Public Hearing Set for 2024 After Petition by “Fossil Free Politics” Coalition
Belgium (Brussels Morning Newspaper), In a significant development, the European Parliament is set to conduct a public hearing to investigate what has been labeled as “undue influence” by fossil fuel companies on the European Commission’s response to the energy crisis. This move, endorsed by the Parliament’s Petitions Committee, comes after a petition by the “Fossil Free Politics” coalition garnered support from over 91 civil society organizations.
The petition, submitted on October 24, was accompanied by research that sheds light on “the substantial influence the fossil fuel industry has had on the European Commission, including over 200 meetings between top Commission officials and fossil fuel companies in the year following the Ukrainian invasion.” Following a majority vote by the PETI committee, the public hearing is scheduled for early 2024 and will feature expert speakers, Members of the European Parliament, and representatives from fossil fuel companies. The specific companies and panel members will be determined by the PETI committee in the coming month.
This development comes after a week of action by Fossil Free Politics members and allied trade unions operating under the name “People Over Polluters.” For these groups, this achievement is a long-awaited success after campaigning for a public hearing since 2022.
Chloé Mikolajczak, the coordinator for Fossil Free Politics, shared her thoughts on this decision. She emphasized, “At a time when the European Commission should have held fossil fuel companies accountable for their role in causing and profiteering from the energy crisis, instead they put them in the driving seat to lead the response. By calling a public hearing, the European Parliament has listened to the voices of over 100,000 individuals who say there is no room for fossil fuel influence in our politics. This is a first step toward holding fossil fuel companies accountable, but it’s time for systemic change.”
Mikolajczak added, “We need a conflict of interest framework, similar to that for tobacco companies, to be enshrined to ensure this does not happen again. Fossil-fueled interests have no place in our politics.”