Movers and Shakers | 8 January 2021

Keep track of developments in the European institutions and public affairs with our Movers and Shakers column.

By Mia Bartoloni

Mia Bartoloni is the Editor of Dods People EU and the European Public Affairs Directory (EPAD)

08 Jan 2021

Today’s Movers & Shakers are about: The new Romanian MEP, a new director-general appointed at the ECB, upcoming European elections 2021, welcome to the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU, the latest Commission changes, and lots more!

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European Parliament

The Parliament bids farewell to Cristian Ghinea (RE, RO) who has been appointed minister for European investments and projects in the new Romanian cabinet. Ghinea had joined the Parliament at the beginning of its 9th legislative term, serving as vice-chair on the Regional Development Committee (REGI) and as a member on Budgetary Control Committee (CONT), the Moldova Delegation and the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee (AGRI).

Succeeding Ghinea is Alin Mituţa (RE, RO) a former adviser to the USR PLUS delegation in the European Parliament. A graduate of European Affairs from Sciences Po, Paris, Mituţa has been the EU policies coordinator and national bureau member of the Freedom, Unity and Solidarity Party (PLUS) since 2018.

European Commission

Directorates-General and Services

Koen Dierckx replaces Christian Engelen as head of unit E1 (Budgetary guarantees and risk analysis). Engelen had been performing the role in an acting capacity.
Jan Carlsson replaces Jean-Pierre Raes as head of unit E2 (Accounting and Reporting Back-office) in an acting capacity.

Communications Networks, Content and Technology (CONNECT)
Zoran Stančič joins as Hors Classe Adviser to the director-general.
Rita Wezenbeek takes over as director of directorate B (Connectivity). The directorate had previously been called ‘Electronic Communications Networks and Services’ and had been led by Vesa Terävä in an acting capacity.
Thibault Kleiner replaces Lorena Boix Alonso as director of directorate D (Policy Strategy and Outreach). Boix Alonso moves to the position of director of directorate H (Digital Society, Trust & Cybersecurity).

Significant changes have taken place in DG CONNECT. For a complete list of all changes please visit

European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)
Head of unit for communication, Petra Pereyra, moves under the responsibility of the director-general. The role had previously sat within directorate A (Emergency Management and rescEU).
Leonor Nieto Leon replaces Ilkka Salmi as head of unit B2 (Prevention and Disaster Risk Management), Salmi had been occupying the role in an acting capacity. Nieto Leon is replaced in their previous role as head of unit C1 (Humanitarian Aid Thematic Policies) by Andreas Papaconstantinou in an acting capacity.

Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union (FISMA)
Anne Schaedle replaces Kai Spitzer as head of unit A1 (Policy definition and coordination). Spitzer had been performing the role in an acting capacity on top of their duties as deputy head of unit.

Health and Food Safety (SANTE)
Maria Pilar Aguar Fernandez replaces Ruben Tascon as director of directorate F (Health and food audits and analysis). Tascon had been performing the role in an acting capacity.
Carlos Álvarez Antolínez leaves their position as adviser for sanitary and phytosanitary issues in directorate D (Food sustainability, international relations), leaving a vacant tenure.
Francisco Reviriego Gordejo becomes head of unit G2 (Animal Health) filling a vacant tenure. Reviriego Gordejo leaves their previous position as adviser for crisis management in the same directorate.

Human Resources and Security (HR)
Octavian Purcarea replaces Maria-José Vidal-Ragout as head of unit D3 (Medical Service Brussels). Purcarea is replaced in his previous role as head of unit D6 (Medical Absences) by Dimo Iliev in an acting capacity.

Mobility and Transport (MOVE)
Jean-Louis Colson replaces Eddy Liegeois as head of unit C1 (Road Transport). Liegeois then takes Colson’s previous role as head of unit B1 (Transport Networks).
Deputy head of unit Isabelle Vandoorne takes over as head of unit B4 (Sustainable and Intelligent Transport) replacing Claire Depre. Depre moves to head of unit C2 (Road Safety) replacing Fotini Ioannidou. Ioannidou moves to head of unit D2 (Maritime Safety) replacing Sian Prout.

