The Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety questioned Maroš Šefčovič (Slovakia), after he was assigned the role of Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal.
In his introductory speech, Mr Šefčovič underlined the need to finalise the work on the European Green Deal “with urgency and courage”, while at the same time ensuring the proper implementation of already-agreed measures. He would focus on three main tasks in the remaining months of his mandate: seek the support of citizens for the Green Deal, bring all pending proposals to fruition and ensure the roll out of the files where agreement has already been reached.
On improving engagement with citizens, Mr Šefčovič committed to organising green social dialogues and strengthening cooperation with industry, agriculture and forestry stakeholders. He also underlined his full support for the conclusion of outstanding climate action files, such as those dealing with nature restoration, ecodesign for sustainable products, critical raw materials, electricity market design, methane emissions and energy performance of buildings.
Mr Šefčovič also mentioned a number of new proposals to be announced in the coming months, including the 2040 climate target in early 2024, measures for wind power and grids, and an initiative on relieving water stress.
Questions by MEPs
MEPs asked Mr. Šefčovič how he would coordinate EU climate action and requested a commitment for the proposal by the Commission of a science-based EU climate target for 2040. They also probed Mr Šefčovič on how he would ensure the full and timely implementation of EU environmental laws in all EU countries, including the legislation adopted under the Green Deal, and asked for an overview of new measures and proposals the Commission is scheduling for release before the European elections.
In particular, members asked Mr Šefčovič when the Commission would adopt the legislative framework for sustainable food systems, and other initiatives related to the so-called “Farm to Fork strategy”, and how the needs of stakeholders, including consumers, farmers, foresters and rural communities, would be taken into consideration.
Other MEPs asked how he would facilitate negotiations on the EU Nature Restoration Lawto ensure a compromise between Parliament and Council and which actions from the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030 he intends to still deliver – including on funding targets.
The need to work closer with industry was also raised by MEPs, who questioned the Executive Vice-President on how he would create sectoral roadmaps in line with the EU Climate Law. Other MEPs asked about animal welfare, REACH revision, micro plastics and the role of nuclear energy in the green transition.
The committees on Industry, Research and Energy, on Transport and Tourism and on Agriculture and Rural Development participated in the hearing.
You can watch the full hearing again here.
Mr Šefčovič, is currently in charge of the Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight portfolio in the college of Commissioners. He was assigned the role of Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal following Frans Timmermans’ decision to resign and run as a candidate in the forthcoming Dutch general election.