Movers and Shakers | 30 July 2018

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

By Ifigenia Balkoura

30 Jul 2018

Today's Movers & Shakers are about: Latest appointments in the European Commission and public affairs, the new Maltese Permanent Representative to the EU, new CoR members, Brexit and more.

European Parliament:

Salvatore Domenico (EPP, IT) left his seat in the Parliament to become the new mayor of Catania.

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European Commission:

Economic and Financial Affairs (ECFIN):

Directorate L – Treasury And Financial Operations: was reshuffled and the units of coordination with the EIB Group, EBRD and IFIS (L1), financing of innovation, competitiveness and employment policies (L2) and financing of climate change, infrastructure policies and Euratom (L3) were moved under the direct responsibility of the deputy director-general in charge of Directorates B, E and L (DDG2) Kerstin JORNA. Previous heads of referred units Anna KRZYZANOWSKAL, Merete CLAUSENL and Giorgio CHIARION CASONI remain in charge, now reporting directly to Ms JORNA.
A new adviser position was created. Former adviser in Directorate L Saila VALTONEN was appointed as adviser on investment programmes and relations with the EIB Group, also reporting directly to Ms JORNA.

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European Court of Justice (ECJ):

Nuno José CARDOSO DA SILVA PIÇARRA (PT) was appointed as judge as of 7 October for a period of six years. The appointment is part of the partial renewal of the composition of the Court.


Permanent Representations:

Malta: Daniel AZZOPARDI was appointed as the new Permanent Representative to the EU, replacing Marlene BONNICI.


Committee of the Regions (CoR):

The following British members and alternates were appointed for the rest of the current term of office – until 25 January 2020 or until the withdrawal of the UK from the EU:


Sally MORGAN, Claudia WEBBE, Teresa Catherine HERITAGE, and Anthony J. TAYLOR.
The appointments were made to cover the vacancies, following the end of the term of office of Victoria HOWELLS, Robert BRIGHT, John LAMONT, Robert Ian Neilson GORDON, Mr Corrie MCCHORD, and Ms Jill SHORTLAND.


Public affairs:

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Airlines International Representation in Europe (AIRE): Embraer joined as associate member.

Euclid network: Suzanne WISSE-HUISKES will join as Executive Director from September 2018.

European Cockpit Association (ECA): Tanja HARTER was appointed as the new technical affairs director.


News in a nutshell:

Brexit: In a written statement, the UK Prime Minister Theresa MAY announced that she will be now leading the Brexit negotiations, and newly appointed Brexit secretary Dominic RAAB will be deputising her when she is not available. According to a statement, “the UK Department for Exiting the EU will continue to lead on all of the government’s preparations for Brexit: domestic preparations in both a deal and a no deal scenario, all of the necessary legislation, and preparations for the negotiations to implement the detail of the Future Framework. To support this, DExEU will recruit some new staff, and a number of Cabinet Office officials coordinating work on preparedness will move to DExEU while maintaining close ties with both departments.” Mrs MAY and the Brexit secretary will be supported by the Europe unit of the cabinet office. The move was announced just two weeks after Dominic RAAB was appointed in the role and was perceived as a way of sidelining him.

RAAB also announced the publication of a White Paper setting out how the UK government will implement the final Withdrawal Agreement that will reach with the EU.

EU chief negotiator Michel BARNIER and Dominic RAAB met in Brussels of 26 July, when they gave a press conference. BARNIER agreed with the latter that new energy must be brought into the negotiations, while he also welcomed the UK’s proposals on the protection of fundamental rights, the uniform application of law, the foreign policy and the external security. Regarding the customs arrangement, BARNIER rejected the UK’s proposal, by saying that the “EU cannot – and will not – delegate the application of its customs policy and rules, VAT and excise duty collection to a non-member, who would not be subject to the EU's governance structures.” However, the Department for Exiting the EU insisted that the UK proposals respect the core principles of the EU.

The European Parliament’s Brexit Steering Group (BSG) published a press release calling on the UK Government to come forward with its own workable and legally operative proposal for a backstop for the Northern Ireland-Ireland border.  

Stockpiling medicines supplies and emergency food in the case of no-deal, sparked controversy this week, with the new health secretary Matt HANCOCK confirming that his department is working on options with the industry for stockpiling medicines, medical devices and substances of human origin in this case, adding that this will come with a cost. In an interview with Channel 5, Theresa MAY said that people should take reassurance from the fact “the government is sensible with preparations for a no-deal scenario to ensure that the UK will be able to continue to do the things necessary once it has left the EU.”

European Commissioner for agriculture Phil HOGAN raised his concerns about the negotiations and warned of a very high probability of a no-deal outcome.

How the Vote Leave campaign targeted Facebook users during the EU referendum was revealed for the first time.

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