Research and Innovation (RTD)
Brendan Hawdon leaves their role as adviser for integration of horizon programming and policy-making in directorate A (Policy and Programming Centre) leaving a vacant position.
Jyrki Suominen replaces Sieglinde Grüber as head of unit C4 (Healthy Oceans and Seas) in an acting capacity.
Andrea Gentili replaces Hervé Martin as head of unit D3 (Low Emission Future Industries) in an acting capacity.
Carmen Laplaza Santos replaces Maria Pilar Aguar Fernandez as head of unit E3 (Health Innovations) in an acting capacity.

Secretariat-General (SG)
John Watson has been appointed deputy secretary-general for Interinstitutional and External Relations filling a vacant position.
Magda Morgese Borys has been appointed head of unit A1 (Italy, Finland, Sweden, Denmark European Semester, Interinstitutional relations) in the Recovery and Resilience Task Force, filling a vacant tenure.
Luca Rossi has been appointed head of unit B3 (Germany, Austria, Portugal, Malta Social Affairs, Education, Health) in the Recovery and Resilience Task Force, filling a vacant tenure. Rossi had previously been head of unit A6 (Security, External relations, Climate & Energy) in the UK Task Force.
François Arbault leaves his role as head of unit E2 (European Green Deal), leaving a vacant tenure.

Translation (DGT)
Kerstin Kettig-Bauer replaces Werner Grünewald as head of unit S2 (External Translation).

Other EU Institutions and Agencies

European Central Bank (ECB)
Former chief spokesperson of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), Wolfgang Proissl has been appointed new director general for communications, succeeding Christine Graeff who starts a new role at Credit Suisse.

European Stability Mechanism (ESM)
Anabela Reis succeeds Wolfgang Proissl as chief spokesperson. Reis has been with the ESM since September 2018 as a Senior Spokesperson.

Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union

Portugal assumed the presidency of the Council of the European Union on 1 January 2021 for a six-month term. This means that, from January to 30 June 2021, Portugal will chair the meetings of the EU Council and will be responsible for progressing EU legislation.

Multiannual Financial Framework: The Presidency will focus on the implementation of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-27 together with the Next Generation EU recovery instrument which has been put in place to help mitigate the damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

European social model: A Social Europe will be the hallmark of the Presidency and the implementation of European Pillar of Social Rights will be key for ensuring a fair and inclusive climate and digital transition. The Social Summit, to be held in May, is the cornerstone of this priority and will aim to spur political momentum for the action plan.

Future relations with the UK: While an agreement was reached on the future partnership between the UK and EU at the end of 2020, the Presidency must guide the European Parliament as well as many other stakeholders as they analyse the agreement to ensure strong partnership, in the economic, geopolitical and security fields.

Health: The unprecedented crisis precipitated by the Covid-19 pandemic has led to the necessity for a Europe-wide vaccination plan. Portugal's Presidency will support the creation of a European Health Union, which strengthens the capacity to respond to public health crises and to produce and distribute safe vaccines.

Website of the Portuguese Presidency:

Follow our colleagues @DodsEUM for all the latest updates concerning #EU2021PT.

National News

Upcoming elections 2021
Portugal – Presidential election 24 January 2021
Netherlands – General election 15-17 March 2021
Bulgaria – Parliamentary election 28 March 2021
Cyprus – Legislative election 23 May 2021
Germany – General election 26 September
Czech Republic – Legislative election 8-9 October 2021

Health Minister Tomaž Gantar has resigned after his Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) decided to leave the coalition at the end of December 2020. Prime minister Janez Janša is covering the responsibilities of the health portfolio until a successor is decided. Fellow DeSUS member, minister for agriculture Jože Podgoršek remains in his role for the time being.

Prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis completed a cabinet reshuffle on Monday. Former deputy minister for agriculture, Kostas Skrekas, has been appointed minister for energy, replacing Kostis Hatzidakis who has moved to the labour ministry.

Health minister Ilze Viņķele has resigned following a request from prime minister Krisjanis Karins. Saeima deputy and head of the faction Development/For!, Daniels Pavļuts nasominated as her successor. Pavļuts has formerly been Minister for Economics and State Secretary for Culture.

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Read the most recent articles written by Mia Bartoloni - Movers and Shakers | 16 July 2021


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