Category Archives: EU

New Commission media team announced

Ursula von der Leyen, endorsed as a top EU executive, announces her future media relations team:

Jens Flosdorff, a German national with 15 years’ experience in political communication, is currently part of the President-elect’s transition team. He was director of communication in the German ministries of defence and of social affairs over the past ten years. Previously, he served as deputy and chief spokesperson for the German ministry of family affairs (2005-2009) and deputy chief spokesperson for the ministry of social affairs of Lower Saxony (2004-2005). In all these positions, Jens Flosdorff worked closely with Ursula von der Leyen. Prior to his public service career, he worked as a journalist in Hannover between 2000 and 2004.

Eric Mamer, a French national, is currently Director in charge of competitiveness and the European semester in the Commission’s Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs. His 25 years of experience in the Commission span various policy areas and management and communication positions, including deputy head of cabinet of Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger (2012-2016) on energy and on digital issues, head of unit in the Directorates-General for Budget and for Communication (2005-2012), and spokesman for two European Commissioners (1999-2004).

Dana Spinant, a Romanian national, is currently director in charge of budget, communication and general affairs in the Commission’s Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy. Before that, she was a head of unit in charge of irregular migration (2015-2017) and of drugs policy (2010-2014). Prior to joining the Commission, Dana Spinant worked for 15 years in journalism, including as editor and deputy editor of European Voice (2002-2009), deputy editor of EUobserver.com (2001-2002), as well as news director and Brussels correspondent for various Romanian TV channels.

Eric Mamer and Dana Spinant will start in their new positions once the von der Leyen Commission takes office – which according to the Treaties is 1 November 2019. The current team of the Spokesperson’s Service remains in charge until the end of the mandate of the Juncker Commission.

 

 


 

La Présidente élue von der Leyen annonce la composition de sa future équipe de relations avec les médias

 

Aujourd’hui, la Présidente élue a désigné le noyau de son équipe de relations médias: Jens Flosdorff en tant que Conseiller exécutif pour la communication au sein de son cabinet, responsable des activités médiatiques de la Présidente, Eric Mamer comme porte-parole en chef de la Commission européenne, et Dana Spinant comme porte-parole en chef adjointe.

 

MEPs endorsed Lagarde for EBC chair

Christine Lagarde (France) obtained Parliament’s approval to be the European Central Bank (ECB) next president, in a plenary vote on September 17.
In the secret vote, MEPs casted 394 ballots in favour, 206 against and 49 abstentions to recommend Lagarde to head up the European Central Bank.

The European Parliament gives a non-binding opinion on whether or not a candidate is suitable to fill the role of President of the ECB, with the final decision taken by the European Council. She is due to replace the current incumbent, Mario Draghi on 1 November.

Earlier on Tuesday, the plenary held a debate on her suitability for the position.

Chrisine Lagarde’s candidature will now be put on the agenda of October’s European Council Summit.

Lagarde previously held various senior ministerial posts in the French government, and led International Monetary Fund (IMF) since 2011,  being reelected by consensus for a second five-year term, starting 5 July 2016 as the only candidate nominated for the post.

“Anti-Hungary lobby”strikes again

“The anti-Hungary, pro-migration lobby is back” reads the statement of State Secretary of Hungarian government Zoltán Kovács.

 
Certain elements in the European Parliament remain determined to make Hungary pay for staunchly opposing their pro-immigration agenda and for insisting upon defending Europe’s Schengen border. This is what today’s hearing is all about.

Following a recent initiative by Finland, which currently holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union, a representative of the Hungarian Government is due to appear at a hearing today in Brussels before an expert committee within the framework of the ongoing Article 7 procedure against Hungary.

For those who don’t recall: almost exactly one year ago, the European Parliament passed a report, drafted by former Dutch Green MEP Judith Sargentini, (pictured) on the state of Hungary’s rule of law, intent on tying EU cohesion and structural funding to an arbitrary list of “requirements”. In essence, the report regurgitates a laundry list of all the criticisms that Europe’s liberals have thrown at the Orbán Governments since 2010 – including many that Hungary has already resolved with the Commission or other European institutions and more than a few that simply do not fall under the authority of the European Union.

It’s the same left-liberal forces that now want to take revenge on Hungary for standing up against the influx of immigrants and insisting that Europe’s Schengen border be secured. They consider it dangerous and contrary to European values when we insist that the future of Europe depends on protecting our European, Christian way of life and they attempt to silence anyone who opposes their pro-immigration agenda.

