The new European Commission has today been accepted by the European Parliament but was voted against by many MEPs, including the UK’s three Green MEPs.
The Greens/EFA political group in the Parliament opposed the appointment of the entire Commission. Two of the appointments causing concern for the UK’s Green MEPs is that of Miguel Arias Canete, a former Spanish minister who has family ties to the oil industry. Canete was dubbed “senor petrol head” by The Sunday Times and was today appointed Commissioner for the position of Climate and Energy. Another is the appointment of Lord Hill of Oareford, but the Greens’ criticism go beyond individual Commissioners.
Jean Lambert, Green MEP for London, said:
‘We have seen the cost of growing inequality across the EU and we are beginning to appreciate the true cost of ignoring climate change. With a global climate deal due in 2015, I am not convinced that this new Commission can face the challenges before us. I cannot see the joined-up thinking needed to lead the EU on a more just and sustainable path, so I voted “no”.’
Keith Taylor, Green MEP for the South East, said:
‘The appointment of an oil baron with past and present links to the fossil fuel industry as Climate Commissioner makes a mockery of European politics. Europe’s response to climate change is of global importance, but this appointment inspires no confidence.’
Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the South West, concluded:
‘The withdrawal of responsibility for bankers’ bonuses from Lord Hill’s portfolio demonstrates why he is entirely inappropriate for this role. The only way that he could be acceptable as European Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union is if everything that the UK Government opposes in terms of financial regulation were removed from his brief, which would leave him nothing to do.’