The top pilot of the Green Deal, the European Commission’s cardinal plan to tackle the challenge of climate change, is preparing to step down. Frans Timmermans announced his return to the Dutch political scene on Thursday after spending nearly a decade in Brussels, first as vice-president in charge of the rule of law for the Juncker Commission and then second in the current commission headed by Ursula van der Leyen. In an interview with NOS public radio, he said, “I would like to be a candidate” For the first time, the Labor PVDA, the party he came from, and the ecologists of Groenlinks led the list. “It is time for us in the Netherlands to come closer and not leave each other. Political division should be fought against. We have huge challenges to overcome, a climate crisis, nature is not in good condition”, He also cited the war in Ukraine.
A favorable Dutch political environment
On July 8, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rudd’s government collapsed due to the inability of the four governing parties on how to deal with immigration. On this issue, Mr. Timmermans also said he supports the asylum policy.Strict but fair”. A highly respected figure at the European and national level, the former foreign minister has every chance to become the leader of the coalition list between the PvdA and GroenLinks. Starting this Thursday, contestants for the post have until August 4 to register for the contest. But for now, Franz Timmermans is the only candidate. He already enjoys the support of key figures in the PvdA, such as party leader Adje Kuyken, Alderman Marjolin Moorman of Amsterdam or Mayor Ahmed Aboudaleb of Rotterdam. Jesse Klaver, head of GroenLinks, announced on Wednesday that he would not be a candidate. The final result will be declared on 22nd August.
If Frans Timmermans’ election is confirmed, he would make himself the favorite to succeed Mark Rutte, PvdA and GroenLinks, with 17% of the vote and promises to make it harder to form a government than the liberals of the VVD and the new farming movement BoerBurgerBeweging. “I want to be prime minister because I think together we can make a difference in politics.”He told NOS.
On the part of the European Commission, we were careful on Thursday not to speculate on the eventual departure of this heavyweight from the company. “At this point, his candidacy is hypothetical.”Spokesperson Balas Ujwari said, meanwhile, that the Vice President “Keep up his work.” According to the code of conduct for commissioners, a Franz Timmermans on the campaign trail does not have to resign, but must suspend his activities unless he takes another political role, for example in government.. “If he is named as the head of the list, he will resign,” However, a source close to the Dutchman confirms it. Although the group formed by the PvdA and GroenLinks ended in opposition, Mr. Timmermans will lead it in the lower house.With great joy and dedication”He declared.
Questions to the European Commission
On the European scene, who will take over his portfolio at a time when the key legislation of the Green Deal is starting to come under fire, particularly from right-wing and centre-right political forces? The Commission remained silent on the matter on Thursday. This file is headed by Ursula van der Leyen, and she “Like Franz Timmermans, he wanted to create a Green Deal, recalls a European source. Will the failed candidate for the presidency of this “competition” commission annoy the Dutchman enough to look elsewhere? ““His decision has nothing to do with any problems in Brussels.”He rejects those around him.
It is not known at this time whether the position will ever go to the new candidate that the Netherlands has to present to the president of the commission. Indeed, Ursula von der Leyen will undoubtedly have to reshuffle portfolios within the College of Commissioners. Just before Frans Timmermans, it was Danish Margrethe Vestager, the vice-president of the competition, who announced her candidacy for the position of president of the European Investment Bank (EIB), which she could occupy at the end of 2023 – even if it is not yet guaranteed. Here again, it is difficult to know whether the replacement proposed by Copenhagen has the profile to assume the same role within the Commission, corresponding to the greater responsibility of regulating digital companies.
A year before the European elections, there is also the question of Ursula van der Leyen’s future. If he does not hide his ambition to return to a new position as head of the commission, his name is also being cited next to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, whose term has been extended by a year until 2024.
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