The appointment of Donald Tusk as President of the European Commission, sees Ewa Kopacz become the second female Polish Prime Minister. She has promoted Schelyna, the speaker of Parliament to Foreign Minister ; this despite his limited experience in the area.
A dissatisfied Schelyna, who was Tusk’s main opponent within the Civic Platform, is calling for an internal party leadership election. The real test of Kopacz’s capacity to successfully lead them, is in November when local elections are to be held.
The Catalan Parliament presses ahead with their intended “consultation” on independence for the region. This will force the Spanish Government into court to endeavour to prevent the process taking place. Should the “consultation” proceed, it will be interesting to see if it is any more successful than Scotland’s attempt to break away from the UK.
The newly elected Minister-President of the Flemish Parliament has expressed the view that Europe is too big, and is seeking greater subsidiarity, stating that the EU’s urge to regulate everything must be controlled.
Ukrainian separatist are proposing elections later this year to provide legitimacy to their cause. President Poroshenko pulled back the Ukrainian forces, creating a 30km buffer zone as agreed with the separatists, which seemed to signal an acceptance of the ceding of the eastern segment of the country. He also set out a programme of reform last week to prepare the country to make an application for EU membership in 2020. While President Putin wrote to the EU warning that if the current Ukraine-EU association agreement is actioned, that Russia’s immediate retaliatory measures will commence. Parliament commences the new Commissioner hearings, as Nessa Childers has Big Phil clearly in her sights, but most pundits are of the view that, while he may have an uncomfortable couple of hours at the hands of MEPs, there is little doubt but that he will survive. The main focus will be on Timmermans, who is Juncker’s first Vice President. As some MEPs are critical of the proposed reorganisation of the Commission, particularly in areas of healthcare and the environment with the Industry Commissioner taking responsibility for pharmaceutical policy, while the environment seems to have suffered a down grade. This hearing, which is open to all MEPs, will provide the platform to allow members the opportunity to show their displeasure.