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Socialists and Democrats back Šefčovič and Hoekstra to advance EU Climate Action and the European Green Deal


04 Oct 2023


Global Europe
Following thorough hearings before the EP environment committee, the Socialists and Democrats have decided to endorse the appointment of both Commissioner-designate Wopke Hoekstra as the new Commissioner for Climate Action, and Executive vice-president for the European Green Deal, Maroš Šefčovič.
Šefčovič again demonstrated during his hearing yesterday that the climate portfolio will be in a safe and very experienced pair of hands. Hoekstra will operate under the supervision of Executive vice-president for the European Green Deal, Maroš Šefčovič who will ensure the continuation of Frans Timmermans’ ambitious climate agenda and the delivery of the European Green Deal. 
Ahead of the hearings, the S&D Group had outlined their expectations to the European Commission: establishing a Social Green Deal and ensuring a Just Transition for all; setting fair and scientifically sound intermediate climate targets up to 2050; upholding the Green Deal; and ensuring the success of COP28 next month.
During his hearing on Monday, Mr. Hoekstra fell short of the S&D Group’s expectations. He notably failed to convince the S&D Group members on crucial matters such as the level of the 2040 climate target and setting up a consistent 2035 target, ensuring financial solidarity with developing countries facing climate change impacts, and the importance for EU member states to commit to phasing out subsidies for fossil fuels. This led the S&D Group to address him with follow-up questions so that he could clarify his stance on these important subjects, which will be on the agenda of the fast approaching COP28.
On Tuesday, Mr. Šefčovič, by contrast, presented a clear and comprehensive vision of what needs to be done to ramp up the EU’s climate and environmental ambition, both domestically and internationally.
Tiemo Wölken, S&D coordinator for the EP environment committee, said:
“Before we made the decision to back Mr. Hoekstra’s appointment, which was difficult given his poor track record on climate policies, we wanted to have answers to critical concerns and insisted on additional questions.
“Thanks to our push, we obtained extra guarantees that Mr. Hoekstra will advocate for ambitious climate action with solidarity and a just transition at its core. Hoekstra notably committed that he would be ready to go beyond the social climate fund to ensure a socially just transition. He also committed himself to a -90% target in 2040 and strong financial support for Loss and Damage at COP28. Now, Mr. Hoekstra needs to translate his words into action, and we will make sure he lives up to his promises.
“The fact that Mr. Hoekstra is placed under the supervision and in the very experienced hands of Executive vice-president Šefčovič, is clearly an added assurance of effective climate action.”