Today, the European Parliament voted to elect a new European Commission led by President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker with 423 in favour, 209 against and 67 abstentions.
Changes to pharmaceutical and medical device portfolios announced
Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) Europe strongly welcomes the decision announced today by the President-elect to reverse the transfer of portfolios for pharmaceuticals and medical devices to DG Enterprise and Industry. Mr Juncker indicated that he had received requests to reverse the move, which had convinced him to act accordingly.
In September, HCWH Europe was one of over 30 organisations to sign an open letter requesting the return of these files to the responsibility of the Commissioner for Health. We also outlined our concerns surrounding the impact on public health and the environment on our blog. We are extremely pleased that Mr Juncker has listened to our collective concerns and has acted to protect the health of all EU citizens by reversing his decision on pharmaceuticals and medical devices.
Concerns remain over climate and energy
At the parliamentary hearings for Commissioners designate, which took place in previous weeks, the candidates failed to present convincing guarantees that climate policy will not play an inferior role in the envisaged new European Energy Union. Today’s confirmation that the controversial candidate Miguel Arias Cañete will form part of the new College of Commissioners as Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy further adds to these fears. Furthermore, we are no closer to understanding what the ambiguous concept of an Energy Union will mean in practice.
We are not convinced that the proposed structure with a Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy and a Vice-President, both in charge of overlapping issues, is the way forward. It is very alarming that as a result of the reshuffle of portfolios the EU is taking a step back on climate change during the run up to the landmark Paris COP 21 negotiations. It is also probable that this will affect the level of ambition seen in the EU 2030 climate and energy package.
New Commission from November 2014
The new Commission will begin its five-year term on 1 November. HCWH Europe will continue to work to ensure that protection of health and the environment is a paramount concern for the incoming Commission over the next five years.