Movers and Shakers | 7 February 2020


Today’s Movers & Shakers are about: Meet the 27 New MEPs, Fidesz party suspension to continue for another year, DG JUST sees a change in leadership, Ireland heads to the polls, the latest Commission, public affairs appointments and more!


European Parliament

Following the UK’s departure from the EU on 31 January, the 73 British MEPs have now vacated their seats in Parliament. In their place, 27 new MEPs from different Members States have joined bringing the total number of members to 705. The remaining 46 seats have been reserved for potential future EU enlargements or the creation of transnational lists. 

Of the new faces in Parliament, look out for first-time MEP Sandro GOZI (RE, FR). GOZI constitutes an interesting case as a MEP elected with a different nationality from that of the country that voted him in. The Italian will represent the French La Republique en Marche party of French president Emmanuel MACRON, despite being a member of the Italian Democratic Party. 

Another first-time MEP is former Minister for Education in the Catalan government Clara PONSATÍ OBIOLS (NI, ES). PONSATÍ OBIOLS has been living in self-imposed exile in Scotland since 2017. While she is set to take her seat in Parliament on 7 February, she faces many of the same legal challenges as fellow Catalan MEPs Toni COMÍN and Carles PUIGDEMONT. Both COMÍN and PUIGDEMONT finally took their seats in mid-January of this year after ongoing disputes with Spanish Courts over their involvement in the Catalan independence referendum and eligibility for a seat in the European Parliament. 

For comprehensive information on the 27 new MEPs, visit


Committees and Delegations

Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON)
Lefteris NIKOLAOU-ALAVANOS (NI, EL) who was previously a substitute,  leaves the committee.

Employment and Social Affairs Committee (EMPL)
Atidzhe ALIEVA-VELI (RE, BG) joins as a substitute.


Massimiliano SALINI (EPP, IT) and Ezven TOSENOVSKY (ECR, CZ) have been elected vice-presidents of the Sky and Space intergroup.

Political Groups

The European People's Party (EPP) decided to continue with the suspension of its Hungarian member party, Fidesz of prime minister Viktor ORBAN at the party’s annual political assembly on Monday. However, unless ORBAN decides to quit the EPP, Fidesz will remain in the group for at least another year as the EPP’s assembly did not find the proper majority to expel them.

Michal ŠIMEČKA (RE, SK) has been appointed the new vice-president of the Renew Europe Group, replacing outgoing UK MEP Martin HORWOOD

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European Commission


Agriculture and Rural Affairs (AGRI)
Hugo ALMEIDA replaces Efthimios BOKIAS as Head of Unit F5 (Spain, Portugal) in an acting capacity.

Budget (BUDG)
Nicole SMITH becomes Head of Unit C1 (Treasury Management) in an acting capacity, filling a vacant position. SMITH remains Director of C as well.

Health and Food Safety (SANTE)
Jeroen LETTENS becomes Head of Unit A3 (Finance, budget and controls), filling a vacant position.

International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO)
Eric BEAUME replaces Ana GALLO ALVAREZ as Head of Unit G3 (Regional Sector Policy Analysis) in an acting capacity.
Nicolas STOETZEL replaces Sandra BARTELT as Head of Unit R3 (Legal Affairs) in an acting capacity.

Translation (DGT)
Mareks KOVALEVSKIS replaces Mareks GRAUDINS as Head of the Latvian language department in Directorate C.
Maria RZEWUSKA-WALIGORA replaces Christine HERWIG as Head of Terminology Coordination in Directorate D.

Communication (COMM)
A new unit has been added to Directorate C (Representation and Communication in Member States). The newly added C5 unit will deal with the ‘United Kingdom Withdrawal Transition’ and will be headed by Andy KLOM in an acting capacity.

Human Resources and Security (HR)
Anette MANDLER replaces Bernard MAGENHANN as Director of Account Management Centre (AMC) in an acting capacity. MANDLER remains Head of Unit AMC1.

Justice and Consumer Affairs (JUST)
Salla SAASTAMOINEN has taken over from Tiina ASTOLA has director-general in an acting capacity.

Regional and Urban Policy (REGIO)
Eveline Petrat-Charléty replaces Erik NOOTEBOOM as Head of Unit B4 (Legal Affairs) in an acting capacity.

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

EU Institutions and Agencies

Committee of the Regions
Kieran MCCARTHY (IE) has been elected president of the European Alliance Group in the European Committee of the Regions while Karl VANLOUWE (BE) has been elected first vice-president.

European Defence Agency (EDA)
Olli RUUTU has been named as the Acting Chief Executive, replacing Jorge DOMECQ who was serving in the role ad interim. RUUTU’s term will continue until a new head is appointed.

Public Affairs

Virginia JANSSENS has been appointed Managing Director and will take up her role as of 16 March.

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National News

Ministers without portfolio Susanna RAAB, Karoline EDSTADLER and Christine ASCHBACHER have been re-assigned new portfolios. RAAB becomes Federal Minister for Women and Integration in the Federal Chancellery. EDSTADLER becomes Federal Minister for the EU and Constitution in the Federal Chancellery. ASCHBACHER becomes Federal Minister for Labour, Family and Youth.

Previous assistant to the Minister of Health, Vili BEROS, has been confirmed as the new Minister for Health with 81 votes in favour, 42 against and 1 abstention.

An opinion poll released this week has indicated the Taoiseach Leo VARADKAR’s party, Fine Gael (EPP), is predicted to come third in the general election on the 8 February. The poll places Sinn Féin (GUE/NGL) in the lead, with Fianna Fáil (EPP) following closely behind.

Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for the Economy and Minister for Health Etienne SCHNEIDER has tendered his resignation. Minister for Sport and Minister for Labour, Employment and the Social and Solidarity Economy Dan KERSCH replaces SCHNEIDER as Deputy Prime Minister. A new addition to the cabinet, Franz FAYOT takes over the Economy portfolio, and the portfolio for Development Co-operation and Humanitarian Affairs, previously held by Paulette LENERT. Minister for Consumer Protection Paulette LENERT takes over the health portfolio.

For a full list of the cabinet following the re-shuffle, visit

It has been announced this week that the first round of the Presidential election will take place on the 10 May.

The opposition Social Democratic Party, alongside the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania submitted a no-confidence vote against Prime Minister Ludovic ORBAN’s National Liberal Party (EPP) minority government. The PNL government had been in office for three months, following a no-confidence vote against the former PSD-led government.

The motion was debated in Parliament on Wednesday, 233 MPs were needed to pass the motion for ORBAN's cabinet to be dismissed, it received 261 to 139 votes in favour. President Klaus IOHANNIS nominated outgoing ORBAN to form a new cabinet.

President Borut PAHOR begins formal talks with parliamentary parties this week to discuss the formation of a new government, following the resignation of Prime Minister Marjan SAREC.


Read the most recent articles written by Mia Bartoloni and Megan MacDougall - Movers and Shakers | 9 April 2020

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