Movers and Shakers | 5 March 2018

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

By Ifigenia Balkoura

05 Mar 2018

Today's Movers & Shakers are about: the election of Zdzisław KRASNODĘBSKI as Vice-President of the Parliament, the new MEPs and the new seat breakdown of the political groups, latest appointments in the European Commission and the Court of Justice, the Italian elections, the reshuffle of the Greek cabinet, Parliament Magazine's Bulgarian Presidency reception, Brexit and more.


European Parliament:

Vice-President of the Parliament:
Zdzisław KRASNODĘBSKI (ECR, PL) was elected as the new Vice-President, replacing his fellow colleague Ryszard CZARNECKI (ECR, PL).

Outgoing and incoming:
As previously announced, the following MEPs have left their seats:
Josu JUARISTI ABAUNZ (GUE/NGL, ES). Ana MIRANDA replaced him and also joined the European Free Alliance (see below). She has previously served as an MEP from 2012 to 2013.
Janusz KORWIN-MIKKE (NI, PL) as of 2 March to run as candidate for mayor of Warsaw in October 2018. Dobromir SOŚNIERZ is expected to replace him in the Parliament.
Hannu TAKKULA (ALDE, FI) as of 28 February to become member of the Court of Auditors. Elsi KATAINEN replaced him.
Tatjana ŽDANOKA (Greens/EFA, LV) as of 4 March. She has been replaced by Miroslavs MITROFANOVS.
(Greens/EFA, DE) will leave his seat in the Parliament in September to become minister for digital in Schleswig-Holstein in Germany.

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Political groups’ composition:
UK MEPs Julie GIRLING and Richard ASHWORTH defected from ECR group and joined the EPP group, which now represents all 28 member states. The deputies said that they will remain members of the Conservative Party. GIRLING defended her decision to switch parties saying the “ECR group is not acting in a consistent way with the manifesto on which they were elected, namely reform from within. When this is coupled with an increasing tendency towards the right of the political spectrum-– particularly following the election of the PSI government in Poland - the better option to represent the constituents of the South West and Gibraltar was to move to a more progressive and effective group.”

Ana MIRANDA (ES) joined the European Free Alliance. The Greens/EFA group is now Parliament's 5th biggest party.
The new seat breakdown is as follows:

New special committee:
MEPs officially backed the establishment of a new special committee on financial crime, tax evasion and avoidance and will be composed by 45 members. Its composition will be voted on 13 March during the plenary session and its mandate will last 12 months.

Ad-hoc delegation to be sent in Slovakia: The Parliament will send an ad-hoc fact-finding mission following the murder of journalist Jan KUCIAK.  

MEPs’ news:
Dying to work campaign:
Rory PALMER (S&D, UK) launched the “Dying to Work MEP Focus Group”, bringing together MEPs across Europe to explore ways of giving greater workplace protections to terminally ill workers. The campaign is seeking to ensure that people given a terminal diagnosis are not plunged into financial insecurity, and are supported by employers. Speaking after the meeting, Mr Palmer said: "It's clear from conversations with colleagues that terminally ill workers are being failed across Europe. We want to work together to drive up standards and protect people during such a traumatic time. We'll be doing all we can to secure better workplace protections for terminally ill workers and giving them the support that they need when they need it the most."

Safer internet for EU campaign: Eva MAYDELL (EPP, BU) was appointed as ambassador.

Composition of the committees and delegations:

Elsi KATAINEN (ALDE, FI) joined the committee on international trade (INTA) and the delegation for relations with the United States (D-US).
Ana MIRANDA (GUE/NGL, ES) joined the committee on legal affairs (JURI) and the delegation for relations with the United States (D-US).

