The European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy
Miguel Arias Cañete
Taking over as European commissioner for climate and energy just over a year ago, Miguel Arias Cañete had a full portfolio: plans for an unprecedented “energy union” across the EU; reinvigorating Europe’s energy industry amid the recession and Euro crises; and the COP 21. So far, he has pressed forward with all three.
A genial man, with a background as a conservative politician, the Spaniard gives every appearance of enjoying his role, and his relationships with Latin America are undoubtedly helpful. Latin America will play a key role, as some of those nations – notably Bolivia, Venezuela and Nicaragua – have sought to obstruct agreement in the past, while others are more willing to compromise. Cañete seems to have ridden out early controversies and objections to his role from campaigners, who were angered by his previous large shareholdings in oil companies, now sold.
But his affable manner should not fool his counterparts into thinking the EU will be a pushover – he has stated firmly that Europe will not accept a weak deal. “There is no plan B if Paris should fail,” he told the Guardian earlier this year, and he has repeated his determination since.