Research by campaign group Global Witness has uncovered links between three EU commissioners to companies linked with highly pollutant activities.
Research by campaign group Global Witness has uncovered links between three EU commissioners to companies linked with highly pollutant activities. This comes despite Mrs von der Leyen having ordered member states to be carbon neutral by 2050. The top EU official told bloc nations to “practise sustainability” for her European Green Deal.
But analysis, published by the Euractiv news website, found that the bloc’s most senior foreign diplomat had links to a number of firms associated with fossil fuels.
Josep Borrell served on the board of Spanish energy firm Abengoa between 2009 and 2016.
The company was involved in the construction of combined-cycle gas turbine power plants.
During his stint with Abengoa, Mr Borrell received up to €300,000 a year.
The Spaniard was forced to resign as the president of the European University Institute after failing to declare his interest in the firm in 2012.
Mr Borrell holds a master’s degree in oil economics and was an engineer for Spanish petrol giant Cepsa.
Global Witness said: “Borrell’s history with Abengoa raises questions for a politician so closely involved in European environmental policy.
“As the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, Borrell represented the bloc at COP25 in 2019.”
EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides has family ties to a firm that refines oil.
While Ms Kyriakides does not have direct professional ties, her declaration of interests shows that her husband was director at Motor Oil Holdings and Petroventure Holdings.
The two Cypriot companies together own a 40 percent stake in Motor Oil Hellas, a large Greek oil refining and trading business.
The company operates the largest privately held industrial complex in Greece and processes 186,000 barrels of crude oil a day.
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Global Witness said: “There is no suggestion that Valean’s connections to Patriciu influenced her work in the European Parliament.
“But her closeness to the industry raises broader questions about her priorities and suitability for a Commission post of key significance for carbon emissions.”
German MEP Daniel Freund called for EU commissioners to be held to higher standards than the ones currently in place.
The green campaigner said: “Policies implemented by the EU Commission must follow guidelines to contribute to the common good and cannot be shaped by major economic players.
“Possible conflicts of interest of some commissioners must be prevented.
“Unfortunately, it is the Commission itself that checks for possible conflicts of interests of its commissioners.”
The Commission rules state that a “conflict of interest does not exist where a member is only concerned as a member of the general public or of a broad class of persons”.
A spokesman added: “This applies also to family members.
“None of the three members of the College referred to are directly in charge of energy and climate policy.”