MEP call to block ‘sexist and conflicted’ Commissioner

South West Green MEP Molly Scott Cato has thrown down a challenge to other MEPs in the region to publically oppose the appointment of Miguel Arias Cañete to the post of European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy.

Dr Scott Cato says Cañete’s political career, mired by conflicts of interest, makes him an inappropriate nominee for the post. She points to his record of mingling business interests with public office and in particular his financial stake in and family ties to oil businesses [1]. He has also been accused of sexism [2]

Molly Scott Cato said:

“The appointment of Mr Cañete as Energy and Climate Commissioner is a slap in the face. I challenge the South West’s other five MEPs, three of whom are women, to publically declare they are against the selection of a man who has been associated with controversial sexist attitudes and behaviour.

 “This utterly unsuitable appointment reveals how environmental and sustainability issues are being sidelined in the new Commission.

“European codes of conduct calls on Commissioners to have no dealings with matters within their portfolio which they have any personal interest in. Given his close ties to the oil industry, he would regularly find himself facing conflicts of interest that would impair his independence. Anyone who takes climate change and sustainability seriously must oppose this appointment.”

The Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy is a newly created Directorate and will have responsibility for all policies that affect the energy sector. Molly Scott Cato and around 50 other MEPs have signed a letter to Commission President Juncker expressing concern at the apparent low priority being given to sustainable development in the new Commission and calling for it to be the cornerstone and guiding principle behind future EU policy.

Keen to show that working for the environment is more than just words inside the European Parliament, Molly will take part in the Global Day of Action on climate change this Sunday [3]. Hundreds will march on City Hall in Bristol to deliver a petition to Dr Scott Cato [4]. Worldwide, over a million people are expected to take part as world leaders prepare to meet in New York for climate change talks.