Šefčovič and Bulc talk the talk in hearings but now need to deliver on climate
In the two European Parliament hearings, which were clearly designed to avoid undue controversy, both Commissioners-designate Maroš Šefčovič and Violeta Bulc displayed a good grasp of their briefs but stayed clear of strong statements, let alone concrete commitments.
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Vice-president designate Šefčovič, just like in his hearing for the transport portfolio, followed an ‘all of the above’ strategy, praising energy demand-side measures just as much as supply-side ones, and highlighting climate concerns as much as energy ones.
Commissioner-designate Bulc did much the same; all transport modes are important but so is the environment. She said the ‘user pays’ and ‘polluter pays’ principles are important to her, but at one point she also stated that she loved flying and refused to commit on action to address this most polluting, as well as under-taxed, transport mode. These statements leave it very unclear where she wants to take EU transport policy.
T&E senior policy officer, William Todts, said: “Ms Bulc performed solidly and made some promising noises on reducing Europe’s oil dependence, greening transport and expanding road tolls. If she pushes for a transition to sustainable electric mobility, including tough vehicle fuel-efficiency standards for 2025, quickly pulls the Eurotoll proposal out of her desk-drawer, and moderates her love for flying to regional airports, she’ll have made a good start.”
T&E energy programme manager, Nusa Urbancic, said: “Mr Sefcovic made it quite clear he understands the twin challenges of climate change and Europe’s dangerous dependence on imported fossil fuels very well. It’s one more reason his job title should be expanded to ‘Vice President for Climate Action and Energy Union’. We hope he will tackle energy efficiency as enthusiastically as he promoted it in the hearing and will not forget vehicles while doing so.”