance Minister and Denitsa ZLATEVA as Deputy Prime Minister, in charge of Bulgaria’s EU presidency in 2018.

France: Benoit HAMON was elected as the Socialist Party's candidate for the upcoming elections in May, beating former Prime Minister Manuel Valls.

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