The European Commission has defended the appointment of Frans Timmermans’ successor to the college. This comes in the wake of criticism from some quarters about the choice of Wopke Hoekstra for the post.
In a statement, President of the Commission Ursula von der Leyen said she had interviewed Hoekstra, the candidate put forward by the Dutch government for the post of European Commissioner from The Netherlands.
She said Hoekstra “showed strong motivation for the post and great commitment to the European Union. He also has relevant professional experience for this post.”
von der Leyen added, “Following this interview, I have decided to propose to the Council and the European Parliament the appointment of Mr Hoekstra to the post of Commissioner. He will be in charge of climate action, under the guidance of the Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight.”
She said Hoekstra “has significant experience on European issues, having been Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands and Minister of Foreign Affairs since 2022, and Minister of Finance from 2017 to 2022.”
“His governmental experience will be a strong asset in particular for Europe’s climate diplomacy in the run-up to COP28 and for climate finance, as well as for the implementation of climate-related legislative instruments.”
She added that Hoekstra had “stressed during the interview his commitment to continuing an ambitious climate policy and to maintaining a social balance in all necessary joint efforts on the road to climate neutrality.”
The Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament said that Timmermans “took on an inspiring, herculean and pivotal role to translate Europe’s climate ambitions into policies protecting people and the planet.”
“We hope Europe’s loss will be the Netherlands’ gain. Despite Frans Timmermans’ departure, we will continue working to ensure that Europe transforms into a climate-neutral continent through a fair transition, leaving no one behind.”