MEPs set to probe Wallström on green priorities

EU environment commissioner-designate faces questions on CO2 tax, GMOs, enlargement

The EU's nominated new environment commissioner, Margot Wallström of Sweden, will be asked to state her opinion on carbon dioxide taxation, genetically modified organisms and EU enlargement during questioning by MEPs in Brussels next month. Like all the other candidates put forward by president-designate Romano Prodi, Ms Wallström faces scrutiny before Parliament votes on whether to accept the new Commission team. Most of the questions have been submitted in advance by the Parliament's environment committee and are available on the Commission's website. They relate to how Ms Wallström would achieve the integration of environmental aims into other policy areas and when such aims would take priority. She will also be asked to suggest ways of improving implementation of EU law by member states and to give her views on whether the European Commission should have greater powers to ensure that environmental inspections are effective. MEPs also want to know if she will push her colleagues to come forward with a proposed directive on environmental liability - a dossier that MEPs have called for many times, but which has failed to emerge. Although Commission experts will brief Ms Wallström on these issues before the hearing in the first week of September, environment committee members will have a chance to pose some impromptu questions as well.

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