Wednesday

29th Jun 2022

Greens write letter of complaint over new Spanish commissioner

  • The Spanish nominee is in the Greens' line of fire (Photo: La Moncloa Gobierno de España)

The Green faction in the European Parliament has written to incoming European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker to raise concerns about the Spanish nominee for his team.

The letter notes there are "mounting concerns and criticism" about Miguel Arias Canete, who is slated to take on the energy and climate action portfolio.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

It says that while Canete's "direct links" to the oil industry were severed when he sold his shares in two companies (Petrolifera Ducar and Petrologis Canaris) earlier this month, it is "still insufficient evidence for him to be able to claim to 'avoid the slightest notion of potential conflict of interest'."

"His wife, son and brother in law all remain as either shareholders or board members of these companies," it continues.

The letter also draws attention to the fact that Spanish media and NGOs have raised "serious suspicions that these personal and family interests have been partly hidden, through tax-evasion mechanisms".

The Green group, which is the second smallest of the seven factions in the parliament, with 50 MEPs, asks Juncker whether he was aware of the Spaniard's potential conflict of interest and how he will ensure Canete's independence is "actually beyond doubt".

The letter comes just ahead of the European Parliament's hearings of all commissioners, beginning next week.

MEPs do not have the power to veto individual commissioner candidates but won the de facto right back in 2004 when they forced a change of the Italian and Latvian nominees.

Canete's name has popped up several times as someone who may face problems due to his shares in the oil energy. He tried to pre-empt any trouble by selling them on 18 September.

But the Greens and other pro-environment MEPs were set to give anyone in the post a tough grilling, as the portfolio merges energy and climate action, which critics say already represents a downgrading of environment in the Juncker commission.

Canete is due to be heard on Wednesday (1 October) by the industry and environment committees - two power committees which often have strongly differing views on proposed EU legislation.

The hearings as a whole kick off on Monday with the incoming trade commissioner, Cecilia Malmstrom, one of the first in the hot seat.

MEPs are expected to pay particular attention to the seven vice-presidents, who will have extra oversight powers, to work out exactly how they will wield them.

Frans Timmermans, the Dutch commissioner, who is to be the 'first' vice-president will have a special hearing with all political group leaders as his job - to curb red-tape and maintain inter-institutional relations - will cut across all departments.

Juncker's economic balancing act

Even Jean-Claude Juncker’s critics would agree that the new Commission president is a skilled deal-maker.

Spain's Canete entangled in EP political battle

A stormy EP hearing with Spain’s Canete on Wednesday ended with the Socialists seeking a delay on his approval, as part of a bigger confrontation between political groups.

EU opens door to Ukraine in 'geopolitical' summit

EU leaders will also discuss eurozone issues with European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde, as more and more leaders are worried about voters' distress at soaring inflation.

Opinion

The euro — who's next?

Bulgaria's target date for joining the eurozone, 1 January 2024, seems elusive. The collapse of Kiril Petkov's government, likely fresh elections, with populists trying to score cheap points against the 'diktat of the eurocrats', might well delay accession.

News in Brief

  1. Bulgaria expels 70 alleged Russian spies
  2. EU Commission told to improve CAP data analytics
  3. Scotland pushes for second independence vote in 2023
  4. Climate groups: G7 leaders 'backsliding' on climate
  5. Ukraine diplomat urges German MEPs to reject EU taxonomy
  6. EU asylum requests were climbing before Ukraine war
  7. Public sector journalists protest Macron tax plan
  8. EU engine ban splits Germany's coalition

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  2. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  4. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022
  5. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBHow price increases affect construction workers
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic think tank examines influence of tech giants

Latest News

  1. EU presidency still looking for asylum relocation pledges
  2. Finland and Sweden to join Nato, as Erdoğan drops veto
  3. The euro — who's next?
  4. One rubicon after another
  5. Green crime-fighting boss urgently required, key MEP says
  6. G7 leaders want price cap on Russian oil
  7. Western public has 'moral' duty to Ukraine, Nato chief says
  8. Kiwis are my slavery — the hellish life of a Sikh labourer in Italy

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us