To Mr Juncker

President of the European Commission

Brussels, 29 September 2014

Open letter regarding Commissioner-designate Mr Miguel Arias Cañete

Dear Mr President,

We are very concerned by the political profile of some of the candidates to the College of Commissioners, but with this letter we would like to highlight the case of Mr Miguel Arias Cañete, the Commissioner-designate for Climate Action and Energy.

There are plenty of facts that raise serious doubts about Mr Cañete's suitability to be in charge of this policy area. Some of them were brought to light during his tenure as Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Environment in Spain:
-He promoted the coastal law reform, that not only was a step forward for a model based on savage urbanization and environmental destruction, but that introduced significant changes clearly to satisfy private interests related to the Popular Party;
-He is a strong defender of nuclear energy;
-As Minister, when dealing with the CAP reform, he fought against the greening elements of it;
-He has publicly stated his support for fracking and oil prospecting;
-Mr Arias Cañete introduced changes in the electrical legislation that had as a dramatic consequence major price increases, worsening the energy poverty situation of millions of families in Spain;
-He modified the legislation related to renewable energies with the clear aim of favouring big corporations. The effects of this reform devastated such an important sector in terms of environment and climate change.

But to all these “achievements” as Minister, we must add the fact that there is a clear conflict of interest. He only renounced his involvement in two big petrol companies, DUCAR s.l. and Petrologic Canarias, two days before he was nominated as a candidate. Besides, even though he sold his shares in the companies, it is his family who holds the rest of them. DUCAR profits from “bunkering” – a very dangerous practice that the EP has taken issue with in the past.

If these are not enough reasons, Mr Arias Cañete was at the centre of one of the most controversial episodes of the recent European Election campaign. As head of the Popular Party list, in a public debate he stated that as a man it was difficult to debate with a woman because he could not show his “intellectual superiority”. These declarations brought to light his repulsive sexism.

For all these reason, Mr Juncker, we do believe that Mr Arias Cañete is not suitable to be the Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy and we ask you to reconsider and withdraw your proposal.

Yours sincerely,

Gabi Zimmer

GUE/NGL President

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