Starting from 30 September the European Parliament will be holding a series of hearings to Ursula von der Leyen’s Commissioners-designate. Public hearings will carry on until October 8, 2019
There will be a total of 26 hearings, one per Commissioner-designate. Each hearing will be attended by one or more committees for the assessment and questions will be asked by coordinators of each political group In special cases where there is no solidarity between the committee coordinators, there will be a vote. To be able to come to a decision, there needs to be a two-thirds majority amongst the coordinators.
After the end of the hearings, Von der Leyen will present her College of Commissioners in Strasbourg on October 23, where she will need to back majority of the vote from the Parliament and by the European Council. The end of this process will officially mark the beginning of Von der Leyen and her team’s office from November 1, 2019.
Below are suggested questions produced by Wetlands International – European Association and shared with the members of the parliamentary committees relevant to the topics of our interest. For the full document including introductions to the questions, click on download below.
DEVE Hearing of Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner-designate for Crisis Management
- Maintaining and restoring ecosystems, like wetlands, should be considered a major opportunity for investments of climate finance including by the private sector. Investments should be risk-informed to build climate and disaster resilience. What steps does the Commissioner designate envisage to increase investments in eco-drr solutions and to recognize the role of wetlands in DRR, as a significant and cost-effective component of DRR strategies?
ITRE hearing of Kadri Simson – Commissioner-designate Energy
- Given the interlinkages between water, energy and ecosystems, what steps does the Commissioner-designate envisage in order to ensure that fulfilling the EU renewable targets has no significant detrimental effect on habitats and species, in particular on freshwater ecosystems?
PECH/ENVI hearing of Virginijus Sinkevičius – Commissioner-designate Sinkevičius Environment and Oceans
- To achieve a healthy wild European eel population, Europe needs a more coordinated and integrated approach to its conservation and strengthened provisions of EU policies, aimed at reducing anthropogenic mortalities to a sustainable level. A reduction of fishing impacts alone will not achieve a sustainable management, and is unlikely to lead to recovery. Can the Commissioner-designate commit to prioritising the conservation of the eel? What does the Commissioner-designate plan to do to speed-up the implementation of protection, especially concerning the non-fishing impacts, which have hardly been reduced yet?
- The illegal export of European glass eels from Europe to Asia is a serious threat to species recovery efforts. Existing traceability systems across the EU are not sufficiently implemented to fully trace all eel trade even though Member States have been obliged to introduce adequate traceability systems since 2007 through Article 12 of the Eel Regulation. What does the Commissioner-designate propose in order to strengthen the implementation of article 12 to ensure the full traceability of eels at all life stages and to their final trade destination?
- The EU’s waters suffer from ongoing pressures from physical changes to surface waters, agriculture and other land use, industry and hydropower. How will the Commissioner-designate ensure that the pace of ecological improvement of water bodies in Europe will overtake the pace of their degradation?
- The EEA 2018 State of Water Report showed that good ecological status for European waters is still a long way to go. Large-scale measures for ecological restoration are needed to tackle the enduring pressures on rivers and wetlands. Remaining free-flowing rivers in Europe urgently need strong protection. Can the Commissioner-designate outline what steps will be taken to ensure that Member States achieve the 2027 deadline by significantly stepping up their efforts and funding in the third river basin management cycle?
- Turning back the clock on water body deterioration cannot be done without strong legislation. During the Fitness Check of the EU Water Legislation, 375,000+ European citizens have called on the European Commission to defend Europe’s strong water law, making the public consultation on the legislation one of the largest ever in the history of the European Union. Can the Commissioner-designate conclude that the Water Framework Directive is “fit for purpose” and that there is an urgent need for strengthening the Water Framework Directive’s implementation?
DEVE hearing of Jutta Urpilainen, Commissioner-designate for International Partnership
- Could the Commissioner designate commit to discuss, within the framework of a comprehensive strategy for Africa, a joint EU Africa plan for the sustainable management of natural resources to enhance resilience to climate change and in that discussion including to recognise Sahelian wetlands as critical natural assets to be safeguarded and restored?
AGRI hearing of Janusz Wojciechowski, Commissioner-designate for Agriculture
- How is the Commissioner planning to ensure the achievement of environmental and climate related objectives of the CAP, including wetlands/ peatlands protection? Would you commit to establish EU wide environmental and climate policy targets integrated into CAP to ensure ambitious efforts in the Member States? How would you include low-emission farming practices (e.g. paludiculture on peatlands) into the future CAP?