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Jun 9, 2023 | Latest News, Press Releases | 0 comments

ICSA president Dermot Kelleher has said he is shocked and appalled at news of EU Commission interference in the decision making of EU parliamentarians regarding the Nature Restoration Law. “The conduct of the EU Commission and its Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans is totally unacceptable. A red line has been crossed and they must be held accountable.  There is a real question mark about whether the position of Vice President Timmermans is now tenable and Commissioner Sinkevicius will have to account for the actions of DG Envi officials,” he said.

Mr Kelleher made his comments following revelations the EU Commission, through the European Business & Biodiversity platform (managed by DG Envi), has actively lobbied member businesses to harass MEPs with e-mails and supplied briefing toolkits to assist an email campaign advocating in favour of a hard-line approach to the Nature Restoration Law.

Further revelations from the EPP party allege that Vice-President Timmermans threatened EPP MEPs that their legislative priorities would be hindered if they did not back the proposed Nature Restoration Law.  “Farmers are guardians of the countryside and its biodiversity.  This is where they live and work and many would be willing to do more if only Brussels would engage in a constructive fashion and listen to their concerns.”

“Instead, they are aghast at a draconian approach, encompassed in the Nature Restoration proposals which ultimately will put some farmers out of business.  They have already witnessed the vindictive approach to Dutch farmers who have been told they will never be allowed farm anywhere in the EU ever again if they agree to sell their land to the Dutch government.  There is a real concern that this kind of utterly pointless and nasty approach is spreading in Brussels corridors and this latest revelation will further fuel this fear.”

“This is totally out of order in our view. The EU Commission is just one of the three institutional partners in the EU law making process. It has a very specific mandate to draft legislative proposals and it is also has the key role to – independently of the member states – oversee the implementation of  EU policies, regulations and directives in the first instance.” 

“The making of EU laws (eg regulations, directives) is a matter for a three-way process (in practice trilogues) between the institutions under what is formally known as the co-decision procedure. This three-way process is set out in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and it must be respected by members of the EU Institutions at all costs.”

“Many citizens are concerned at the perceived democratic deficit in the European Union. However, solving this is not as simple as giving more powers to the parliament or some other electoral process.  But it is clear that citizens’ concerns will not be assuaged by the EU Commission interfering with the existing arrangements. 

It is unacceptable that directly elected MEPs would be subjected to this interference and intimidation.  It is up to the EU Commission to persuade MEPs and the Council regarding legislation using the proper negotiating channels, and to respect the right of the other institutions to propose amendments or to disagree more fundamentally.”

Mr Kelleher said, “For a long time now, ICSAhas been of the view that Mr Timmermans is out of control and wields too much power for one individual at a time when there is increasing unease that “Brussels” is getting completely detached from the views of the citizens it is meant to serve. I strongly feel that Mr Timmermans’ position is now untenable.  Phil Hogan was pushed out for less.”


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