Movers and Shakers | 6 February 2017

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

By Ifigenia Balkoura

06 Feb 2017

Today's Movers & Shakers are about: latest appointments in the Parliament, Commission and public affairs, Brexit and more.


European Parliament:

Committees and Delegations:

Cecilia WIKSTRÖM (ALDE, SE) was elected as the Chair of the Conference of Committee Chairs, replacing Jerzy BUZEK (EPP, PL).

Neoklis SYLIKIOTIS was unanimously elected as the new Chair of the Delegation for relations with Palestine (D-PLC), replacing Martina ANDERSON (GUE/NGL, UK).

Francesc GAMBÚS (EPP, ES) joined the Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean (D-MED).

Anneli JÄÄTTEENMÄKI (ALDE, FI) joined the Delegation for relations with Belarus (D-BY) and the Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly (D-EPA).

Jaromír KOHLÍČEK (GUE/NGL, CZ) joined the Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly (D-EPA).

Julia REDA (Greens/EFA, DE) joined the Delegation for relations with the People's Republic of China (D-CN).

Jordi SOLÉ (Greens/EFA, ES) joined the Delegation to the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee (D-TR).

Mireille D'ORNANO (ENF, FR) joined the Special Committee of Inquiry into Emission Measurements in the Automotive Sector (EMIS).

Ramona Nicole MĂNESCU (EPP, RO) joined the Committee on International Trade (INTA).

Julie GIRLING (ECR, UK) joined the Committees on Fisheries (PECH).

Branislav Škripek (ECR, SK) joined the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM).

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Parliament news:
He is lying
: The picture of Seb DANCE (S&D, UK) holding up a sign saying “He’s lying to you→” while his fellow Brit Nigel FARAGE (EFDD) was giving a speech, defending the immigration policy of Donald TRUMP was all over social media on Wednesday. The London Labour MEP explained in a press release on his website the reasons behind his movement. He said: “nationalists and populists pretend to stand up for people who are suffering but their diet of hate, division and suspicion create only misery and poverty. It’s time to stop the nuanced language: They’re liars. When debates are time-limited it is impossible to challenge what he’s saying, so I protested in the only way I knew how at that point, which was to grab a piece of paper, write a very simple message on it and sit behind Nigel Farage during his usual diatribe."

Farewell: for Martin SCHULZ, who is leaving his seat after almost 23 years to run for Chancellor candidate in the upcoming elections in Germany in September 2017. The PSD delegation gave him a farewell on Thursday 2 February.

Disability access: Organisers of a disability event have condemned facilities in the European Parliament for handicapped people. The event, which was hosted by Soraya POST (S&D, SE) on Tuesday was late starting because of what organisers call "inadequate arrangements" for disabled people gaining access to the sprawling Parliament. Read more.

EU fund misuse scandal: Front National Leader Marine LEP PEN (ENF, FR) came once again under fire as the European Parliament plans to withhold 50 per cent of her salary in a row over misspent EU funds. The move comes after the deadline passed for Le Pen, France's far-right leader, to return more than €300,000 the Parliament says she has misspent. Read more.

Next US ambassador: MEPs are angered with the man widely tipped to become the next US ambassador to the EU and who is now facing calls for him to be stripped of the post. Read more. European Council President Donald TUSK (PL) also commented on the new US administration and said that "worrying declarations from President TRUMP are among the challenges faced by the EU," and that the change in Washington was part of an external threat that also included an assertive China, an aggressive Russia and radical Islam. Read more.

Transport: On 25 January the TRAN committee heard and discussed the priorities of the EU Maltese Presidency in the area of transport and tourism. Read Dods EU Monitoring briefing on the discussion.

Plenary highlights:
Georgia visa waiver:
MEPs approved by 553 to 66 and 28 abstentions the visa exemption for Georgians, who will have the right to enter the Schengen area for 90days in any 180-day period, for business, tourist or family purposes, but not to work. The new legislation has now to be approved by the Council. Mariya GABRIEL (EPP, BU) is the rapporteur for the proposal.


European Commission:

Directorates General:

Communications Networks, Content and Technology (CNECT):
Directorate G – Data: Yvo VOLMAN became Head of Unit, ‘Data Policy and Innovation’, replacing Celina RAMJOUÉ who was acting in the role. Mr VOLMAN joins DG CNECT from the Commission’s Publications Office.

Economic and Financial Affairs (ECFIN):
Directorate L – Treasury and financial operations: Paulus GERAEDTS became acting Head of Unit, ‘Coordination with the EIB Group, EBRD and IFIs’, replacing Kay PARPLIES who moved to DG DEVCO.

International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO):
Directorate A – Development Policy and International Cooperation: Laurent SARAZIN became Head of Unit, ‘Financing and Effectiveness’, replacing Nicoletta MERLO who was acting in the role. Mr SARAZIN moved from Directorate R.

