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Greens vote against Juncker Commission, but majority of MEPs back new Commissioners

Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2014 | Author: Paul Sanderson

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The new European Commission has been backed by a majority of MEPs in the European Parliament.

With 423 votes in favour, 209 against and 67 abstentions, the new European Commission will begin on 1 November.

This means that Karmenu Vella has been confirmed as Environment Commissioner and Miguel Arias Canete as Climate Action and Energy Commissioner.

As reported here, European Commission President Jean Claude-Juncker (pictured) made a last minute concession on criticisms that he hadn't taken sustainability and environmental issues seriously enough by giving this area of responsibility to First Vice President Frans Timmermans.

However, this was not acceptable to Greens/EFA grouping of MEPs that decided to vote against the Juncker Commission as it wasn’t convinced that enough was being done to make environmental issues a priority.

Greens/EFA co-president Rebecca Harms said: “This is not a blanket rejection. Our group is supportive of many of the commissioners-designate and, as a pro-European political force, will work constructively with the new Commission where possible to try and ensure it delivers meaningful responses to the real challenges facing Europe and its citizens.

“Our concerns about the lack of focus on sustainability and environmental protection have not been eased by the last-minute decision to make the same vice-president charged with dismantling EU regulation responsible for sustainability, which requires strong regulatory action.

“This is compounded by the cobbled-together nature of some of the portfolios, notably the decision to combine the energy and climate and environment and fisheries portfolios, which could lead to a downgrading of these important issues.”

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