Parliament’s IMCO Committee can have ‘central role’ in tackling climate change, says nominated chair

Anna Cavazzini has been nominated by the Greens to become the next chair of the influential Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee after the departure of Petra De Sutter.
Anna Cavazzini

By Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at the Parliament Magazine

19 Oct 2020

The IMCO election of a new chair takes place on 26 October and it is highly unlikely that someone will run against Cavazzini or that she will not get elected because committee chairs have been proportionally distributed among the groups.

The chair became vacant after Petra De Sutter moved to the new Belgian government to undertake her new role as Deputy Prime Minister.

In an exclusive interview with this website, 37-year-old Cavazzini, who was elected only last year, said, “With my cooperative style in doing politics and my extensive negotiation skills also from my former work experience within the UN and the German foreign ministry, I feel well equipped to take over the tasks ahead as chair of the committee.”

Chairing the IMCO committee is a much sought-after post among MEPs and the political groups in Parliament, not least because of the importance of the single market in EU decision making.

Cavazzini noted, “I want to fill this role with a lot of determination when defending IMCO's interests externally, and moderation in case of conflicts within or with other committees.”

“I have a lot of passion for giving IMCO a central role in the debate of the Green and digital transformation under the EU Green deal in a close exchange with civil society.”

“With my cooperative style in doing politics and my extensive negotiation skills also from my former work experience within the UN and the German foreign ministry, I feel well equipped to take over the tasks ahead as chair of the committee”

When asked about the main challenges and issues facing IMCO and the single market, Cavazzini, who previously worked as an advisor to Greens co-leader Ska Keller, replied, “In IMCO, we are filling the EU Green Deal with life.”

The deputy, who has been working in the International Trade Committee, commented, “We are working on the new challenges that digitisation brings, such as regulation platforms within the Digital Services Act or a more sustainable product policy within the framework of circular economy. It is our task to make these transformations a success story for the economy.”

“With a focus on consumer protection, IMCO is also always close to EU citizens who will notice the results of our legislative work right away in their everyday lives. IMCO thus also plays a role in bringing EU decision making close to the people.”

She said the Coronavirus crisis had “brought huge challenges to the single market with interrupted supply chains and closed borders that affected citizens and small businesses in border regions alike.”

The MEP, elected in last year’s European elections representing constituencies in Saxony and Saxony-anhalt, neighbouring the Polish and Czech borders, also raised the issue of Brexit and the so-called “level playing field” on trade.

The talks collapsed last week with the two sides unable, so far, to iron out their differences on a possible trade deal.

“I have a lot of passion for giving IMCO a central role in the debate of the Green and digital transformation under the EU Green deal in a close exchange with civil society”

Cavazzini, vice chair of Parliament's Brazil delegation who also co-leads the German Green delegation, said, “In the near future it has to be our main goal to maintain and improve the functioning of the single market. Any EU-UK deal must not harm the integrity of our internal market and our high social and environmental standards must not be undermined.”

On the stalled Brexit talks, which may be resumed this week, she said, “The Parliament's position is clear and supports the negotiating mandate: the integrity of the single market, consumer protection, climate and environmental standards are central for the EU in the negotiations of the future relations.”

She went on, “In order to secure these standards in the future, a level playing field has to be established by dynamic alignment. We will need to do everything to prevent social and environmental dumping in our neighbourhood. Our high standards are what makes our market so valuable for EU citizens and businesses. It is our task to prevent unfair competition in this regard.”

Asked what she hopes to achieve if, as expected, she is elected next week, she answered, “I would like to see the IMCO Committee as a central space for the political discourse about the future challenges of the Green and digital transformation - not only within Parliament but also in exchange with civil society, other stakeholders and citizens.”

“I would like to drive the agenda and facilitate the discussions and decisions in the Committee for example on how to deepen the single market while maintaining high social and environmental standards on local and regional level, on how to make the single market fit for the green deal and how to increase EU citizens’ trust in the EU through high levels of consumer protection.”

She added, “I am delighted with the confidence my group has shown in me and I thank Petra De Sutter for her successful work and her dedicated commitment as committee chair.”

“The European internal market will be the cornerstone of the digital transformation and the Green Deal. If elected, I would like to involve civil society even more, make the Committee a place of lively public debate and bring the full weight of the Committee to bear in upcoming decisions on digitisation, consumer protection and a sustainable internal market.”

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