Power-sharing puzzle solved: Who will chair parliamentary committees?

The sight of Boris Johnson's government 'going rogue' is a reminder that EU institutions offer citizens a place to go when domestic governments deny their rights, argues Roger Casale. [DOSSMANN/EP]

EURACTIV has pieced together the names of already designated and potential candidates for chairing the European Parliament’s 20 committees and two sub-committees, before their formal election on Wednesday (10 July).

On Wednesday afternoon, each committee will hold a constitutive meeting and elect a chair and up to four vice-chairs, who will together form the committee Bureau.

All the names below are provisional until confirmed, as a candidate informally assigned to chair a committee can still be voted down by the same members.

On top of that, some political groups still haven’t confirmed their proposed candidates and have until Wednesday morning to do so.

Some of the outgoing committee presidents should be re-appointed by their political group, like the Italian socialist Roberto Gualtieri at the Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) and the German David McAllister at Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET), which is usually taken by the CDU delegation in the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP).

Both socialists and democrats (S&D) and EPP very much wanted these two committees, which were claimed as their first picks when the groups first started discussing the political carve-up of high-level roles in the next Parliament.

New European Parliament starts solving its power-sharing puzzle

Political groups in the new European Parliament have started carving up the top jobs ahead of next week’s inaugural session. At an internal meeting held on Wednesday (26 June), each political group stated their first choices for positions of chairs …

French lawmaker Karima Delli for the Greens will probably be re-elected as head of the Transport Committee (TRAN), while the former Spanish justice minister Juan Fernando López Aguilar should make his comeback as president of the Civil Liberties (LIBE) committee, which he already chaired in the seventh legislative term.

Romania’s Adina-Ioana Vălean will move from chairing the Environment Committee (ENVI) to the ‘rival’ Industry and Energy Committee (ITRE), also targetted by Parliament’s ex-president Antonio Tajani, who will instead get the Constitutional Affairs Committee (AFCO).

An EPP source said the first internal choice was up to the Romanian delegation within the group, much bigger than the Italian one.

The ID’s loot

Following the d’Hondt method and the proportionality principle, two committee presidencies were assigned to the newly formed nationalist group Identity and Democracy (ID).

The group will propose Czech Ivan David, a psychiatrist and former health minister in his country, as head of the Agriculture Committee (AGRI) and French law professor Gilles Lebreton from Le Pen’s party as head of the Legal Affairs Committee (JURI).

Although an ID source voiced hope that the democratic principle will be respected in the appointment of Parliament’s top jobs, it’s highly likely that the ID will not get any of them.

The most relevant political groups have already applied the so-called cordon sanitaire against far-right last week, preventing them from taking a Parliament vice-presidency, and they are willing to do the same for others key posts in the committees.

MEPs to block Le Pen's party from taking Parliament jobs

Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National and its allies are facing protest from the European Parliament’s political groups, who are refusing to involve the French far-right party in a process that will decide on the Parliament’s key positions. EURACTIV France reports.

The ID’s loot,  which other groups will probably split among them, also includes one first vice-chair (AFCO), four second vice-chairs (ECON, INTA, LIBE, CONT) and four fourth vice-chairs (ITRE, REGI, TRAN, PECH).

At first, S&D and EPP seemed to carve up the two contested presidencies, but there has been a change of plan after socialist David Sassoli was elected president of the Parliament.

A source confirmed to EURACTIV a new agreement in the ruling coalition providing that the EPP will take the presidency of AGRI committee for two and a half years, while the liberals of Renew Europe (RE) will chair JURI committee in the same time period.

For AGRI, it will be a two-man race between the Italian Herbert Dorfmann and the former Spanish Interior minister and Mayor of Seville Juan Ignacio Zoido.

Odds have lengthened for the Spanish, as the more experienced MEP Dorffmann recently fought hard with German Norbert Lins to become group coordinator in the committee, but was defeated.

The only hope for socialist best man Paolo De Castro to get the job is if the EPP does not come up with a sole candidature and ends up split, but that seems a long shot.

Among the four liberals appointed to the JURI committee, Danish Karen Melchior, British Lucy Nethsingha, Dutch Liesje Schreinemacher and French Stéphane Séjourné, the latter seems to have the best opportunity to be the candidate for RE.

Séjourné was a former advisor to Emmanuel Macron while Macron was economy minister, and remained one of his closest collaborators when he became French president.

New faces

Credible rumours suggest the liberals will go for the former head of French WWF branch Pascal Canfin at Environment ENVI committee, while Macron’s right-hand Nathalie Loiseau has confirmed to EURACTIV she will run for the security and defence sub-committee (SEDE).

UK lib-dem Chris Davies confirmed to EURACTIV that his group RE will rely on him to become the boss of Fisheries Committee (PECH), despite the prospect of the UK leaving after 31 October.

The conservatives of the ECR made their proposed names public, presenting two respectable heavyweight MEPs in order to avoid any exclusion. Former Polish prime minister Beata Szydło will likely head the Employment Committee (EMPL), while former finance minister of Belgium, Johan Van Overtveldt, will be at the helm of the crucial budgets committee (BUDG).

Two other German MEPs will be proposed by the EPP, namely the lawmaker from the Bavarian branch of Christian-democrats (CSU) Monika Hohlmeier for the Budgetary Control (CONT) and Sabine Verheyen or Culture Committee (CULT), who was group coordinator in that committee before and co-rapporteur on the audio-visual media services directive.

Tomas Tobé, former secretary of Swedish Moderate Party, at the Development Committee (DEVE) and former Spanish health minister Dolors Montserrat at Petitions Committee (PETI) are the last two appointments available for the EPP.

Former Romanian President Traian Basescu (EPP) will get the fourth vice-presidency of AFET committee, while experienced MEPs Janusz Lewandowski and Luděk Niedermayer should be elected vice-chairs of BUDG and ECON committees, respectively.

Socialists will also claim a high-level role for Austrian MEP Evelyn Regner, who should chair the Gender Equality Committee (FEMM), and for Belgian Maria Arena, who will get the presidency of Human Rights sub-committee (DROI).

Leftists of GUE/NGL will propose the Reunionese Younous Omarjee as the chair of the REGI Committee, while Greens will propose newly-elected Belgian doctor Pedra de Sutter as chair of Internal market and consumer protection (IMCO).

Hannah Archambault, Kasey Baiter, Alexandra Brzozowski and Sam Morgan contributed to this article.

[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]

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