The appointment of the Dutch climate commissioner irritates the left in the midst of the PP’s battle against the green agenda

The European left has bared its claws at the Netherlands following the decision of the outgoing prime minister, the liberal Mark Rutte, to appoint the acting foreign minister, the conservative Wopke Hoekstra, to fill the vacancy left by Frans Timmermans in the European Commission. The dance of chairs has begun in the government chaired by Ursula von der Leyen in the final stretch of her term. Timmermans has been the last to formalize his resignation to lead a progressive candidacy in the state elections next November.

The European Parliament saves a key law from the green agenda despite the PP revolt against the Brussels initiative


Rutte’s appointment, which has been endorsed as a mere formality by Von der Leyen, represents to a certain extent an alteration of forces in the College of Commissioners, since the gap that until now was occupied by a social democrat will be handed over, if it receives the approval of the European Parliament, to a member of the European PP. “After consultations within the Government and with the president of the European Commission, I have decided to propose Wopke Hoekstra as a candidate,” Rutte said in a statement. He thus awards Christian Democratic Call (CDA), one of the members of the coalition that has accompanied him in recent years in a Government also composed of the Popular Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), Democrats 66 (D66 ) and Christian Union (CU).

Von der Leyen endorsed the candidacy of his co-religionist after meeting with him on Tuesday. The President of the European Commission praised his “great motivation for the position” and his “great commitment to the EU” as arguments to add him to the club of commissioners.

However, Hoekstra’s experience in the European institutions has not been without controversy. As Finance Minister, a position he held between 2017 and 2022, he was in charge of showing the financial rigidity of the Netherlands and did not hesitate to charge against the southern countries, especially against Spain and Italy, on which he requested an investigation of public coffers. , and resisted the plan of the European funds when negotiations began in the worst of the pandemic. In fact, he did not rule out new cuts against the policy of expanding spending with which the EU has responded to the coronavirus crisis, first, and the war in Ukraine, later. His position caused cracks in the Dutch coalition and drew harsh criticism from some partners, including the Portuguese Prime Minister, Antònio Costa, who called his attitude “disgusting.” “This recurring pettiness threatens the future of the EU,” warned the Portuguese socialist leader.

Beyond the Dutch chair, Timmermans had a specific weight in the European Commission as vice president that was the result of the negotiations of the 27 after the 2019 European elections. Part of the agreement assumed that the one who had been the candidate of the Social Democrats would have a special relevance and assume the European Green Deal package, which has been one of the main policies of the von der Leyen cabinet. That portfolio will remain in the hands of the Czech Maroš ŠefÄ oviÄ, as Von der Leyen has promised the Social Democratic family. Hoekstra’s powers will be limited to Climate Action.

However, the appointment has set off alarm bells among the progressive forces in the European Parliament at a time when the leadership of the European PP has rebelled against the green agenda promoted by the European Commission. The group led by the German Manfred Weber joined forces with those of the extreme right – and part of the liberals – to try to overthrow the nature restoration law, which aims to recover damaged ecosystems in the coming years. However, the division in their own ranks made it possible to save the processing of the norm, which the European Parliament will now have to negotiate with the governments of the 27.

Hence, the Social Democrats have demanded that coordination under the umbrella of the 'Green Deal' stay in your hands. Despite having achieved the commitment of Von der Leyen, from the group led by the Spanish Iratxe García they warn that “the nomination as commissioner does not make you a commissioner” and recall that you have to submit to the examination of the corresponding parliamentary commissions: first in Legal Affairs to assess your financial interests for conflicts of interest and then Environment to test your overall competence, European commitment, personal independence, climate portfolio knowledge and communication skills.

“To obtain the support of our group, any appointed commissioner must demonstrate without a doubt his commitment to European values, such as solidarity as a cornerstone of our Union,” warn the Social Democrats, who for the moment question whether Hoekstra gives the profile.

The Greens also doubt the suitability of the candidacy for a position that “requires leading international climate negotiations and the next European debate on climate objectives for 2040.” “With this portfolio he will have to reposition himself in a European climate investment agenda,” warns MEP Bas Eickhout, who reproaches that his attitude towards southern countries was “the worst” and that, as Minister of Finance, he failed precisely “to show a European vision of Europe’s investment needs”.

The left-wing group has reproached Rutte for appointing a conservative candidate to replace a Social Democrat and they take the questioning of his climate commitments further by recalling that he was “an employee of Shell”, the energy company.

“Hoekstra’s most important European achievement consists in intensely insulting Italians during the COVID crisis. Plus, he’s not exactly a climate advocate. What makes him so suitable as a candidate?” Dutch Liberal MEP Sophia In’T Veld asked on Twitter.

The warnings are not trivial since there are precedents that the European Parliament has knocked down candidates proposed by the member states and endorsed by the corresponding presidents of the community executive. The first setback dates back to 2004, when MEPs rejected Silvio Berlusconi’s ultra-conservative candidate, Rocco Buttiglione, as Commissioner for the Interior and Justice. In 2019, there were it’s not from Parliament to candidates from Hungary, Romania and France.

The departure of Timmermans is not the first by the von der Leyen cabinet. Less than a year before the European elections, the European Parliament also has to evaluate Iliana Ivanova, Bulgaria’s commitment as head of innovation, research, culture, education and youth after the resignation in May of Mariya Gabriel to be part of the Government of your country.

The next position that may become vacant is that of Competition, whose commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, is a candidate to preside over the European Investment Bank (EIB). The Danish started as a favorite until the announcement of the economic vice president, Nadia Calviño, who is opting for the same position. Finance ministers will decide at the next meeting in mid-September. Vestager is, for now, in an interim situation in the community government awaiting what happens at that meeting in Santiago de Compostela at a time when in Brussels they have largely activated the “campaign mode” 039;.

The News Glory

The News Glory

The News Glory is one of the best news providers in India, we bring you stories on world news, India News, Business, Politics, Technology, Gadgets, Finance and Entertainment. Follow us for special features.

Related Posts


Editors Pick