Home Politics Monitor Green Deal 2.0: the vision of the Spanish Minister of Ecology for the next Commission
Politics Monitor

Green Deal 2.0: the vision of the Spanish Minister of Ecology for the next Commission

Strengthening climate action and social justice, restoring confidence in European democracy and “green diplomacy”, this is the vision of Vice-President and Minister of Ecological Transition Teresa Ribera, tipped to become the next Spanish commissioner for Brussels.

In the past, Ms Ribera has already said that she would prefer to stay in Spain. However, she now seems more open to the possibility of joining the team of European commissioners in the next Commission.

“I am always ready to fight for the climate, for clean energy, for my country and for Europe,” Ms Ribera told Euractiv when asked about her career prospects.

While in Madrid, some observers claim that she is Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s favorite to become European Commissioner, Ms. Ribera stressed that she has “never ruled out [this option]”, but that “it does not is not [she] who will make the decision,” emphasizing that it is up to the Head of State to designate the Spanish candidate who will join the Commission for the 2024-2029 mandate.

With Ms Ribera’s profile, Spain could obtain the vice-presidency of the Commission and the portfolio on energy and/or environment, which would allow the continuation of the Green Deal for Europe (Green Deal).

Ms Ribera became very influential at EU level on energy and environment issues during the Spanish presidency of the EU Council in the second half of 2023 and was a key voice during the Conference Conference on Climate Change (COP 28) in Dubai.

During the Spanish presidency of the Council of the EU, Ms Ribera played a decisive role in the adoption of key files concerning the Green Deal, thus winning the affection of other ministers and a certain popularity.

Asked if it was time to make changes after five years of Ursula von der Leyen’s Commission presidency, Ms Ribera replied that she would like to see “a Commission that is much […] more ecological and […] ‘benefit] engaged on a social level’.

Put an end to the “hostage-taking” of EU legislative proposals

Referring to recent flip-flops by Germany and the center-right European People’s Party (EPP) on key environmental issues, she criticized the new trend in Brussels for individual member states or political groups to “take over hostage” certain European legislative proposals, by refusing at the last moment to support a compromise already accepted.

“I don’t like at all the way we’ve seen over the past year and a half this lack of respect for [legislative] procedure,” she said.

“We should ensure that this does not become a new custom in Brussels, where everyone has a sort of veto right at the very end of the process. »

“This does not help create Europe,” she insisted.

Green Deal 2.0?

Ms. Ribera’s vision for the EU’s future goals can be seen as a “Green Deal 2.0”: the pursuit of strong action on climate and environment, serving as a basis for greater economic prosperity.

However, she wants to place more emphasis on the social dimension compared to the current Green Deal, offsetting the costs of climate action and using the transition to promote equality and social inclusion.

She places particular emphasis on the transition to clean energy, which she considers “a way to build a proud Europe […] to modernize our economy, to reindustrialize or modernize existing industry, to reduce social gaps [and] to work against inequalities.”

Ms Ribera also wants to link Europe’s ecological agenda to its role on the international scene. She envisions “a kind of leverage, a green diplomacy,” in which third countries would trade critical raw materials with Europe in exchange for economic development and clean energy opportunities. This approach “could build peace in the world”.

Her main concern, however, is that “people think that democratic institutions are not up to par,” which she describes as a “real problem, a real threat.”

This article is originally published on euractiv.fr

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