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Grave concerns on the future of environmental health in Juncker’s new Commission

Following the hearings of the EU Commissioner-Designates in front of the European Parliament, the Green10 coalition voiced its strong concern over President-Elect Juncker’s attempt to downgrade the environment in Europe and asks the European Parliament to reject the Commission.

HEAL, the Green10 and other Brussels-based organisations rang the alarm bell about the future of environmental health protection and the protection of future generations from environmental threats under the new EU Commission. The structure of the new EU Commission, as presented on 10 September by President-elect Jean Claude Juncker, revealed a serious downgrading of the environment and a roll back of existing EU commitments to sustainable development, resource efficiency, air quality, biodiversity protection and climate action.

After numerous Green10 statements and advocacy work on the new EU Commission (see below), there have been reports of official and unofficial promises to add ‘sustainability’ to the portfolio of First Vice-President Timmermans, together with oversight of climate and energy policy. Despite this, no concrete changes have been made in that direction. Nor have any other proposals put forward by MEPs, the Environment Committee and by President Schulz been translated into concrete revision of the political guidelines, the mission letters and overall set up of Juncker’s Commission line-up. This is deeply regrettable.

Concerns remain over Juncker Commission’s commitment to environment

22 October 2014, With today’s newly elected EU Commission by the European Parliament, a new political phase begins in the European Union. The Green 10 calls on President Juncker and his team of Commissioners to give European citizens, and their future generations, a healthy, inclusive and environmentally sound place to live.

Press statement available here

Incoming European Commission must heed EU citizens’ call for a sustainable economy and environmental protection

16 October 2014 The Green10 have written an open letter to President-elect Juncker expressing that no concrete changes have been made concerning the structure, mandate and composition of the new European Commission, despite proposals being put forward by MEPs, the Environment Committee, EP President Schulz and supported by the Green 10.

Letter available here

President-elect Juncker ignores EU citizens and Parliament’s call for a sustainable economy and environmental protection

16 October 2014 The Green10 have written an open letter to President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz highlighting that his proposals put forward in a letter to President-elect Juncker, and supported by a large number of MEPs and by the Green10 have led so far to a revision of the mission letters and to the new Commission set up.

Letter available here

President-elect Juncker must do more than a vague commitment to ‘sustainability’

10 October 2014, The Green 10 welcomes reports that ’sustainability’ has been added to the portfolio of First Vice-President designate Frans Timmermans, together with oversight of climate an d energy policy. However, the Green10 call on the European Parliament to obtain full clarification and clear commitments from President-elect Juncker regarding these changes.

Green10 statement here

European Parliament should reject Juncker’s environmentally unsustainable Commission

7 October 2014, After following the hearings of the EU Commissioner-Designates in front of the European Parliament, the Green10 Coalition confirms its strong concern over President-Elect Juncker’s attempt to downgrade the environment in Europe and asks the European Parliament to reject the Commission.

Green10 reaction here
Press statement here

Green 10 open letter to Frans Timmermans, designated Vice-President for Better Regulation

29 September 2014, The Green10 wrote to the Vice-President designate for better regulation to convey our concerns and proposals ahead of the confirmation hearing at the European Parliament.

Letter available here

Green10 welcome reception for MEPs

24 September 2014, The Green10 hosted a welcome reception for MEPs in the European Parliament to mark the beginning of a collaboration over the next five years. As the reception took place just a few days before the hearings in front of the Parliament, this was a key opportunity for the Green10 to express its concerns over the new Commission.

Photos are available here

Open Letter to President-elect Juncker on the move of pharmaceuticals and medical devices

16 September 2014, a letter signed by 28 health and consumer organisations, including HEAL, was sent to Mr Juncker to reconsider moving pharmaceuticals and medical devices from DG SANCO to DG Enterprise.

The letter is available here

Why the European Parliament should block Jean-Claude Juncker’s attempt to undermine the EU’s environmental policies

Appeal available here - EN - ES - FR- DE
Press release available here - EN

15 September 2014, the Green 10 appealed to the European Parliament to block the Juncker Commission in its current structure and put forward a list of formal requests. As a minimum the Parliament must demand to:

1. Establish a Vice-President for Sustainability, coordinating the environment, fisheries, agriculture and regional policy portfolios. This would allow a proper space for environmental and resource efficiency policies. In addition to that the Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness needs to mainstream environment in his agenda explicitly.

2. Upgrade the Vice-President for Energy Union to a Vice-President for ‘Climate Action and Energy Union’ and have this reflected in her mandate. This would mean that the Commission representative within the international climate negotiations would have a clear mandate to address the climate crisis. Furthermore climate action should become a cornerstone for the work of all eight members of the Project Team for a Resilient Energy Union and a forward-looking Climate Change Policy.

3. Ensure the Environment portfolio is reinstated, restoring its competences and providing the Commissioner with a new mandate to respect the European Parliament’s work and implement the 7th EAP. The Parliament must furthermore demand that the mandate to the environment Commissioner to weaken the Nature Directives is replaced with an instruction to strongly implement nature conservation legislation and to work to achieve the EU 2020 biodiversity target. He should also continue to give priority to protecting people’s health by strengthening, not weakening key legislation on air quality and chemicals, and move the responsibility for biocides and pesticides back to DG ENV.

4. Resolve potential conflicts of interest for the nominees, and notably for the Climate and Energy portfolio.

New Commission sidelining environment

11 September 2014 The Green10 wrote an open letter to Mr Juncker to express grave concerns over the direction the EU seems to be taking following the announcement of his new team.

The letter is available here in English and Spanish

The Green 10 top ten demands for the new European Parliament

September 2014, The Green 10 published a manifesto to spell out ten ways in which European parliamentarians can be a driver for sustainable change. In the manifesto, organisations underline that not enough has been done to put Europe on an environmentally sustainable path. Smarter and more sustainable policies will help Europe create new jobs, regain competitiveness, address the climate crisis and improve the quality of life within the limits of our planet.

The manifesto is available here

Last updated on 22 October 2014

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The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union (EU). We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. Read more »

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