Dodgey appointments to the European Commission
Molly has returned to the European Parliament to find that the Greens will have their work cut out. President Juncker’s proposed new European Commission includes Eurosceptic Tory UK Commissioner Lord Hill as financial services commissioner and Spanish Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete for the combined Energy and Climate Action portfolio.
Responding to the appointment of Lord Hill, Molly said: “This appointment means a financial industry lobbyist is in charge of financial regulation; it’s a clear case of poacher-turned-gamekeeper. Lord Hill is also part of a government that has been the biggest obstacle to European financial markets reform.”
Lord Hill will have to face difficult questions in the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON). Being a member of this committee, Molly is eagerly awaiting the opportunity to quiz Lord Hill!
The appointment of Commissioner Cañete has also caused shockwaves around the Green group and beyond. His declaration of interests includes Chairmanship of the Board of two oil companies and relatives with interests in companies in the nuclear sector. This is just part of an unsavoury catalogue for a man now tasked on behalf of European citizens with safeguarding our environment and climate.
Our press release on the potential threats posed by the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) to South West farmers made front page news in the Western Morning News. Molly was quoted: “This toxic deal being thrashed out at secret briefings could have a devastating effect on farming in the region.”
Greens are now challenging a decision by the European Commission to reject a Citizen’s Initiative on TTIP. The Citizen’s Initiative enables European citizens to invite the European Commission to submit a legislative proposal if one million citizens from at least a quarter of the countries of the EU support it.
Molly wrote an article for Shifting Ground [UPDATE August 2015: Link no longer available] identifying how the Scottish Independence referendum has transformed the nature of politics. She has also been keen to highlight how the referendum has unleashed a momentum towards devolution in England too. Greens have long supported the principle of ‘subsidiarity’ – devolving decision making to as local a level as possible – and Molly believes that a Yes vote could transform the nature of democracy and decision making, bringing pressure for devolution in England, and ‘making subsidiarity happen’.
Green Party conference
Along with over 700 others (40% of them first-timers), Molly attended the highly successful Green Party conference in Birmingham. She spoke at a fringe entitled, “How the South West was won”. Together with some of the former members of the South West European Elections Team (SWEET), she outlined some of the key aspects that led to her winning an MEP seat in the South West. These included focusing on a few key positive green messages, targeting disillusioned LibDem voters and the involvement of and support from local Parties in the region.
In the media
Molly seems to have become a bit of a spokesperson on the Scottish referendum and the Green Yes campaign. She has appeared twice on Radio 5 Live, firstly on Pienaar’s Politics on 7th September and again today, 17th September, as part of a panel debate on the referendum. During both interviews she reiterated her support for the Scottish Yes vote. Also, while in Scotland for an economics conference, Molly witnessed the excitement at first hand and was invited to take part in three other radio shows in the South West (BBC Dorset, BBC Solent and BBC Somerset). Molly was asked to consider the impacts of Scottish independence on the regions in England, and in particular the South West.