Dutch PM hails nomination of Timmermans as new European “climate chief”

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Tuesday that he’s pleased with the nomination of Dutch politician Frans Timmermans as vice president responsible for climate issues in the European Commission from 2019 to 2024.

“An important milestone,” Rutte stated on Twitter. “Frans Timmermans, as Executive Vice-President, will focus on European Green Deal. I wish him every success in his new role.”

Earlier on Tuesday, President-elect of the European Commission Ursula Von der Leyen unveiled the line-up of the next European Commission. Timmermans will coordinate the work on the European Green Deal, an ambitious climate agenda to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050, and will manage climate action policy.

“I want the European Green Deal to become Europe’s hallmark,” Von der Leyen explained her climate plans. “At the heart of it is our commitment to becoming the world’s first climate-neutral continent. It is also a long-term economic imperative: those who act first and fastest will be the ones who grasp the opportunities from the ecological transition. I want Europe to be the front-runner. I want Europe to be the exporter of knowledge, technologies and best practice.”

The 58-year-old Labor (PvdA) politician Timmermans, former Dutch minister of foreign affairs, is the current first Vice-President of the European Commission under Jean-Claude Juncker. He lost the battle to become the new president to Von der Leyen.

“We need an ambitious Green New Deal for Europe, which shapes the future for our children and ensures their health, prosperity and security on a green and thriving planet,” Timmermans stated on Twitter. “I am excited to work on this for the next five years and looking forward to my hearing in the European parliament to discuss how we plan to build a clean and sustainable European economy that leaves nobody behind.”

In the new structure of the European Commission Timmermans was chosen as one of the three executive Vice-Presidents with Margrethe Vestager (Denmark) and Valdis Dombrovskis (Latvia) and in a total eight vice-presidents, responsible for the top priorities in the European Commission’s political guidelines.

The list of Commissioners-designate has to be agreed now by the European Council, and the European Parliament needs to give its consent to the new European Commission for 2019-2024 as a whole. After each candidate is approved, the new Commission is set to take office on Nov. 1.