Karmenu Vella is new European Environment Commissioner


The replacement to Janez Potočnik as European Environment Commissioner is likely to be Maltese politician Karmenu Vella.

European Commission President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker has selected his team of 27 Commissioners after each Member States nominated a candidate.


These will now need to be ratified following European Parliament hearings.

Assuming his appointment is approved by the European Parliament, Karmenu Vella (pictured) will be Commissioner for the newly merged Environment and Maritime Affairs and Fisheries portfolio.

There will also be one Commissioner in charge of both Climate Action and Energy policy following a merger of responsibilities. This will be led by Spanish politician Miguel Arias Cañete.

Jean-Claude Juncker said: “In these unprecedented times, Europe’s citizens expect us to deliver. After years of economic hardship and often painful reforms, Europeans expect a performing economy, sustainable jobs, more social protection, safer borders, energy security and digital opportunities.

“Today I am presenting the team that will put Europe back on the path to jobs and growth. In the new European Commission, form follows function. We have to be open to change. We have to show that the Commission can change.”

Karmenu Vella is one of the longest serving politicians in Malta and is a member of the Labour Party. He studied at the Royal University of Malta where he gained a Bachelor or Arts degree in Architectural Studies. He also has a Masters of Science degree in Tourism from Sheffield Hallam University.

He has served as Minister for Public Works, Minister for Industry and twice as a Tourism Minister in Malta.

In his new role, he will be responsible for creating jobs, preserving resources, stimulating growth and encouraging investment.

 Miguel Arias Cañete served as Minister of Agriculture, Food and Environment between 2011 and 2014 in the current Spanish Government, where he is a member of the centre-right People’s Party.

Prior to politics, he studied law and worked as a lawyer. He will be responsible for climate change policy including strengthening the share of renewable energy in Europe as part of its industrial policy. 

Janez Potočnik was not nominated by the Slovenian Government as its European Commissioner and therefore steps down after serving two terms, the latter as Environment Commissioner.