New Commissioner portfolios: key names and priorities for the biogas sector

The new President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced some weeks ago the details of the next European Commissioner portfolios, including a Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans. In the letter to Mr Timmermans, Ms von der Leyen focuses on the green deal that shall bring forward Europe’s commitment to become the world’s first climate-neutral continent. This means that the GHG reduction target for 2030 shall be increased towards 55% up from the 40% currently agreed. The European Green Deal shall be presented in the first 100 days of their mandate from 1 November.

4 other proposed candidates will play decisive roles on the development of renewable gas in the next years if they get green light from the European Parliament after the hearings:

Kadri Simson, Commissioner for Energy (Estonia), has received the mandate to speed up the deployment of clean energy and facilitate the smart integration of the electricity, heating, transport and industry sectors. Gas will have a role to play in the transition towards a carbon-neutral economy, notably through carbon capture and storage (CCS). She shall assess how sources of supply can be diversified at competitive prices, in particular by making full use of the potential of affordable liquefied natural gas (LNG). This strategy foresees the scale up investments in clean energy, notably through the new Sustainable Europe Investment Plan.Energy Commissioner Simsons will work on the implementation of the Clean Energy Package, including RED II, and Energy Efficiency Directive, as well as assist the member States to set out their National Energy and Climate plans. She shall also asses the role of gas to realise a carbon-neutral economy and come up with the ‘Decarbonisation Package’, previously informally referred to as ‘Gas Package’.

Janusz Wojciechowski, Commissioner for Agriculture (Poland) will be responsible for delivering a modern and simplified Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for the post-2020 period and providing a new long-term vision for rural areas. The approved CAP must be ambitious in terms of food security and environmental and climate objectives.

Rovana Plumb, Commissioner for Transport (Romania) has been given the task of preparing a comprehensive strategy for sustainable and smart mobility with focus on increasing the uptake of sustainable and alternative transport fuels for road, maritime and air transport and extend the Emissions Trading System (ETS) to the maritime sector. The confirmation of Ms Plumb is suspended by the European Parliament due to concerns about conflicts of interest.

Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for Environment and Oceans (Lithuania) will have to deliver a new Circular Economy Action Plan to ensure sustainable resource use, notably in resource-intensive and high-impact sectors. This should support and feed into the new industrial strategy.

The following three important topics were mentioned in the mission letters of several Commissioner-designates:

  • Zero-pollution ambition: a wide-ranging approach looking at air, water, and noise pollution from transport, agriculture and food production, water quality, hazardous chemicals and other key areas.

  • Review of the Energy Taxation Directive to ensure that it is consistent with our climate-neutral commitments.

  • Farm to Fork strategy to cover every step in the food chain from production to consumption, looking at consumer information, food safety, animal and plant health, fisheries and the agri-food sector.

MORE INFORMATION: Check schedule for hearings of Commissioners 2019