Dutch Farmer-Citizen Movement BBB party leader for European Elections Sander Smit wants the Green Deal out, at all costs. EPA-EFE/ROB ENGELAAR

News Vote 24

Von der Leyen must kill Green Deal to remain EC chief, farmers’ party warns

Sander Smit, who leads the European faction of BBB, said he wanted to see "a fundamental change of direction" in the European Union.


Ursula von der Leyen can only remain European Commission President if she kills the Green Deal, the Dutch Farmer-Citizen Movement (BBB) has said.

Despite the group’s intention to partner the European People’s Party (EPP), Sander Smit, who leads the European faction of BBB, said he wanted to see “a fundamental change of direction” in the European Union.

Asked on May 31 whether the BBB would be willing to support the reappointment of von der Leyen, Smit said the party would only do so if she dropped the Green Deal.

Otherwise, it would vote to replace her.

“A real change of direction is needed, for farmers and also for industry,” he said, warning that economies across the bloc had been damaged by EU “green” measures.

“In the current European policy, food security, energy security, safety, and the strengthening of competitiveness are at stake.”

He claimed that von der Leyen did not do enough to challenge the influence of her former environmental commissioner, Frans Timmermans.

“There have been some cosmetic corrections, but the destruction of the European countryside only intensifies,” Smit said, adding that BBB support would be contingent on von der Leyen committing to do more to reverse the decline.

The politician’s declaration came on the brink of BBB reportedly joining the EPP.

While Smit refused to outline any details of the possible deal, he has mentioned that EPP leaders would soon visit the Netherlands to finalise formalities ahead of the European Parliament elections later in June.

He added that his party’s decision to only conditionally support von der Leyen would not negatively impact its accession into the centre-right group.

Once inside the group, Smit also said that his party would push for further co-operation across the Right.

“We want to join the EPP, but we want a broad centre-right co-operation,” he said, citing how his party helped Geert Wilders build a pan-right coalition in the Netherlands.

“We want to be the binding agent in Brussels, just like we are in The Hague, in order to… get rid of that failed migration policy, and an overreaching Green Deal.”