Frans Timmermans was the Commissioner for Climate Action since December 2019, as well as Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal. After the collapse of the Dutch government, a snap election will be held in the Netherlands later this year in November, where he will lead the coalition between the green and labour party, which he cited as reason for his resignation. This somewhat parallels the resignation of Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Mariya Gabriel earlier this year, who also departed to sort out the turbulent situation of her home country’s government.
After slovakian diplomat Maroš Šefčovič was appointed to temporarily fill the positions of Commissioner and Green Deal Vice-President as caretaker, on 29 August, Ursula von der Leyen formally appointed Wopke Hoekstra for the job. Hoekstra served as Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands and Minister of Foreign Affairs since 2022, and Minister of Finance from 2017 to 2022 – von der Leyen highlighted the relevance of these experiences during his appointment, and expressed their importance in climate diplomacy, climate finance, and the “implementation of climate-related legislative instruments”.
Before taking over the responsibilities, he is expected to go through a hearing in the parliament, until which Šefčovič remains at helm of the Directorate-General for Climate Action. This hearing is expected to be a heated one as some MEPs as well as climate organisations are dissatisfied with Hoekstra’s appointment. Disgruntled MEPs state that his resume is not up to par, and criticise his previous affiliation with Shell.
The Green Deal, of which Hoekstra is expected to become Executive Vice-President of, is relevant for a number of science-policy initiatives EuChemS is involved in. The Zero Pollution Stakeholder Platform, as well as High Level Roundtable on the implementation of the Sustainable Chemicals Strategy are initiatives within the Green Deal Platform.