Von der Leyen: no brakes on Green Deal after Timmermans' departure

Chair Ursula von der Leyen wants to continue the climate agenda of her departing 'first man' Frans Timmermans unchanged and with full force. All Green Deal duties will be taken over with immediate effect by the current 'second' Vice-President, Slovak Commissioner Maros Sefkovic.

On the day Timmermans handed in his resignation yesterday, Von der Leyen made it clear that the European Environment and Climate Agenda should not be delayed in any way. She also considers the Green Deal her own showpiece. In any case, von der Leyen cannot afford to let the green agenda get bogged down in the last months leading up to the European elections.

In recent weeks, there has been speculation in Brussels that the remaining environmental and climate laws of Timmermans would be put 'on the back burner', and would thus be lifted over the elections (June 2024). Von der Leyen could also have taken over the Green Deal herself, but instead she is now promoting her current second vice chairman to her new right-hand man.

Timmermans' other tasks will be redistributed at a later date. That depends not only on the appointment of a new Dutch supervisory director, but also on the premature departure of Danish supervisory director Vestaeger. She will probably become president of the European Investment Bank later this year.

Moreover, it is not yet clear when the outgoing Rutte cabinet will put forward a successor for Timmermans. If a Dutch successor has been found, it will be determined in Brussels which portfolio will be assigned to it. It is already clear that the Dutch successor will not take over the position and duties of Timmermans, and that the Netherlands will therefore lose its top position within the European Commission.