European Commission appoints pro-industry Stoiber to oversee cutting of EU laws

18 December 2014

European citizens and environment at risk from new agenda, warns Friends of the Earth Europe

Commenting on the announcement today by the European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and his vice president Frans Timmermans of the appointment of Edmund Stoiber as a new Special Advisor for Better Regulation, Magda Stoczkiewicz, director of Friends of the Earth Europe, said:

“There is a chilling de-regulation wind blowing through the European Commission that will have major implications for basic laws that protect people and the planet. The appointment of Edmund Stoiber as special adviser, with his pro-industry and anti-environment background, raises major concerns about the direction president Juncker is taking the European Union.

“With the withdraw this week of legislation that would have protected human health, increased new green jobs and reduced our overconsumption of resources, it is clear that corporations are being put before the well-being of citizens and the environment. Appointing Stoiber to oversee cutting further legislation will be like putting the fox in charge of the hen house.” 

For the last seven years Edmund Stoiber was chairing the High Level Group on Administrative Burden which published its final report in October this year. Within the report was a strong dissenting opinion from civil society groups representing consumers, trade unions, health and the environment.

The dissenting opinion argues that Stoiber’s pursuit of reduced overall costs of regulation on business will come at the expense of health, safety and environmental protection that these regulations provide. Stoiber completely disregarded a report prepared for his own group showing that environmental legislation constitutes less than 1% of administrative burden.

In 2012, as chair of the high level group Stoiber personally lobbied to weaken the tobacco products directive by promoting exemptions and long transition periods for small and medium-sized companies, ignoring the potential health benefits of stricter tobacco regulation.

The Commission’s announcement of Stoiber’s appointment today also mentions changes to the Impact Assessment Board and its transition into a Regulatory Scrutiny Board with external members. This follows the Stoiber group’s recommendation and is opposed by non-government organisations  as the board risks becoming  a “kill mechanism” for new environmental, health and safety legislation and a body prone to industry lobbying.