Climate Commissioner Cañete seduced by the oil lobby

5 November 2015

Climate Commissioner Cañete seduced by the oil lobby

European Commissioner for climate policy Miguel Cañete has allowed himself to be seduced by the oil lobby, the SP says. This view was confirmed in the report “Cooking the Planet” from lobby watchdog Corporate Europe Observatory. The report demonstrates that Commissioner Cañete, along with his colleague Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič, have spoken four times as often with corporate lobbyists as they have with private citizens and social or environmentalist NGOs combined. Moreover, the leading role in this lobby has been taken by the fossil fuel industry, within which the Spanish Commissioner Cañete was formerly employed.

SP Euro-MP Anne-Marie Mineur, who will participate in the forthcoming Climate Conference in Paris as a representative of the European Parliament, says that she finds it disturbing that these European Commissioners are spending so much time with representatives of the sector that is the biggest source of climate change, while so few discussions have been held with firms developing sustainable energy, let alone with social and environmental NGOs. ‘This is exactly what we were afraid of when Commissioner Cañete took office, given his strong links to the energy sector,’ she recalls. ‘Until 2011 he was Chairman of the Board of two oil firms, which had been established by his wife’s family. While it’s true that he’s sold his shares in those companies, his brother-in-law is still Chairman.’

Mineur is putting questions to the Commission in attempt to pressure them into applying the guidelines proposed by the European Parliament for the organisation of the Climate Conference: give all interested parties equal access. ‘When he took up his post Commission president Juncker promised that the Commission was going to set a good example in regard to lobbying. This is his chance to make good on that commitment,’ she says. In Paris Anne-Marie Mineur intends to use all available means to make the activities of lobbyists transparent to everyone, and to open as many doors as she can that remain closed to others.

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