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Top jobs: Newly appointed EU leadership has yet to prove green credentials

03 July 2019
by WWF -- last modified 03 July 2019

After marathon negotiations, European leaders have decided on Ursula von der Leyen (DE) as candidate for the President of the European Commission - a German national with no track record on climate, environment and sustainability.


Other top jobs included the European Council and European Central Bank presidencies.

"Any European Commission President should be elected by the European Parliament on the basis of a strong agenda, and not the horse-trading that occurred over the past few days. We look forward to hearing from Ursula von der Leyen in the coming weeks whether she will make sustainable development the overarching principle of her presidency. Should she fail to include firm commitments on climate action, nature protection and sustainability in her political guidelines for the coming mandate, the European Parliament must put into question whether she is the right person for the job at this time of environmental and social crisis," said Ester Asin, Director of the WWF European Policy Office.

"Considering that climate and environment were key issues in the election campaign and top of voters' concerns, it is disappointing that we have ended up with a candidate who could not during public debates present her vision for a sustainable Europe."

Charles Michel, current Belgian Prime Minister, was given a mandate as new President of the European Council. Just a few weeks ago, Belgium received bad marks from the EU executive for its draft national climate and energy plan, with the country miserably failing to reach its 2030 emission reduction commitment. In this new role as European Council President, Michel must demonstrate stronger leadership in order to unite all EU governments behind a climate-neutrality target with a firm deadline, ideally 2040, as well as all other sustainability objectives as agreed in the Council's recently adopted Strategic Agenda.

The European Council also appointed Josep Borrell (ES) as High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Christine Lagarde (FR) as the President of the European Central Bank.

The European Policy Office helps shape EU policies that impact on the European and global environment.