European Parliament’s new IMCO chair told she has ‘big shoes to fill’

Newly appointed Committee chair Anna Cavazzini says Coronavirus crisis has shown that achievements of the EU’s internal market shouldn’t be taken for granted.
Anna Cavazzini | Photo credit: European Parliament Audiovisual

By Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at the Parliament Magazine

29 Oct 2020

The new chair of one of parliament’s most influential committees has been told she has “big shoes to fill.”

Anna Cavazzini succeeds Petra De Sutter as chair of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) Committee. De Sutter has moved to the new Belgian government as Deputy Prime Minister.

She was unopposed as chair because European Parliament committee chairs for the current legislative period have already been proportionally distributed among the institution’s political groups.

Responding, Dita Charanzová, the Renew Europe group’s coordinator in IMCO, told this site, "I am looking forward to working with her. She has big shoes to fill taking over from Petra De Sutter. She must be strong with other committees to ensure that the single market remains the focus of all future digital and consumer legislation."

The S&D group’s IMCO coordinator, Christel Schaldemose, also told this website, “First of all, I would like to congratulate Cavazzini on being appointed as chair. We have important files to deal with, we have a pandemic on our hands, we have negotiations coming up, and while tackling these challenges, we must also make sure that citizens’ rights and their protection are never overlooked.”

“The single market and its integrity is now more important to preserve than ever. I look very much forward to a fruitful and close cooperation with the chair and all political groups in the committee addressing the challenges we are facing. “

"I am looking forward to working with her [Anna Cavazzini]. She has big shoes to fill taking over from Petra De Sutter" Dita Charanzová MEP

Cavazzini herself said she was “very pleased and grateful for the confidence of my colleagues.”

She added, “The Coronavirus crisis has shown that we cannot take the achievements of the internal market for granted. Closed borders and interrupted supply chains call into question the very essence of European integration.”

"In the committee we are filling the EU's Green Deal with life and our decisions are close to the everyday lives of citizens. High standards in the areas of social standards and environmental and consumer protection will drive the implementation of the Green Deal forward and serve consumers, whether in terms of product safety or repairability and a more sustainable product policy in the circular economy.”

She continued, “High standards must also guide us in the digital transformation with the Digital Services Act, which must benefit Europeans and companies alike.”

The German Greens/EFA deputy added, "I will work to ensure that the committee is a central place for political discourse on the challenges of the green and digital transformation and to seek an exchange of views with stakeholders and citizens and to strengthen confidence in the EU through a high level of consumer protection."

"The single market and its integrity is now more important to preserve than ever. I look very much forward to a fruitful and close cooperation with the chair [Anna Cavazzini] and all political groups in the committee" Christel Schaldemose MEP

She is also vice chair of Parliament's Brazil delegation who also co-leads the German Green delegation.

Meanwhile, at a meeting of the committee on Monday, members addressed the issue of unsafe products – particularly those sold on online marketplaces. This includes products that contain dangerous chemicals, have unsafe software, or pose other safety hazards.

Members said they want online platforms and marketplaces to take “proactive” measures to tackle misleading practices and demand that EU rules on product safety should be “enforced robustly.”

Compliance with product safety rules must be ensured, for products circulating in the EU and manufactured either in the EU or outside it, according to a resolution adopted by the committee.

Members also asked the European Commission to consider labelling products and services according to their durability. To reduce electronic waste, MEPs also called for a common charger system.

According to a recent Eurobarometer poll, 77 per cent of EU citizens would rather repair their devices than replace them, while 79 per cent think that manufacturers should be required to make it easier to repair digital devices or replace their individual parts.

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