Movers and Shakers | 6 March 2017

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

By Ifigenia Balkoura

06 Mar 2017

Today's Movers & Shakers are about: the new S&D MEP, plenary's highlights, latest appointments in the European Commission, the new Brussels office of MAHLE Group, new appointments in the public affairs, news from Finland, France, the elections result in Northern Ireland, Brexit and more. 

European Parliament:

Arndt KOHN (S&D, DE) joined the Parliament replacing Martin SCHULZ.

Composition of the committees and the delegations:

Marian LUPU (Moldova) was elected as the new co-president of the Euronest parliamentary assembly. Earlier in February, Rebecca HARMS (Greens/EFA, DE) was also elected co-president.

Arndt KOHN (S&D, DE) joined the Committee on Budgetary Control (CONT), replacing Jens GEIER.

Emmanuel MAUREL (S&D, FR) left the delegation for relations with the People's Republic of China (D-CN) and joined the delegation for relations with the Mashreq countries (D-MAS).

Edouard MARTIN (S&D, FR) left the delegation for relations with the Mashreq countries (D-MAS) and joined the delegation for relations with the People's Republic of China (D-CN).

Nicola CAPUTO (S&D, IT) joined the Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN), replacing Massimo PAOLUCCI (S&D, IT).

Urmas PAET (ALDE, EE) joined the delegation for relations with Japan (D-JP).

Marju LAURISTIN (S&D, EE) was appointed rapporteur for the Parliament’s report on the Commission’s proposal for a Regulation concerning the respect for private life and the protection of personal data in electronic communications and repealing Directive 2002/58/EC (Regulation on Privacy and Electronic Communications).

Nathalie GRIESBECK (FR) was appointed as ALDE group’s co-ordinator for the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE).

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Committees' news:
Report on the inquiry into emission measurements in the automotive sector: on 28 February the EMIS Committee adopted its draft report following their investigation by 40 votes in favour, 2 votes against and 2 abstentions and a draft motion for recommendation by 37 votes in favour, 3 against and 4 abstentions. Gerben-Jan GERBRANDY (ALDE, NL) and Jens GIESEKE (EPP, DE) are the Parliament's co-rapporteurs on the report and recommendations. The members called for stricter control and implementation at EU level of car emission legislation through the swift adoption of the new type-approval procedure and real-world emission testing. The texts will now be discussed and voted on during the Strasbourg plenary session of the European Parliament on 4 April. If the report is adopted, this will mark the end of the procedure and the EMIS Committee will cease to exist.

Plenary session highlights:
White paper on the future of Europe: European Commission President Jean-Claude JUNCKER addressed the plenary session and unveiled the white paper on the future of the European Union by 2025 in the light of the 60th anniversary of the EU.  In his speech, Mr JUNCKER analysed the five scenarios of the white paper: 1. carrying on, 2. nothing but the single market, 3. Those who want more do more, 4. Doing less more efficiently, 5. Doing much more together. The five scenarios are focusing on the single market and trade, the economic and monetary union, the Schengen, migration and security, the foreign policy and defence, the EU budget and the capacity to deliver.
Speaking to the MEPs, apart t from calling for unity and suggesting the idea of a multi-speed Europe (scenario three), he said that "our values must continue to unite us: peace, democracy, solidarity, rule of law, equal dignity, a free independent press", mentioning examples that show that these values are not always applied. He also stated that he wants a dialogue with and for the people and stressed the importance of a social Europe for the decades to come.

Waiver of immunity: MEPs voted overwhelmingly to revoke the parliamentary immunity of Marine LE PEN (ENF, FR) after she tweeted graphic photos of Islamic State violence.

Sexist comments: Janusz KORWIN-MIKKE (NI, PL) infuriated the house with his sexist comments suggesting that women should be paid less, because, he claimed, they are weak, smaller and less intelligent than men.  Iraxte GARCIA PEREZ (S&D, ES), responded with an impassioned speech, saying that it was hurting him that women can sit in the parliament today and defend all European women from men like him. President Antonio TAJANI has launched an investigation against him.

Creative Europe Report: On 2 March, the European Parliament adopted the report on the implementation of the Creative Europe programme with 503 votes in favour, 57 votes against and 80 abstentions. During the debate, prior to the vote, the MEPs highlighted the importance of cultural diversity, the creative industries, an increased budget and the need for more transparency and efficiency when applying to the Creative Europe Programme. Read Dods EU Monitoring's briefing.


European Commission:


Budget (BUDG):
Maria Rosa ALDEA BUSQUETS became acting Deputy Director-General replacing Manfred KRAFF who moved to the IAS.

Communications Networks, Content and Technology (CNECT):
Directorate C – Digital Excellence and Science Infrastructure: on 1 March Thomas SKORDAS was appointed as Director, having served as acting Director and Head of Unit ‘Flagships’.

Economic and Financial Affairs (ECFIN):
Directorate G – Economies of the Member States II: Javier YANIZ IGAL became acting Head of Unit, ‘Belgium, France, Luxembourg’, replacing Martin LARCH, who has taken up the Secretariat role for the European Fiscal Board.
Directorate L – Treasury and Financial Operations: Irmantas SIMONIS became acting Head of Unit, ‘Stability mechanisms and legal affairs’, replacing Saila VALTONEN.

Internal Audit Service (IAS):
Manfred KRAFF began his role as Director-General, replacing Jeffrey MASON who was acting in the role. Mr KRAFF moved to the IAS from DG BUDG where he was Deputy Director-General and Accounting Officer.
Directorate C – Audit in Commission and Executive Agencies II: Rudi DRIES became acting head of ‘Audit Unit C.3’ replacing Pascal HALLEZ.

