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Frans Timmermans and Virginijus Sinkevičius, new European environmental policy makers

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  • Frans Timmermans and Virginijus Sinkevičius, new European environmental policy makers
Schneider Electric
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Ursula von der Leyen, elected President of the European Commission last month of July, has presented her team of European commissioners today.

The new Commission, according to von der Leyen, will reflect the priorities and ambitions set out in the Political Guidelines. The Commission is structured around the objectives President-elect von der Leyen was elected on by the European Parliament.

“At the heart of our work is the need to address the changes in climate, technology and demography that are transforming our societies and way of life. Existing powers are going down new paths alone. New powers are emerging and consolidating. This has left a feeling of unease and anxiety in many communities across Europe. The EU must lead the transition to a healthy planet and a new digital world. But it can only do so by bringing people together and upgrading our unique social market economy to fit today's new ambitions,” stated von der Leyen.

"This team will shape the European Way: we will take bold action against climate change, build our partnership with the United States, define our relations with a more self-assertive China and be a reliable neighbour, for example to Africa. This team will have to stand up for our values and world-class standards. I want a Commission that is led with determination, that is clearly focused on the issues at hand and that provides answers. I want it to be a well-balanced, agile and modern Commission. This team will now have to gain the Parliament's confidence. My Commission will be a geopolitical Commission committed to sustainable policies. And I want the European Union to be the guardian of multilateralism. Because we know that we are stronger by doing together what we cannot do alone," she added.

The new team will have eight Vice-Presidents, who will be responsible for the top priorities in the Political Guidelines, including on the most important overarching issues, such as the European Green Deal.

In line with the Commission’s latest commitment to a green and sustainable Europe, Ursula von der Leyen has appointed Dutch socialist Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans to coordinate the work on the European Green Deal. He will also manage climate action policy, supported by the Directorate-General for Climate Action. Timmermans will coordinate his work with Virginijus Sinkevičius, Lithuanian Minister for Economy and Innovation, who will be responsible for ‘Environment and Oceans'.

"I want the European Green Deal to become Europe's hallmark. At the heart of it is our commitment to becoming the world's first climate-neutral continent. It is also a long-term economic imperative: those who act first and fastest will be the ones who grasp the opportunities from the ecological transition. I want Europe to be the front-runner. I want Europe to be the exporter of knowledge, technologies and best practice,” said the elected president.

As a next step, the European Parliament has to give its consent to the entire College of Commissioners, including the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission.

Once the European Parliament has given its consent, the European Council formally appoints the European Commission, in line with Article 17(7) TEU.

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