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The Environment Committee questioned Frans Timmermans, Dutch candidate for the European Green Deal portfolio.

Political groups’ coordinators from the committee will meet tomorrow morning to assess the performance of the Commissioner-designate.

Low-carbon transition, biodiversity topics discussed

During his introductory speech Mr Timmermans said that EU policies on climate action must be centred on fairness, and spoke in favour of a dedicated “just transition fund” to support people and communities in coal-reliant regions and energy-intensive economies.

He announced that, within 100 days, a climate law will be proposed, to enshrine the 2050 carbon neutrality objective, deliver on higher ambition for 2030 and update existing climate legislation. He also said emission cuts are needed in the aviation and maritime sectors and that the scope of the European Emission Trading System (ETS) should be broadened. He called for a large reforestation project across Europe, and mentioned the possibility of a carbon border tax. Circular economy policies should also be extended to the textile and construction sectors.

MEPs put forward several questions on the cost of the low-carbon transition, the need to prevent job losses in coal regions and how to make sure that the communities and member states affected are on board for the transition. They also asked about the level of ambition regarding the 2030 emission reduction objectives and questioned Mr Timmermans on biodiversity, plastic waste, air quality and biofuels.

Members also wanted to know how the incoming transition towards a sustainable food system will be linked to the common agriculture policy.

You can watch the video recording of the full hearing here.

Press point

At the end of the hearing, the commissioner-designate held a press point outside the meeting room: watch it here

Next steps

Based on the committees’ recommendations, the Conference of Presidents will decide on 17 October if Parliament has received sufficient information to declare the hearing process closed. If so, the plenary will vote on whether or not to elect the Commission as a whole on 23 October, in Strasbourg.

The Industry and Transport committees were associated to this hearing.

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