Elsi KATAINEN (ALDE, FI) joined the committee on regional development (REGI), the committee on agriculture and rural development (AGRI), the delegation to the EU-Turkey joint parliamentary committee (D-TR), the delegation for relations with Belarus (D-BY), the delegation for relations with Australia and New Zealand (D-ANZ) and the delegation to the Euronest parliamentary assembly (D-EPA).
Mireille D'ORNANO (EFDD, FR) joined the delegation to the ACP-EU joint parliamentary assembly (D-ACP).
Rosa D’Amato (EFDD, IT) joined the committee on the internal market and consumer protection (IMCO).
Fabio Massimo CASTALDO (EFDD, IT) left the committee on the internal market and consumer protection (IMCO) and the committee on international trade (INTA) and joined the committee on industry, research and energy (ITRE).


The Parliament Magazine's Bulgarian Presidency Reception:

The Parliament Magazine is organising the Bulgarian Presidency Reception on 27 March in the European Parliament, kindly hosted by Vladimir URUTCHEV (EPP, BU). A key note speech will be given by Lilyana PAVLOVA, Minister of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union
The reception will highlight Bulgaria’s achievements in the fields of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Digitalisation, and the policies that are needed to equip citizens with the education, skills and training they need to embrace technological innovations and the jobs of the future. Details to follow.


European Commission:

Appointment of Martin SELMAYR as Secretary-General:
The members of Parliament’s budgetary control committee have voted to launch a probe into the appointment of Martin SELMAYR to the top civil service job in the Commission. It is not yet known when the investigation will start or what its remit will be. Its composition is not yet known either although the members are expected to be MEPs.

Agriculture and Rural Development Directorate-General (AGRI):

Directorate B – Quality, Research and Innovation, Outreach: Kerstin ROSENOW, formerly a Head of at the Research Executive Agency, becomes Head of Unit B2 (Research and Innovation), taking over from Deputy Head of Unit Alberto D'AVINO. Ms ROSENOW's previous position has been left temporarily vacant.

Economic and Financial Affairs Directorate-General (ECFIN):
Directorate D – International Economic and Financial Relations, Global Governance: Heinz SHERRER has been appointed Head of Unit D3 (IMF and G-Groups), taking over from Elena FLORES, Director of Directorate D, who held the role in an acting capacity. Mr SHERRER was previously Adviser to Directorate D, a position that is now temporarily vacant.
Directorate L – Treasury and Financial Operations: Patrick STEIMER departs from his role as Head of Unit L5 (Treasury and Asset Management), leaving Deputy Head Dimitrios PAPAKONSTANTINOU as Acting Head of Unit.

Missed last week's reshuffle? Read all the details here.

Want to know more? Click here for information on our Dods People EU service.

Court of Justice (ECJ):

The following persons were appointed and re-appointed as of 7 October 2018:

Re-appointed as judges:
Jean-Claude BONICHOT (FR)
Carl Gustav FERNLUND (SE)
Constantinos LYCOURGOS (CY)
Alexandra (Sacha) PRECHAL (NL)

Appointed as judge:
Lucia Serena ROSSI (IT)

Renewal of term as advocates-general:
Yves BOT (FR)

Appointed as advocate-general:


European Court of Auditors (ECA):

MEPs backed the appointment of Annemie TURTELBOOM, currently member of the federal Parliament of Belgium as member of ECA. The appointment must now to be approved by the Council. She will replace Karel PINXTEN.


Public affairs:

Got any new appointment you would like us to include in our next newsletter? Contact Ifigenia Balkoura!

Airlines 4 Europe (A4E): Jennifer JANZEN was appointed as the new communications director, based in Brussels, replacing Aage DUENHAUPT, who moved to TUI as Head of Communications & PR Aviation/TUI Airlines and Director Communications at TUI fly in Germany.


News in a nutshell:

Brexit: Last week started with Labour leader Jeremy CORBYN setting out the party’s customs union plan. CORBYN called for a new compressive UK-EU customs union" with tariff-free trade and no hard border on the island of Ireland, and he also asked for the UK to have a say in future trade deals.

