Incoming EU climate and energy chief faces rising opposition as MEPs prepare to question his appointment
By Ed King
More than 270,000 people have signed a petition calling for MEPs to block the appointment of Miguel Arias Cañete as EU climate and energy commissioner.
The former Spanish environment minister faces criticism for his linked to fossil fuel producers. Recently he sold off shares in two oil companies: Petrolifera Ducar and Petrologis Canaris.
Later this afternoon Cañete will face questions from MEPs. While Parliament cannot block individual appointments it can make recommendations to Jean-Claude Juncker, incoming commission president.
Hosted by campaign site Avaaz, the petition calls on members of the members of the Social Democrat and Liberal parties at the EP to reject Cañete.
“In hours a Spanish oil ‘baron’ could be chosen as our European Commissioner on Climate. And only we can stop this shocking appointment,” it says.
Cañete’s role is seen as critical given he is set to take the energy and climate portfolios, which were previously separate.
The EU’s 28 member states are currently engaged in delicate negotiations over a package of energy and climate reforms for the next two decades.
These will be overseen by the current set of commissioners, but it will be down to their replacements to ensure they are implemented.
British MEP Jude Kirton-Darling said she “questioned” the suitability of a candidate with long-standing links to oil and gas producers.
“We need a Commissioner willing to build on our targets for a sustainable future with less dependence on fossil fuel,” she wrote on facebook.