Wednesday

19th Sep 2018

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

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join 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.

Poland to face EU top court on rule of law

The EU commission is expected to refer Poland to the EU's top court over firing supreme court judges, but Warsaw refused to commit on Tuesday that it will implement future EU court rulings.

EP triggers sanctions procedure, Hungary calls 'fraud'

The parliament launched a sanctions procedure against Hungary in an unprecedented vote that required a two-thirds majority from MEPs. Hungary is calling the vote a "fraud" and a "petty revenge" for its hardline migration policy.

EU parliament will not budge on office expenses

Hungarian centre-right MEP Livia Jaroka sticks to earlier decision: documents related to the minor reform of the expenses system, requested by EUobserver, should remain secret.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  4. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  5. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  6. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  7. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  8. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  9. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  10. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  12. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want

Latest News

  1. Real Brexit progress needed by October, Barnier says
  2. Poland to face EU top court on rule of law
  3. Austria's EU presidency: a bridge over troubled water?
  4. EU promotes 'Egypt model' to reduce migrant numbers
  5. Tensions mount over Kosovo-Serbia deal
  6. New book: Why war is coming
  7. EU parliament will not budge on office expenses
  8. Why Orban's project to reshape EU politics will be unsuccessful

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us