Movers and Shakers | 9 April 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)

09 Apr 2021

Today’s Movers & Shakers are about: The Czech MEP under internal investigation over alleged conflict of interest, details of the EU’s new executive agency, the new director-general of DG SCIC, Bulgarian election results, the latest Commission, public affairs appointments, and more!

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European Parliament

MEP News
An internal investigation is underway over an alleged conflict of interest concerning Czech MEP Jan Zahradil (ECR). Zahradil, a former candidate to become EU Commission president, is currently being probed over his connections to China as leader of the EU-China Friendship Group, a group which seek to promote cultural and economic ties between the EU and China. Zahradil is also first vice-chair of the International Trade Committee and therefore is party to EU trade decisions and sensitive negotiating documents.

European Commission

Directorates-General and Services

Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI)
Tassos Haniotis replaces Maria Angeles Benitez Salas as deputy director-general in charge of directorates A, B and C in an acting capacity.

Communications Networks, Content & Technology (CONNECT)
Thomas Skordas replaces Khalil Rouhana as deputy director-general in charge of directorates A, C, E & H in an acting capacity. Roberto Viola replaces Rouhana as deputy director-general in charge of directorates B, D, F, G & I in an acting capacity.
Michael Koenig has been appointed adviser for the Digital Markets Act.
Martin Schauer replaces Kathleen Engelbosch as head of unit R4 (Compliance & Planning) in an acting capacity.

Economic and Financial Affairs (ECFIN)
Gabriele Giudice replaces Manfred Bergmann as director of directorate F (Economies of the Member States II) in an acting capacity.
Mark Schelfhout replaces Michaela di Bucci as head of unit R4 (Control, planning and evaluation). Di Bucci had been performing the role in an acting capacity.

Health and Food Safety (SANTE)
Véronique Wasbauer, previously director of the Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency (CHAFEA), has been appointed principal adviser for noncommunicable diseases under the responsibility of deputy director-general Pierre Delsaux.
Donata Meroni has been appointed head of unit C1 (Health promotion, disease prevention, financial instruments) filling a vacant position.
Ingrid Keller has been appointed head of unit C3 (Health security) in an acting capacity.

Interpretation (SCIC)
Genoveva Ruiz Calavera is the new director-general taking over responsibilities from Carlos Alegria who was performing the role in an acting capacity. Calavera previously served as director of directorate D (Western Balkans) in DG NEAR. Of her appointment, Calavera has said "I see relations with International organisations and universities an important part of our mission. Cooperation with training institutions and Academia is crucial for the future".

Internal Audit Service (IAS)
Michelle Sutton has been appointed as principal adviser for relations with internal and external stakeholders, filling a vacant position.

Human Resources and Security (HR)
Antje Ewertz replaces Przemyslaw Slowik as head of unit A1 (Organisational Performance, Resource Allocation & Structures). Slowik had been performing the role in an acting capacity.

Secretariat-General (SG)
Karola Maxianova has been appointed head of unit D3 (Cohesion, Economic & Social Affairs) filling a vacant position.

Translation (DGT)
Seán Hade has been appointed head of the Irish language department filling a vacant position.

Council of the European Union

Permanent Representations

Michael Schmid has joined the team as justice and home affairs counsellor. Schmid was previously at Eurojust where he was vice-chair of the counter-terrorism team and member of the economic crime team.

Other EU Institutions and Agencies

European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HaDEA)
The newly created executive agency has begun its work this week. Working closely with its parent Directorate-Generals, specifically DG CNECT, DEFIS, GROW, RTD and SANTE, HaDEA will be responsible for the implementation of financial programmes such as EU4Health programme, the Digital Europe programme and parts of the research and innovation programme, Horizon Europe. The agency will manage around €20 billion over the next seven years. Matthew Hudson is the interim director.

For a full breakdown of the new organisation of HaDEA, please visit

Public Affairs

BEUC – The European Consumer Organisation
Pauline Constant has been appointed head of communications. Constant has worked at BEUC since 2013, prior to that she held several communications roles including at the European Environmental Bureau.

Current director-general, Christian Verschueren, has announced that he will be stepping down after ten years leading EuroCommerce. Verschueren will step down later this year and the Board will now start the process of finding his successor.

Jesuit European Social Centre
Luciano Larivera SJ has been appointed the new secretary for European affairs succeeding Fr. Martin Maier whose election as new director of Adveniat by the German Catholic Bishop Conference was announced last month.

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National News

Official results from Sunday’s general election show that incumbent prime minister Boyko Borissov and his party, GERB (EPP), won the most votes (26.2%) but will end up with a weaker mandate. The There is Such a People party came in second place with 17.9% followed by the socialists on 15%. It is now to be seen whether Borissov can form a coalition government and return as prime minister.

Czech Republic
Health minister Jan Blatný was dismissed on Wednesday by prime minister Andrej Babiš following repeated criticism of Blatný by the premier. Blatný is the third health minister in six months. His successor is Petr Arenberger, a hospital director in Prague.

Parliament has approved the nomination of Gediminas Šimkus as the next governor of the Bank of Lithuania. As the governor of a eurozone central bank, Šimkus will also become a member of the governing council of the European Central Bank.

President Zuzana Čaputová formally appointed Eduard Heger as the new prime minister last week, succeeding former prime minister Igor Matovič who has taken on the role of a finance minister, the role previously held by Heger.

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


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