Commissioner Candidate fails to impress, says Greenpeace

30 Sep 2014

Greenpeace says it is concerned about the future of the marine environment following European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella’s first Commissioner hearing.

The first of the Commissioners’ hearings scheduled over the next two weeks, Karmenu Vella’s performance “raised serious concerns” and uncertainty about the ability of President Juncker’s Commission to play its institutional role of safeguarding environmental protection and promoting sustainable development, says Greenpeace.

“The Commission started off on the wrong foot. Despite President Juncker’s commitment to put the environment at the top of his Commission’s political agenda, what we heard raises more concerns than it addresses,” said Jorgo Riss, director, Greenpeace EU.

“Mr Vella did not display a firm grasp of the dossiers he is meant to take responsibility for. He did not show understanding of the complexity of environmental issues, ranging from nature and health protection to circular economy, dodging many specific questions and giving vague and general answers,” he added.

Greenpeace added that the move from a Commissioner with dedicated responsibilities for environment to having this policy area shared with other demanding dossiers like fisheries and maritime affairs in practice relegates environmental issues in the order of political priorities.

As a result, President Juncker has been criticised by a cross-party group of MEPs for failing to structure the new Commission in such a way that sustainable development indeed gets top political attention.

A series of 27 auditions for candidate-commissioners are scheduled between 29 September and 7 October, ahead of the European Parliament’s vote on the overall Commission on 22 October.

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