Directorate C – Sustainable Growth and Development: Kay PARPLIES became Head of Unit, Financial Instruments’, replacing Jose BAIGES PLANAS who was acting in the role. Ms PARPLIES joined the Directorate from DG ECFIN.

Directorate R – Resources and Centre of Gravity of Human Resources in Delegations: Jan SEMPELS became acting Head of Unit, ‘Legal Affairs’, replacing Laurent SARAZIN.

Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Policy (MARE):
Directorate D – Fisheries Policy: Mediterranean and Black Sea: Veronika VEITS was appointed as Director, replacing Fabrizio DONATELLA who was acting in the role. Ms VEITS moved from her role as Head of Unit in DG TRADE.

Informatics (DIGIT):
Directorate B – Digital Business Solutions: Thomas GAGEIK was appointed as Director and will replace Ken DUCATEL, who is acting in the role.

Interpretation (SCIC):
Directorate A – Interpreters: Alexandra PANAGAKOU became Director replacing Luisa CASTELLANI who was acting in the role. Ms PANAGAKOU was previously acting Director of Directorate C -Provision of Interpretation and was head of the ‘Professional Support for Interpreters’ unit. Maria MOREIRA RIBEIRO has taken up the acting Director role and Angeles CUALLADO is temporarily heading up the Professional Support unit.

Regional and Urban Policy (REGIO):
Directorate A – Budget, Communication and General Affairs: Dana SPINANT was appointed as Director replacing Philippe JOURET who was acting in the role. Ms SPINANT moved to DG REGIO from DG HOME. Agnés MONFRET became Head of Unit, ‘Communication’, swapping roles with Ana-Paula LAISSY who became Head of Unit, ‘Interreg, Cross-border Cooperation, Internal Boarders’, in Directorate D.

Directorate E – Administrative Capacity Building and Programme Implementation II: Thomas BENDER joined the team from Directorate D becoming Head of Unit, ‘Hungary’, replacing Jacobus ENGWEGEN.

Research and Innovation (RTD):
Directorate B – Open Innovation and Open Science: Jean-David MALO became Director replacing Wolfgang BURTSCHER who was acting in the role. Mr MALO was Head of Unit, ‘SMEs, Financial instruments and State Aid’, which is now led by Deputy Head Steve ROGERS.

Secretariat General (SG):
Directorate C – Smart Regulation and Work Programme: Deputy Director-General Jean-Eric PAQUET became acting Director following Elizabeth GOLBERG’s departure. Nobert SAGSTETTER became acting Head of Unit, ‘Evaluation, Regulatory Fitness and Performance’, replacing Jonathon STOODLEY. Charlotte HAENTZEL became acting Head of Unit, ‘Work Programme and Stakeholder Consultation’, replacing Carmen PREISING who moved to DG MARE.

Trade (TRADE):
Directorate B – Services and Investment, Intellectual Property and Public Procurement: Maria MARTIN-PRAT was appointed as Director. Prior to this appointment Ms MARTIN-PRAT was head of the ‘Copyright’ unit in DG CNECT.


Public affairs:

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

Burson-Marsteller:  Vice-Admiral Peter HUDSON CB will join as a Senior Adviser for Defence and Security on 1 February. A British national, Vice-Admiral HUDSON has served as an officer in the Royal Navy for 36 years, while from 2013 to 2015 he was NATO’s maritime headquarters Head.

European Corrugated Packaging Association (FEFCO): Thomas MAIWALD was appointed as the new Market and Environment Director. Until 2016 he held various roles within METRO Group, where his focus was on the integration of packaging know-how, Shelf Ready Packaging and standards requirements into the own-brand processes.

Jesuit Refugee Sercive (JRS): Jose Ignacio GARCIA was appointed as then new Regional Director, taking over from Jean-Marie Carriere.


News in a nutshell:

Brexit: On 1 February, MPs overwhelmingly backed the Government’s plan to trigger Article 50 by the end of March by 498 to 114 in favour. Dozens of rebel Labour MPs - including several frontbenchers - defied party leader Jeremy CORBYN to vote with Lib Dem and SNP colleagues against the bill. Read more. The full list of MPs who voted against Article 50 bill can be found here.

The Government published a 77-page White Paper on triggering Article 50 on Thursday 3 February. The paper is in line with what Theresa MAY said in her Brexit speech a couple of weeks ago. An interesting point of the paper is the negotiating priorities of the immigration policy. According to the paper, businesses and individuals will be allowed the time to adapt to any new arrangements. Read more.

Romania: Minister of Business, Trade and Entrepreneurship, Florin JIANU resigned over a controversial decree that was adopted by the government, decriminalising corruption in several occasions. This is the first resignation within the newly elected government.


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