EU climate policy guru, Frans Timmermans, resigns

frans timmermans

Frans Timmermans, the European Commission’s Executive Vice-President, has resigned from his post. He will now head up a Greens-Labour coalition in his native country in a bid to become the Netherlands’ next Prime Minister.   

Frans Timmermans has made a name for himself in the European Commission as being a strong and vocal advocate of climate change policies. As the Executive Vice-President, he has spent the past decade in Brussels working on, amongst other things, the EU’s Green Deal.  


Timmermans was responsible for the 2019 Green Deal, earning him the moniker of climate “czar”. He has led the adoption of landmark new policies across the bloc that will ensure Europe’s ambitious 2050 climate neutrality goals are met and has also been a strong negotiator on the international scene, with a highlight being his brokering of a deal during the 2022 COP27 summit in Sharm el-Sheikh.  

Additionally, the 62-year-old was instrumental in forming the EC’s biodiversity and circular economy strategies. 


“I thank Frans Timmermans for his passionate and tireless work to make the European Green Deal a reality,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement on Tuesday. “Thanks to his excellent contribution and strong personal engagement, we have made great strides towards meeting the EU’s objectives to become the first climate-neutral continent and towards raising the levels of climate ambition globally.” 

He is leaving the Green Deal in the capable hands of Maroš Šefčovič, the Commission’s Vice-President for Inter-Institutional Relations and Foresight and a former EU energy chief. The Slovak will also be temporarily in charge of the Netherlands’ Climate Action Policy until a new Dutch commissioner takes over.  


Timmermans is going back to his native country, the Netherlands, to head up an alliance between the Greens and Labour ahead of elections on 22nd November. He announced his intentions to run in the election in July, following the breakdown of Mark Rutte’s outgoing government. Rutte had been the Prime Minister of the Netherlands since 2010. He is currently acting in a “demissionary” capacity.  

The coalition between the Greens and Labour is leading the polls, with just over 17% favouring them, beating out the centre-right People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy so long headed up by Rutte.  

The loss of Timmermans will be felt in EU politics, with President von der Leyen saying, “Frans Timmermans’ contribution to the work of the Commission and to the European project goes beyond the European Green Deal. He has contributed to shaping many of the Commission’s initiatives, in a true collegial style.” 


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Photo source: EC