Interpretation (SCIC):
Directorate A – Interpreters: Daniela SABEVA became acting Head of Unit, ‘Bulgarian Interpretation’, replacing Ekaterina DRAGANOVA.

Justice and Consumers (JUST):
Directorate B – Criminal Justice: on 1 March Alexandra JOUR-SCHRÖDER was appointed as Director, having spent time as acting Director and Head of Unit ‘Financial Crime’.
Directorate D – Equality and Union citizenship: Karen VANDEKERCKHOVE became Head of Unit, 'Gender Equality', replacing Sarah-Jane KING who was acting in the role.

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


Committee of the Regions (CoR):

PES Group:
Bouke ARENDS (NL) was nominated as CoR's rapporteur for the communication on a European strategy on cooperative intelligent transport systems.


European Enlargement:

Bosnia Herzegovina: an agreement on formal EU accession for Bosnia appears to be in doubt as the Bosnia Serb faction is resisting cooperation on joint answers to the EU questionnaire. Prime Minister of Republika Srpska (RS), Zeljka CVIJANOVIC, asserted that the reform agenda was blocked in an address to the RS assembly on Monday 27 February. The questionnaire is used to evaluate the readiness of a country applying for EU membership and is a crucial step towards formal accession negotiations.

Serbia: On Monday 27 February, at a conference in Brussels, Serbia participated in fresh accession talks and opened two new chapters in its negotiation – Enterprise and Industrial Policy and Education and Culture. Serbia is now in negotiations on eight out of 35 chapters of the EU accession rulebook.


Public Affairs:

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Association of Commercial Television in Europe (ACT):   Ségolène BUNEL joined the team as the new EU policy officer on 2 February. Having an extensive experience in EU and audiovisual affairs, she will be working closely with the public affairs team.  

Cambre: Fernando ANTON, Victoria MAIN and Feriel SAOULI were promoted to new roles as vice-presidents and partners, in a move to anticipate the market demands. Head of Cambre’s public relations division, Fernando will take a lead in service offering and quality control, while, head of technology practise and media, Victoria will be leading on business development and marketing. Feriel, head of association management and events division, will be focusing on operational excellence.  

DIGITALEUROPE: Cecilia BONEFELD-DAHL was appointed as the new Director General, succeeding John HIGGINS as of early April. Ms BONEFELD-DAHL is currently CEO of GLOBIT and brings more than 20 years' experience in the ICT sector.

EFPIA:  Nathalie MOLL was appointed as the new Director General, starting in April. Ms MOLL, who is currently Secretary General of EuropaBio, will replace Eric CORNUT.

ING Belgium: Erik VAN DEN EYNDEN became the new CEO as of 1 March. He succeeds Rik ​VANDENBERGHE, who was appointed as CEO of BESIX Group.

Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB Europe): Simon HALSTEAD was elected as the new chair of the programmatic trading committee.

MAHLE Group: one of the world's 20 largest automotive suppliers, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany has very recently established an external affairs department. Heading the government affairs activities is Mr Kai LÜCKE, reporting to the CEO. For the external relations to German and European Stakeholders, offices have been opened in Berlin and Brussels. Since January the Brussels office is led by Mr Sascha WAGNER. The Berlin office is active since 1 March and is led by Mr Hannes BÄCHLE.


News in a nutshell:

Brexit: The big news on Brexit last week was undoubtedly the defeat of the UK government in the House of Lords over the EU citizens rights to remain in the UK after Brexit. Peers voted by 358 to 256 in favour of an amendment to the EU bill, calling on the Government to bring forward proposals securing the future of EU nationals resident in the UK, within three months of the two-year countdown to Britain's exit beginning. The legislation is now pushed back to the House of Commons for reconsideration. However, the UK government seems to be determined to overturn the move. Read more.
Previously, the Peers voted down by 299 votes to 136 a bid to force Theresa MAY to keep the UK in the single market. Read more.

Following Theresa MAY's reassurance that she will not fail to secure a comprehensive trade agreement with the EU, Brexit Secretary David DAVIS underlined  the need for departmental heads to be ready for the “unlikely scenario” that no deal can be reached. Read more.

In UKIP news, former leader Nigel FARAGE said there is “little future” for the party unless it ditches Douglas CARSWELL, the party’s only MP, while he blamed the latter for him not being knighted. Read more.

Meantime, the European ombudsman has urged the European Commission to ensure the appropriate transparency during the upcoming negotiations.  In a letter sent to president JUNCKER, Mrs Emily O'REILLY asked for transparency regarding the access to information and documents the Commission is intending to publish, and when. She also said she had been receiving questions and complaints from EU citizens exercise their right to free movement, and called on the Commission to facilitate the Ombudsman office’s work. O’REILLY expects a response by 30 April.

Czech Republic: Minister for trade and industry, Jan MLÁDEK was dismissed by Prime Minister Bohuslav SOBOTKA over his failure to support the government's goal in lowering mobile and telephone tariffs. The dismissal comes after his comments that roaming is a luxury and eight months before the general elections in the country.

Finland: Foreign minister Timo SOINI announced that he will be stepping down as leader of the Finns Party in June. His party is participating in the three-party coalition government.

France: Former Prime Minister Alain JUPPE announced that he will not run as the Republicans candidate for the presidency. JUPPE was seen as the most likely candidate to replace Francois FILLON in the presidential race, amid a scandal over thousands of taxpayers’ money paid to his wife for job that she did not do.

Northern Ireland: the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) secured most of the seats in the snap elections held on 2 March, while Sinn Féin came second. Coalition talks to form a government started on Monday between the main parties. They have three weeks to form an executive. 

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


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