The new European Commission has tasked Frans Timmermans to oversee the development of a European Green Deal as the bloc bids to become the world’s first climate-neutral continent.
Dutch social democrat
Frans Timmermans was nominated yesterday by European Commission president-elect
Ursula von der Leyen to coordinate the European Green Deal and to manage
climate action policy.
In announcing Mr
Timmermans’ nomination, Ms
von der Leyen expressed her intention for the European Green Deal to become
“Europe’s hallmark” and saw it as a “long-term economic imperative”.
follows a promise from Ms von der Leyen to present a Green Deal for Europe within
100 days of taking office on 1 November.
In Mr Timmermans’ dual
role, he will also coordinate the new Just Transition Fund and the Biodiversity
Strategy for 2030 and he will also work on transport and sustainable
food. Prior to his nomination, Mr Timmermans led the EU’s commitment to
the UN Sustainable Development Goals. .
Ms von der Leyen has made various commitments for climate action, including a climate-neutral EU by 2050, a carbon border tax, and a 2030 emission reduction target of at least 50 per cent.
“For both climate and
the environment, the next five years will be crucial, so we welcome all efforts
to deliver an ambitious Green Deal,” European Environmental Bureau (EEB)
Secretary General Jeremy Wates said in response to Mr Timmermans’
However, the EEB
remains “concerned” at the lack of green credentials of some of the new
candidates put forward in the Commission.
Director of Friends of
the Earth Europe Jadoga Munic also shared this concern, finding that “almost
none of the proposed Commissioners” have a strong track record on climate
protection, calling on the European Parliament to push nominees to prove their
climate credentials in upcoming hearings.
stressed that Ms von der Leyen’s plan “falls short of what science demands”,
saying that while she sells “her set of commissioners as a green dream team”,
what she has laid out is not yet adequate.
“To limit climate
breakdown and avoid ecological collapse – and to do it fairly – we need a
reordering of all sectors of Europe’s economy so that they work for nature and
people, from energy to transport, and farming to fisheries,” Greenpeace EU
Deputy Director Magda Stoczkiewicz said.
Citing IPCC research,
Greenpeace has called on Ms von der Leyen to present plans to reduce greenhouse
gas emissions by at least 65 per cent by 2030 and set her sights on net zero
emissions by 2040.
Birdlife Europe has called
Ms von der Leyen’s proposed Commission a “promising Green Start”, and applauded
her for “giving real power” to Mr Timmermans and for “putting teeth” into her
European Green Deal promises.
Europe and other European NGOs have been very critical of Ms von der Leyen’s
proposal of a “One in, One Out Rule”, which proposes that for every legislative
proposal creating a new burden, it should relieve people and businesses of an
equivalent existing burden at the EU level in the same policy area.
“Saving our planet cannot be a zero-sum game,” Birdlife Europe has said, calling on members of the European Parliament to “get rid of this failed idea”.