On September 10, 2014 the new European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced his team of European commissioners for the next legislative period. Their portofolios indicate a prominent role of deregulation, jobs, growth, and economy. No separate Directorate General (DG) Environment will be created, but rather DG Environment will be merged with DG Maritime Affairs and Fisheries. Some of its responsibilities will be redistributed to DG Entreprise and DG Health. As such, in future the biocides regulation will be the responsibility of DG Health. Of the new commissioner’s portofolios only the Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs’ portofolio mentions chemicals. Juncker also modified the previous structure of the commission establishing a college of 7 vice-presidents. Each vice-president leads a project team coordinating the work of a number of commissioners. The first vice-president, Frans Timmermans, is responsible for a better regulation agenda, and new legislation will require his approval.
In response to the announcement, 10 directors of environmental advocacy organizations have sent an open letter to President Juncker expressing concern that the new agenda will lead to a de facto shut-down of environmental policies. In their letter, they point to a lack of any reference to the environment in the responsibilities of the vice-presidents and criticize that the future DG Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries is asked to revise all major legislative initiatives currently underway.
European Commission (September 15, 2014). “The Juncker Commission: A strong and experienced team standing for change.”
HEAL (September 11, 2014). “Green 10 open letter: New Commission sidelining environment.”