Frans Timmermans, the European Commission’s former “green” tsar, has lashed out at the political Right for daring to criticise his green agenda.
The senior Eurocrat abandoned the EC earlier this year to take part in the Dutch elections, with the Left-wing politician centring much of his party’s campaign around fighting climate change.
Speaking to The Guardian, Timmermans denounced attempts by members of the political Right to point out the sizeable cost of his green-transition plans, accusing them of being hypocritical.
“It’s quite astonishing to see people who generally have not shown a lot of consideration for people with low incomes to all of a sudden become the champions of people with low incomes, fighting climate policy,” he said.
“The threat to progressives, to the Left, is that this contradiction between social justice and climate justice is exploited by the Right and is divisive for the Left.”
Timmermans took particular aim at British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for being against net-zero efforts, claiming that “radicals seem to be taking over” the UK’s ruling Conservative Party.
"The Poles viewed this as a case of weaponized migration and quickly built a border wall, initially opposed by the main opposition."
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) September 18, 2023
He also slammed the country’s Home Secretary Suella Braverman over what he said was her rhetorical approach to Britain’s migration crisis.
Timmermans accused the senior Tory MP of not respecting the values of “Western democracy” in a recent speech during which she warned about a “hurricane” of mass migration coming to the UK.
The former EC-tsar appeared keen not to look soft on immigration though, insisting that it was the job of progressive politicians to address the current asylum-claim surge plaguing Europe.
“Uncontrolled migration is one of the factors of insecurity in our society, so addressing it is a responsibility of the Left as much as it is of the Right,” he said.
“We need a responsible migration policy, starting with the international agreements we have.”
The Dutchman’s apparent shift of stance has been reflected in other parts of European politics. Both centrist and Left-wing government officials are becoming increasingly keen to appear to be doing something to tighten Europe’s borders.
So far, such rhetoric has not been met with much action. A leaked report from the European Commission shows that asylum claims into the EU are nearing the record high seen in 2016.
Countries that have taken tougher positions on migration are also not happy with Brussels’ performance over the issue. Authorities in Hungary, Poland and Italy have all taken pot-shots at Eurocrats regarding their failure to stop the surge.
Migration and interior ministers from the five European Union nations most impacted by illegal migration from the Mediterranean want more help to tackle the problem. https://t.co/XHnXybVKJQ
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) October 9, 2023