Big questions for Arias Cañete and Juncker Commission at tonight’s Parliament hearing
Transport & Environment's statement ahead of Parliament hearing for Miguel Arias Cañete, Commissioner-designate for Climate Action and Energy. Today at 6pm Miguel Arias Cañete, Commissioner-designate for Climate Action and Energy, will be heard by Members of the European Parliament, amid strong concerns about conflicts of interest.
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The Commissioner-designate has sold his personal interests in the oil industry but his son Miguel Arias Domecq remains a board member and his brother-in-law Miguel Domecq Solís is director of both Petrolífera Dúcar and Petrologis Canaris.
This is in clear conflict with the Commission’s own code of conduct for commissioners.
Section 1.6 (Reallocation of file between Members of the Commission in case of potential conflicts of interest) reads:
“A commissioner shall not deal with matters within her/his portfolio in which s/he has any personal interest, in particular a family or financial interest which could impair her/his independence. Any Commissioner confronted with such a situation shall immediately inform the President. The President shall take any measure he considers appropriate, including the reallocation of the file to another Member of the Commission.”
Mr Cañete has confirmed that he will stick to this code of conduct:
“I will never act on issues of my portfolio in which I could have personal, familial or financial interests that could compromise my independence. If I am faced with a situation of this nature I will proceed immediately to inform the president of the Commission.”
Oil is responsible for 39% of final and primary energy consumption in the EU. Transport is almost entirely dependent on oil, and emits 31% of the EU’s CO2 emissions.
Jos Dings, Director of Transport & Environment, said: “The big question for tonight is how the Juncker Commission will deal with energy and climate policy for oil and transport – a third of his portfolio. It is clearly in need of a credible solution, especially since no – one else in the current Commission organisation chart has a remit for sustainability.”
This again highlights the importance of the Green10 demands for, inter alia, a vice-president for sustainability and widening VP Bratusek’s Energy Union portfolio into Climate Action and Energy Union.
Jos Dings added: “Now that the climate action and energy portfolios have been merged, what Europe needs is a Commissioner that is able to act decisively on the basis of the best evidence to protect both the people and our planet. With climate, and environment generally, failing to feature prominently in President-elect Juncker’s vision for the new Commission, the new Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy will need to be a true advocate, and put Europe’s interests above those of vested interests.”