Sunday 25 August 2019

Greens critical of 'lack of ambition on climate change'


Ciarán Cuffe: Says Von der Leyen is a “defence hawk”. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Ciarán Cuffe: Says Von der Leyen is a “defence hawk”. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

The Green Party is set to oppose Ursula von der Leyen's ratification as the next European Commission president accusing her of "lacking ambition on climate change".

Dublin MEP Ciarán Cuffe made the remarks ahead of the vote in Strasbourg today.

The ratification of Ms Von der Leyen to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker is expected to be close.

She will get the backing of the vast majority of the 182 MEPs from her own grouping, the European People's Party (EEP), but it's unclear how much support she has among the Socialists, who have 153 seats.

Ms Von der Leyen needs at least 376 votes to get over the line but more than 400 would be preferable to show she has broad support.

The Green Party's European Parliament group has 75 members including Mr Cuffe and his Ireland South colleague Grace O'Sullivan. They are poised to oppose her ratification today.

Mr Cuffe told the Irish Independent: "She's lacking in ambition on climate change."

He also claimed she is a "defence hawk" for her push to increase military spending in Germany.

He suggested the pledge Ms Von der Leyen made yesterday to prioritise making Europe the first climate neutral continent by 2050 does not go far enough.

Sinn Féin's Matt Carty has said he will be voting against her and Independents Mick Wallace, Clare Daly and Luke 'Ming' Flanagan are expected to do the same.

Fine Gael's four sitting MEPs - who are in the EPP group - will be supporting Ms Von der Leyen. Mairead McGuinness last night said "a close vote is expected".

She defended Ms Von der Leyen's position on climate action pointing to her commitment to reduced CO2 emissions by at least 50pc by 2030.

Ms McGuinness also said Ms Von der Leyen "favours a European Defence Union, but it has not been a major part of her policy platform".

Irish Independent

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