Cañete would be wrong man in wrong job

8 October 2014

MEPs should reject Climate and Energy Commissioner

Friends of the Earth Europe is today calling on the European Parliament to reject Miguel Arias Cañete as the new EU Commissioner for Climate and Energy.

The call comes ahead of a vote this evening by MEPs on the parliament's environment and industry committees.

Mr Arias Cañete has a long history of alleged conflicts of interest as a politician in Spain and as a member of the European Parliament. Mr Cañete held shares in oil companies which he has recently sold, but his family continues to be involved in the oil industry [1] and this continues to represent a conflict of interest according to Friends of the Earth Europe.

His role as an administrator of one of the official representatives of the Spanish subsidiary of a Panama-based company Angelmo Operational Corp also remains a concern, given the fact that Panama was on the Spanish list of recognised tax havens between 1991 and 2013.

More than half a million European citizens have signed a petition against Mr Cañete's appointment as the EU's top civil servant for climate change.

The grave concerns about Mr Cañete are part of a bigger picture of serious doubts about the whole direction of the new European Commission as proposed by the President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker. The Green 10 coalition of leading environment groups has called for the whole Commission to be rejected unless it is restructured to prioritise the interest of citizens and our environment over business interests. [5]

Magda Stoczkiewicz, director of Friends of the Earth Europe said: "Mr Cañete's many years as an oil man and his family's continued involvement in oil companies make him an unsuitable candidate for European commissioner for climate. It is Friends of the Earth Europe's opinion that his family ties to the oil sector continue to represent a conflict of interest.

"Europe needs effective, dedicated leadership to help us rise to the challenge of climate change and lead our transition to a clean energy future. Given his track record, Mr Cañete's trustworthiness to lead on the crucial climate and energy dossier is seriously in doubt.

"For the credibility of the EU institutions, the parliament must reject Mr Cañete and demand a rethink of the Commission structure. Europe deserves candidates, and a whole Commission, which is equipped to put the long-term interests and well-being of citizens first as it takes on some of the greatest challenges of or times."



[1] Arias Canete held a stake in two oil companies, Petrolifera Ducar and Petrologis Canarias, until September 2014. He acted as chairman of the two oil companies from 2005 to 2011. His brother-in-law and family continue to control both oil companies.