The European Parliament's approach to digital and cultural policy is set to be renewed with an influx of new MEPs and a shift in the balance of power of political groups. The headline is that whilst only a small number of influential MEPs on the outgoing Culture and Education (CULT), Legal Affairs (JURI) and the Industry and Research (ITRE) Committees are seeking re-election to the Parliament, those that are due to return are likely to play an integral role in shaping policy and legislation.
For instance, Birgit Sippel (S&D, DE), who is the Rapporteur on both the ePrivacy Regulation and the e-Evidence file, is running again; her chances to maintain the lead depend on what role the S&D will be able to play in the composition of the new parliament. Similarly, Angelika Niebler (EPP, DE) and Axel Voss (EPP, DE), responsible respectively for the newly-adopted Cybersecurity Act and Copyright Directive, are also standing for re-election. Sophie in ‘t Veld (ALDE, NL) and Eva Maydell (EPP, BG) are said to have a high chance of returning to their seat and as experienced MEPs will be playing leading roles
Looking at the relevant committees for the creative industries and media business, some other well-known faces such as CULT Chair Kammerevert (S&D, DE) and CULT members Adinolfi (EFDD, IT), Bocskor (EPP, HU), Bilde (ENF, FR), Dzhambazki (ECR, BG), Grammatikakis (S&D, EL), Toom (ALDE, EE), Verheyen (EPP, DE) are all running for re-election whilst Silvia Costa (S&D, IT), Julia Reda (Greens, DE), Marc Joulaud (EPP, FR), Pervenche Berès (S&D, FR), Helga Trüpel (Greens, DE), Françoise Grossetête (EPP, FR), Marietje Schaake (ALDE, NL), Lidia Geringer (S&D, PL) are amongst the MEPs not seeking another parliamentary term.
French MEPs Jean-Marie Cavada (ALDE) is not running with LREM and Virginie Rozière (S&D) is no longer on the list Place Publique, and will not seek a new mandate. Catherine Stihler (S&D, UK) had already left her seat to take on her new role as chief executive officer of Open Knowledge International, and Daniel Dalton’s (ECR, UK), whilst standing for re-election, may not be in the post for long if the UK Parliament ratifies the Withdrawal Agreement.
Only 6 members of the Intergroup on Creative Industries are sure to participate in the elections in May out of 35 current affiliates.
As for the Research and Industry Committee (ITRE), 14 members declared that they are not standing again and less than half of them have confirmed their candidature for the upcoming elections.
ITRE vice-chair Hans-Olaf Henkel, (ECR, DE) and Paul Rübig (EPP, AT) are looking for a new career outside of the European Parliament, instead. Amongst those who are seeking re-election, there are ITRE Chair Jerzy Burek (EPP, PL), Christian Ehler (EPP, DE), Dan Nica (S&D, RO), Eva Kaili (S&D, GR), Henna Virkkunen, (EPP, FI), Neoklis Sylikiotis, (GUE, CY).
Nonetheless, all Committees will have to be formed again after the elections. Therefore, it cannot be guaranteed that former members will return to their old position in the same Committee by default or by preference
Current and former Commissioners have made public their contingency plans to take a seat in the Parliament, should they not be reappointed to the EU executive body. Digital Single Market Commissioner Andrus Ansip, if elected as a MEP will be an influential legislator in all areas for technology, consumer rights and privacy issues.
Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel would like to continue her work on disinformation and fake news, either as MEP or Commissioner. Former Digital Commissioner in the Barroso Commission, Neelie Kroes although unlikely to make it to the European Parliament, is running with the Belgian Open Flemish Liberals Democrats (Open VLD).
Katarina Barley, currently Justice Minister and outspoken and critic of the Copyright Directive, is the lead candidate for the German Social Democrats.
This article has been amended since publication to note that Virginie Rozière has been confirmed not to be running for re-election.