The Executive Vice-President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, who is responsible for the Green Deal, is almost guaranteed to return to the Netherlands after leaving the post.
This will happen against the backdrop of crucial events for climate policy, and a number of pressing environmental questions will remain unanswered, reports POLITICO.
It is said that Timmermans will lead the Labor and Greens alliance in the national election in November. He is expected to be a candidate for the post of Prime Minister of the Netherlands. Timmermans can return to the European Commission if he loses the election.
The material named 5 key questions that Timmermans leaves unanswered:
- What's next for the EU's climate ambitions?
It is noted that the team of the president of the EC Ursula von der Leyen must set interim climate targets for 2040 as part of the Green Deal by the end of her term.
The bloc's expert council called for a 90-95% reduction in emissions. The interim target for 2040 should be presented in the first half of 2024. However, larger environmental ambitions face resistance.
POLITICO emphasized that Timmermans' position was most significant on more ambitious actions.
- Who will replace Timmermans at the UN climate summit COP28?
The material explained that Timmermans was usually the representative of the EU at various climate summits and meetings. However, in 2023 he will run an election campaign.
POLITICO noted that Timmermans has played a significant role in previous climate conferences. He is said to be on good terms with major players such as US Representative John Kerry and China's Xie Zhenhua. Environment Commissioner Virginius Sinkevičius has no such experience. And sending an EU bureaucrat to the summit without the status of a commissioner may give the impression to other participants that the EU does not take COP28 seriously.
- Who will fight the farm lobby?
The article explained that there are ongoing disputes in the EU regarding:
- increasing the sustainability of agriculture;
- restoration of nature;
- restrictions on the use of pesticides;
- improvement of soil condition.
It is noted that a growing number of EU lawmakers from the European People's Party (EPP) are calling for the abandonment of environmental legislation affecting the industry. It was Timmermans who defended the latest Green Deal package for farmers.
- How will the EU remove carbon from the atmosphere?
POLITICO emphasized that the development of most laws is in the final stages in the European Parliament and the Council of the EU. However, the development of a strategy for the management of industrial carbon emissions, in particular the capture of CO2, which the EC must develop by the end of 2023, is not on the official list of the European Commission.
It is noted that carbon capture, utilization and storage will play an important role in the decarbonization of heavy industry, in particular steel and cement. In 2023, the European Commission set an EU-wide target of 50 million tonnes of annual CO2 storage capacity by 2030 as part of the Net Zero Industry Act.
In July, a coalition of companies and non-governmental organizations called on Timmermans to help develop the strategy.
“The text is likely to be the subject of intense lobbying, given the controversy over what role carbon capture should play. Some argue that it distracts from efforts to reduce emissions," the article says.
- Who will green the European Union?
It is noted that in mid-September von der Leyen will deliver a speech on the role of environmental issues in the final months of her tenure. However, her party is pushing the president for less ambitious environmental legislation. In the absence of Timmermans, it is unclear who will support the tightening of the policy.
POLITICO added that, in addition to the strategy for managing carbon emissions and the interim goal until 2040, there are also laws on:
- chemicals, the adoption of which has been delayed for a long time;
- forest monitoring system, which is a key factor in forest fire prevention.
We will remind you that the European Commission postponed the adoption of four key legislative acts of the Green Deal on food and biodiversity due to the opposition of the center-right European People's Party.