Brussels, My Love? EU Climate commissioner steps down

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On this edition of Brussels, my love? we ask what problems EU climate plans could face following the departure of Commissioner Frans Timmerman and whether Spanish regional languages including Catalan, Galician and Euskera can become official EU languages.

This week we were joined by Sara Matthieu, Belgian MEP from the Greens, Stefan Sipka, a senior policy analyst with the European Policy Centre and Kait Bolongaro, managing editor at regulatory news outlet MLEX EUROPE.


Panelists reacted to the news that the well-known EU climate Commissioner Frans Timmermans has quit Brussels to return to Dutch politics. We ponder what his departure could mean for the raft of green targets of the EU Commission and what problems could arise.

“He has really been the engine behind a lot of these ambitious policies, you know, the new carbon border tax that they put in, the ban on the combustible engine and really bringing in more emissions trading systems,” said Kait Bolongaro.

Stefan Sipka welcomed the move though as the implementation of proposals can only be done at national and local levels.

“I think there is also a case for him going back to the Netherlands, because I think the battle for the Green Deal is increasingly being fought at the member state level. So we can understand his decision from that perspective. But of course, it comes with a price. The question is indeed, will the Commission keep up the pace and manage to keep the same level of ambition as it did during Timmermans? And that’s the big question,” he said.

For MEP Sara Matthieu, another concern is the impact the green transition will have on Europe’s most impoverished.

“The big challenge for this Commission and for the next one is to make sure that, you know, the most vulnerable people are really protected in this, that they are helped with energy renovations, with goods and affordable public transport, for instance. I mean, for me, that’s really what needs to happen and was really key,” she said.

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