Tuesday, it was finally decided, that the German Minister of Defense, Ursula von der Leyen, will become new President of the European Commission. She will take office on November 1st, and her election follows a candidacy, where energy and climate politics have been decisive topics.
In her speech to the European Parliament ahead of the vote, von der Leyen returned to the subject and promised a new green deal, which will make the EU carbon neutral by 2050. Furthermore, she stated that the EU should increase the ambitions on carbon emission cuts. The current target is, that the emission level in 2030 should be 40 % lower than the level in 1990. Von der Leyen would like to see this figure increased to 50 or 55 %.
Within 100 days, von der Leyen would like to have passed a climate law, and other efforts mentioned in her speech included a carbon border tax and an so-called “sustainable European investment bank”, which should provide support to renewable energy projects around Europe during the coming decade. These topics were necessary to make the left wing groups in the Parliament support von der Leyens candidacy.
Even though von der Leyen managed to get herself elected Commission president, it was a narrow majority of the Parliament that backed her. Following the vote, several MP’s called out von der Leyen for being too vague on her stances. Nonetheless, the EU likely faces changes to the climate policy during the coming months and years, changes that will likely have a big impact on the European power and energy markets.