The UK government made a major U-turn on citizens’ rights by announcing that it will grant the EU nationals who arrive during the Brexit transition period the right to remain indefinitely in the UKremain indefinitely in the UK.

The European Parliament’s Brexit Steering Group has said Parliament will scrutinise the Commission’s draft, and welcomed Michel BARNIER’s approach in the draft Withdrawal Treaty. On Northern Ireland and in case of no deal, the draft highlights that it is important that the free movement of goods and products is maintained, essentially keeping Northern Ireland in a customs union.

On 1 March, President of European Council Donald TUSK met with Theresa MAY in London. He said that the EU does not want a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland and that if no other solution can be reached, a common regulatory area should be established. He reiterated that there can be no frictionless trade outside the single market and the customs union. However, Theresa MAY warned Donald Tusk that EU proposals which would effectively keep Northern Ireland in the customs union after Brexit are "unacceptable". TUSK will present the draft guidelines on the future relationship this week.

Theresa MAY gave a key speech on Friday 2 March, repeating that creating a border along the Irish Sea is unacceptable and that upholding the Good Friday agreement is at the heart of the UK’s approach. On the single market she admitted that life is going to be difficult as a result of leaving the single market and the access to it will be reduced. The UK Prime Minister expressed her wish for the broadest and the deepest possible partnership when it comes to security. The chancellor for the Exchequer will set out next week the “deep partnership” the UK is seeking in the sector of financial services.

Reacting to the speech, EU's chief negotiator Michel BARNIER tweeted: 'I welcome Prime Minister's speech. Clarity about UK leaving Single Market and Customs Union and recognition of trade-offs will inform European Council guidelines re: future FTA'.

EPP Group leader Manfred WEBER (DE) expressed his concerns, by posting on twitter "I don't see how we could reach an agreement on Brexit if the UK government continues to bury its head in the sand like this. 

In a post on social media, ALDE group leader and Parliament's chief negotiator Guy VERHOFSTADT (BE) welcomed Mrs MAY's call for a deep and special partnership but he clarified that 'this cannot be achieved by putting a few extra cherries on the Brexit cake'. He added that 'our relationship must be close and comprehensive. This is only possible if the UK understands that the EU is a rule based organisation. There is little appetite to re-negotiate the rules of the single market, simply to satisfy a divided Conservative party.’ Mr VERHOFSTADT will meet with Mrs MAY in London on Tuesday.

Brexit wallchart:

Following the recent reshuffle in the UK cabinet, our teams have produced an updated version of the Brexit negotiations key players wallchart. Download the wallchart for free.

Germany: The Social Democratic Party backed by 66 per cent another grand coalition with the CDU.

Greece: Economy minister Dimitris PAPADIMITRIOU resigned for political sensitivity reasons amid revelations that his wife, Rania ANTONOPOULOU, alternate minister for social solidarity, who also resigned, received 12,000 euros in state rent subsidies for an apartment in an upscale Athens neighbourhood.
Following the resignations, Prime Minister Alexis TSIPRAS reshuffled his cabinet. Deputy Prime Minister Giannis DRAGASAKIS was appointed as the new economy minister. Giannis MOUZALAS was replaced by Dimitris VITSAS, who was previously alternate minister for defence industry and administration.

Italy: Following the election that was held on 4 March, Italy is set to have a hung parliament The Eurosceptic Five Stars Movement won most of the votes. However, Forza Italia and the League are set to win most of the seats in the lower house of the parliament. Earlier last week, President of the European Parliament Antonio TAJANI announced that he has accepted Silvio BERLUSCONI’s proposal to be the prime ministerial candidate for Forza Italia.
According to the latest results, the Five Star Movement won 32.4 per cent, the League, led by Matteo SALVINI MEP and Vice-Chair of the ENF group in the European Parliament 17.6 per cent and Forza Italia 14 per cent. S&D group leader Gianni PITTELLA also run as a candidate for the Italian Senate.


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


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