Newly appointed European Commissioner for Climate Action, Wopke Hoekstra and vice-president of the European Commission responsible for the Green Deal, Maros Sefcovic passed the first of their tests by being approved at the EU Parliament’s Environmental Committee and were subsequently appointed by commission president, Ursula von der Leyen.
This is despite being delayed due to initially failing to gain the majority support earlier in the week.
The approval of new commissioners followed the dramatic exit of previous commission vice-president Frans Timmerman to return to Dutch politics ahead of snap elections.
This left both position of climate commissioner and head of implementing the Green Deal open.
EU Green Deal
Climate related EU legislation will affect many areas of EU and Irish agriculture, such as setting and monitoring of Ireland’s mandated emissions targets and the Nature Restoration Law.
The EU Green Deal leader will also have responsibility for ensuring proposals such as the Sustainable Food Directive and Animal Welfare Legislative Revision come from the relevant commissions.
In order to secure the support of the Environmental Committee both commissioners gave further assurances that they would recommit to cutting greenhouse gases (GHGs) by 90% by 2040.
A key part of the Green Deal as originally proposed and prominent among the Farm2Fork proposals was reform of the bloc’s animal welfare regulations.
This took a blow when such proposals were not scheduled for this term when the parliament returned.
However, Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski indicated in meetings last week that legislative proposals on animal welfare reform will be forthcoming in the coming weeks.
Speculation is rife that while the whole animal welfare legislative reform may not be possible in what remains of the current parliament term, with elections set for 2024, that transport reform proposals may be dealt with.
These could have major implications for Ireland’s live exports especially of calves.