“I don’t like that the European way of life is opposed to migration,” said outgoing EC President Jean-Claude Juncker in an interview last week following the announcement of the new Commission portfolios.

That betrays the Juncker Commission’s true colors. It’s an ideologically-driven agenda that the voters of Hungary have rejected more than once.

We welcome with great expectations the new Commission. Following the May European Parliamentary Elections, Hungary and the Visegrád Four have gained in strength in the bloc. As Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced last Tuesday, two of the incoming European Commission’s Vice-Presidents hail from Czech Republic and Slovakia. Meanwhile, the Polish candidate will oversee agriculture, one of the most important EU policy areas, and the Hungarian Commissioner, László Trócsányi, has been nominated to lead neighborhood policy and EU enlargement.

The tides have turned, it seems.

While we have high hopes for the new Commission and have great confidence in incoming Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, let’s not kid ourselves about the next several weeks. This period will define our relationship for the length of the next Commission’s term. We hope and have reason to believe that, unlike Jean-Claude Juncker, Ms. Leyen will understand what Prime Minister Orbán means when he says that for him, Hungarians come first.” 

 

Belgium Reynders not “aware” of inquiry

Belgium Deputy Prime Minister Didier Reynders said that he was not aware of a preliminary judicial inquiry against him following allegations of corruption and money laundering.

After a preliminary investigation, the public prosecutor must decide whether there are sufficient indications against Reynders whether or not to forward the file to the Brussels public prosecutor general, because Reynders is a Minister.

De Tijd newspaper was able to view the official report drawn up by the police about the interrogation of the former State Security agent. It states that from 1 March 2007 to 1 March 2018 the man worked for State Security, especially in the economic section. In this position, the former secret agent claims to have become acquainted with various corruption and money laundering practices through informants and research work.

In his interrogation, the ex-secret agent refers, among other things, to a series of government contracts and government purchases, such as the construction of the Belgian Embassy in Kinshasa, which, according to him, involved bribes. Among other things, he made statements about bribery by arms dealers and a Congolese election candidate.

The secret agent’s accusations were also directed against a long-standing confidant of Reynders, who was also an adviser to his cabinet.

Perhaps this is again a montage of the same evil man who keeps trying to damage,” reacts John Hendrickx, Reynders spokesperson. This month Reynders has been nominated as a EU Commissioner by Ursula von der Leyen. Along with the other candidates he is awaiting the approval of the European Parliament.

 

 

New EU Commission team announced

The new head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen named her 27-strong team on September 10, attributing to Margrethe Vestager (Denmark) the EU Competition Commissioner portfolio,  and appointing an Irishman in charge of settling future trade relations with the UK.

The team of Ursula von der Leyen  will take office on November 1, assuming they receive the approval from the European Parliament.

Von der Leyen team is closer to gender balance with 13 women and 14 men, which is an improvement vis-à-vis dominated by men Juncker‘s  Commission.

Juncker will not attend Biarritz G7

Urgent hospitalisation prevents Jean-Claude Juncker (64), the incumbent president of the European Commission from attending the G7 summit in Biarritz (France) on August 24-26, a spokesperson said. (Image: archive)

Jean-Claude Juncker a former Luxembourg Prime minister, and the chair of the Eurogroup, whose health has been the subject of widespread speculation for years, will conclude his mandate as head of the commission on October 31. He will be replaced by the German politician Ursula von der Leyen.

Juncker urgently hospitalised

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has interrupted his summer holiday in Austria to be urgently submitted to hospital to remove his gallbladder.

According to the press-release of the European Commission services, “had to shorten his holiday in Austria for medical reasons. He was taken back to Luxembourg where he will undergo an urgent cholecystectomy [surgical removal of the gallbladder].” 

Recovery from cholecystectomy might take from two up to eight weeks, dependent on the type of surgery performed in each specific case. In case of laparoscopic surgery with minor cuts, the period will take less time, than from a conventional open surgery.

Cholecystectomy removal is a relatively common and straightforward procedure. It is possible to live an active life without a gallbladder. However the multiple complications are also possible, depending to each individual situation.

The former Luxembourg Prime Minister, whose health has been a subject of numerous speculations for years, will conclude his mandate as the head of the European Commission and pass the responsibility to the German Ursula von der Leyen on October 31.

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