Head of DEVE and AFET committees: many new faces and two former active members
Member of the European Parliament (MEPs) from the Committees on Development (DEVE) and on Foreign Affairs (AFET) elected their new chairpersons and vice-chairpersons yesterday, 10 July. It took place during the first official Committee meetings after May’s European elections. They will keep their positions for the first two and a half years of this legislative term.
Committee on Development
A newcomer, the 41-year-old Swede Tomas Tobé was elected yesterday (10 July) Chair of the Committee on Development. He was a candidate of the Moderate Party in Sweden, which belongs to the EPP Group at the European Parliament. He was also locally elected within the Gävle Municipal Council from 1998 to 2000 and sitting at the Riksdag – the Swedish national Parliament – since 2006.
Turning to Vice-Presidents, two German MEPs from the Greens family take the 2nd and 4th seats.
- 1st Vice-Chair: Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana (Greens/EFA, Germany) – born in Bamako (Mali), she was also Councillor of Erlangen (Bavaria) since 2005
- 2nd Vice-Chair: Norbert Neuser (S&D, Germany) – MEP for 10 years, he was in particular co-rapporteur on the new European Consensus on Development adopted in June 2017 and supported local authorities’ perspective
- 3rd Vice-Chair: Chrysoula Zacharopoulou (Renew Europe, France) – a gynaecologist by profession, she is a newcomer in European politics
- 4th Vice-Chair: Erik Marquardt (Greens/EFA, Germany) – the 31-year-old MEP is also a photographer and photojournalist who made several trips along the migrants’ escape routes and to Afghanistan
The next meeting of the Committee will take place in the morning of 24 July and is set to discuss the state of play of development cooperation, the 2020 budget and the future partnership with ACP countries. The Finish EU Council Presidency will also set out its priorities, in particular in humanitarian aid.
Committee on Foreign Affairs
German MEP David McAllister will continue as the Chair of European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee for the coming two and a half years. He was re-elected by acclamation.
The Committee also elected Witold Waszczykowski (ECR, Poland) as the Committee’s First Vice-Chair. He was the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Poland between 2015 and 2018.
Given the lack of women candidates for the roles of 2nd, 3rd and 4th Vice-Chairs (at least one should occupy these seats), the President decided to postpone the vote to a forthcoming meeting. Among the announced candidates were outgoing Estonian MEP Urmas Paet (RE), the former Prime Minister of Bulgaria (2005-2009) Sergei Stanishev (S&D) and the former President of Romania (2004-2014) Traian Basescu (EPP).
Marlène Siméon, Director of PLATFORMA, welcomed the election of the new Heads of European Parliament Committees. “I’m convinced that we will find new allies within both Committees to defend the central role of towns and regions in development cooperation, to build sustainable territories with peers in the world,” she said.
She also welcomed the fact that AFET MEPs recognised the need to respect the Rule of Procedure 213 of the European Parliament, which states that “the diversity of Parliament must be reflected in the composition of the bureau of each committee; it shall not be permissible to have an all-[…] male bureau”.
European Parliament Committees deal with legislative proposals, appoint negotiating teams to conduct talks with EU ministers, adopt reports, organise hearings and scrutinise other EU bodies and institutions.