Green NGOs call on MEPs to ‘reject’ new Commission

European Parliament should reject Juncker’s environmentally unsustainable Commission, Green NGOs say

Commissioner-designate Karmenu Vella (Photo: EP/Flickr)
Commissioner-designate Karmenu Vella (Photo: EP/Flickr)

Following the hearings of the EU Commissioner-Designates in front of the European Parliament, the Green 10 Coalition reiterated its strong  concern  over  President Elect Jean-Claude Juncker’s  attempt  to “downgrade the environment in Europe” and called on the European Parliament to reject the Commission.

The coalition brings together ten of the largest environmental organisations and networks active on the European level and represent over 20 million people in Europe alone. It coordinates joint responses and recommendations to EU decision makers. 

“We believe the  European Parliament must reject the Commission  unless rigorous changes  of mandates, job  titles  and  re-allocation  of posts are  made along  the  lines indicated by the Green 10 in the letter to the Conference of Presidents and Conference of Chairs on 3 October.”

 Malta’s own commissioner-designate, Karmenu Vella, who has been entrusted with the environment portfolio, failed to impress Europe's main environmental groups and Birdlife Europe’s head of EU Policy Ariel Brunner described Vella’s performance as “vague, evasive and often inaccurate.”

The NGOs warned MEPs that EU citizens and their representatives can only accept a Commission that takes seriously environmental sustainability, people’s health and much needed  transformation of Europe’s economy.

 “As put forward in our open letter to President Schulz the Green 10 deplore that the structure  of the new European Commission, the mission letters, and the choice of Commissioners reveal a roll-back of existing EU commitments on sustainable development, resource efficiency, health, air quality, biodiversity protection and climate action.”

In a statement issued today, the coalition said “despite the explicit requests  made by the European Parliament through its President Schulz to President-elect Juncker, prior to the hearings, during the hearings itself and in follow up to the hearings, no changes have been made.”

 The NGOs added that “some very unconvincing arguments have been put forward against making changes, such as that no-one needs to be given responsibility for sustainable development because it is everyone’s responsibility. That is not overcoming silo thinking, it is naïve at best.”

The Green 10 said that the  misrepresentation  of the  7th   Environmental  Action Programme  (7EAP) as a

‘guidance’ to the new Commission of which only ‘relevant’ elements need to be ‘monitored’ as part of the European Semester process was “simply unacceptable as the 7EAP is a legally binding commitment that  was negotiated and agreed by Commission, Member States and European Parliament little over a year ago.”

In a strongly worded statement, the Green NGOs said President-elect Juncker cannot ignore these legally binding commitments or the voices of the democratically elected body of the EU.

The Green 10 reminded MEPs that as the latest Eurobarometer results show, 95% of the polled citizens said that protecting the environment is important to them personally and that more should be done.

“It shows that a solid majority of citizens support EU environmental legislation and asks for more forceful implementation. It shows no public demand for environmental deregulation.”