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Appointment of Dutchman Wopke Hoekstra as European commissioner causes a stir

The current Dutch Foreign Minister, who could be given the climate action portfolio, has been criticized for his lack of sensitivity to environmental issues.

, The Left criticizes the appointment of Wopke Hoekstra for the post of Dutch commissioner in the European Commission.

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.

The decision to appoint Hoekstra as a replacement for Frans Timmermans to the college has been condemned by some.

Now, left-leaning MEPs in the Parliament have added their voices to criticism of the move.

The co-chairs of The Left, Manon Aubry (La France insoumise, France) and Martin Schirdewan (DIE LINKE, Germany) issued a statement on the controversy.

It reads: “Frans Timmermans convincingly advocated for the interests of the public in strong and effective climate legislation. 

“His departure from the European Commission leaves a gap that the proposed candidate, 

“Wopke Hoekstra is not able to fill. Tilting the political balance in favor of the political right is incomprehensible. Appointing an EPP candidate to succeed a Social Democrat is extremely unsportsmanlike of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. To resist the attempts of conservatives and the far-right to dilute climate policy, a strong supporter of the European Green Deal is needed, not a representative of the backlash coalition.”

Left MEP Anja Hazekamp (Partij voor de Dieren, The Netherlands), added, “The global climate and biodiversity crises are intensifying, while much-needed measures for a greener, more socially and animal-friendly Europe are under heavy attack by corporate lobbyists and their political representatives. 

“Wopke Hoekstra is a former Shell employee and a member of a party that has systematically been trying to sabotage important parts of the European Green Deal such as the Nature Restoration Law.”

The Left group said it “is committed to a socially just transition because climate change is a class struggle. Climate change is largely fuelled by the capitalist economic system that prioritizes short-term profits of a few and ruthlessly exploits the planet’s resources.”

EC head Ursula von der Leyen hit back, saying 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.”

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