Climate Defenders or Dinosaurs in Disguise?

Climate action

The hearings of Commissioner candidates in front of the European Parliament from 30 September to 8 October will test the climate credentials of the new Commission.

Commission President-elect, Ursula von der Leyen has put climate policy upfront as a top priority of the new Commission, pledging to present a European Green Deal in the first 100 days of her mandate and giving greater power to Frans Timmermans who, as the first Vice-President for the European Green Deal and as Climate Commissioner will oversee many other portfolios.

However, many of the initiatives which were included in her European Green Deal contain a lot of ambiguity. It will depend on all new Commissioners whether Von der Leyen’s promises are translated into concrete policies and measures which will scale up climate action in line with the objective to limit temperature rise to 1.5C. Worryingly, many of the proposed Commissioners, including those in the European Green Deal team, do not have a strong track record on protecting the climate.

In this media advisory, we outline benchmarks for how to assess statements of the Commissioner candidates related to climate and give information on their past, climate-related experience. It concerns 17 key Commissioner candidates: 

  • Frans Timmermans (Netherlands), European Green Deal
  • Kadri Simson (Estonia), Energy
  • Virginijus Sinkevičius (Lithuania), Environment and Oceans
  • Janusz Wojciechowski (Poland), Agriculture
  • Elisa Ferreira (Portugal), Cohesion and Reforms
  • Johannes Hahn (Austria), Budget and Administration
  • Josep Borrell (Spain), A Stronger Europe in the World
  • Jutta Urpilainen (Finland), International Partnerships
  • Phil Hogan (Ireland), Trade
  • Sylvie Goulard (France), Internal Market
  • Margrethe Vestager (Denmark), Competition
  • Valdis Dombrovskis (Latvia), Financial Services
  • Paolo Gentiloni (Italy), Economy
  • Didier Reynders (Belgium), Justice
  • Maroš Šefčovič (Slovakia), Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight
  • Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement
  • Commissioner for Transport

Media advisory on the Commissioner candidates’ tasks and views on climate



EU Parliament Scoreboard​: Protectors, Procrastinators & Prehistoric Thinkers

New in-depth data research from five leading climate and environment organisations reveals that only a minority of MEPs during the 2019 – 2024 mandate acted to protect Europe’s climate, nature and air quality. The majority of MEPs acted instead as either procrastinators or prehistoric thinkers, delaying real action with patchy and inconsistent voting records, or worse, completely failing to rise to the challenge of the crises Europe is facing.

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