European Parliament approves new green policy chiefs after stall

European Parliament approves new green policy chiefs after stall

ENVI ITRE AFET DEVE — Hearing of Wopke HOEKSTRA, Commissioner-designate for Climate Action

The European Parliament approved required additional time before approving the candidates to helm of European Union’s green policies, seeking reassurances over the Commission’s commitments to push on with green measures despite political pushback.

The environment committee of the parliament on Tuesday provisionally blocked the appointment of former Dutch foreign minister Wopke Hoekstra as head of climate change policy and of Vice-President of the Commission Maros Sefcovic as EU Commissioner for coordination of green policies. It required additional hearings on Wednesday in order to test their commitment to push forward with green policies.

The committee required additional clarity from the two appointees over the Commission’s plans on several measures promised but not yet finalised. Among others, the measures include restrictions on harmful chemicals, microplastics pollution, animal welfare.

In addition, former Slovak diplomat Sefcovic was questioned over commitment to defend the EU position in the war in Ukraine, in the aftermath of pro-Russia Robert Fico’s victory in last week general election.

The two will inherit the portfolio of Frans Timmermans after his resignation in August in order to focus on national election in the Netherlands. The roles will be on until the next EU elections in May 2024.

Hoekstra pledged to push to set a new goal for slashing 90% of net greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, while Sefcovic assured that he will work for a clearer timeline for the EU green targets.

The two politicians will be confirmed on Thursday with a final vote.

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