European Commissioner for Energy

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European Commissioner
for Energy
Miguel Arias Cañete

since August 2014
AppointerJean-Claude Juncker[1]
Term lengthFive years
Inaugural holderGünther Oettinger
Salary€19,909.89 per month[2][3]
WebsiteEuropean Commission

The Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Union is a member of the European Commission. The current Commissioner is Miguel Arias Cañete. He is not to be confused with the Commissioner for the Energy Union, Maroš Šefčovič.


The Commissioner holds responsibility for the European Union's energy policy as well as nuclear issues (Euratom). It was previously a backwater in the Commission but has now become sought-after as the European energy policy has been developed. The Commissioner for Energy has to deal with ongoing gas disputes between Russia and Ukraine which threaten European supplies, reduce dependence on Russian energy and reduce carbon emissions.[4]

The Directorate-General serving this Commissioner is the Directorate-General for Energy, which was combined with Transport prior to 2010.

Miguel Arias Cañete (incumbent)[edit]

He is a Spanish aristocrat and a politician of the centre-right.

A member of the Partido Popular, Arias served as Minister for Agriculture, Food and Environment in the Spanish Government from 2011 until 2014, before being selected to head his Party List in the European Parliamentary elections.[5]

Arias Cañete was nominated as EU Commissioner for Energy and Climate Action in the Juncker Commission and took office on 1 November 2014.[6]

Günther Oettinger (2010-2014)[edit]

Günther Oettinger was appointed as the new Energy Commissioner in February 2010. However he was criticised for corruption and avoidance of EU law in his home state.[7] His language skills have also been criticised[8] and his nomination was met with confusion in Brussels.[9]

Andris Piebalgs (2004–2010)[edit]

During his hearing with the European Parliament, Piebalgs stressed the importance of the environment in energy policy and was cautious of nuclear power. He received strong backing from the Parliament. He outlined his priorities as;[10]

  1. Achieving a true internal market
  2. Energy efficiency: everyone can make a difference
  3. Increase the share of renewable energy
  4. Increased investments in technology
  5. Safety and security of nuclear power
  6. Make it easier for Member States to help each other in energy crisis
  7. Developing external energy policy relations

The European Union is an active supporter of the Kyoto Protocol, which it signed alongside its member-states. In March 2007 the Union committed itself to cut CO2 emissions by 20 percent by 2020.[11] There is also a desire to reduce dependency on Russian energy supplies following the disputes between Russia and Belarus and Ukraine. (See also: Russia-Belarus energy dispute, Russia-Ukraine gas dispute.) In April 2007 five southern European countries signed a deal to build an oil pipeline (the Pan-European Oil Pipeline) from the Black Sea to Italy which will help diversify energy sources.[12]

Piebalgs head of cabinet is Andris Ķesteris, his deputy head is Christopher Jones and his spokesperson is Ferran Tarradellas.

List of commissioners[edit]

Name Country Period Commission
1 Wilhelm Haferkamp  West Germany 1967–1970 Rey Commission
2 1970–1972 Malfatti Commission
3 1972–1973 Mansholt Commission
4 Henri François Simonet  Belgium 1973–1977 Ortoli Commission
5 Guido Brunner  West Germany 1977–1981 Jenkins Commission
6 Étienne Davignon  Belgium 1981–1985 Thorn Commission
7 Nicolas Mosar  Luxembourg 1985–1989 Delors Commission I
8 António Cardoso e Cunha  Portugal 1989–1993 Delors Commission II
9 Marcelino Oreja  Spain 1993–1994 Delors Commission III
10 Abel Matutes  Spain 1994–1995 Delors Commission III
11 Christos Papoutsis  Greece 1995–1999 Santer Commission
12 Loyola de Palacio  Spain 1999–2004 Prodi Commission
13 Andris Piebalgs  Latvia 2004–2010 Barroso Commission I
14 Günther Oettinger  Germany 2010–2014 Barroso Commission II
15 Miguel Arias Cañete  Spain 2014–onwards Juncker Commission

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Arias Cañete was proposed by the Government of Spain. The whole Commission was then nominated by the Council of the European Union and approved by the European Parliament.
  3. ^ Base salary of grade 16, third step is €17,697.68: European Commission: Officials' salaries – Retrieved 19 March 2010
  4. ^ Who’s who in the new Commission, Financial Times November 2009
  5. ^
  6. ^ (2 October 2014) Cañete’s hearing spells trouble for Juncker Euractiv Network
  7. ^ "Patronage at Home: The Cronyism of Germany's European Commission Candidate Oettinger". Der Spiegel.
  8. ^ "European commissioner Oettinger – German politician ridiculed YouTube terrible English – News" (in German). 28 January 2010.
  9. ^ "Günther Who?: EU Perplexed by Germany's Choice of Oettinger as Commissioner". Der Spiegel.
  10. ^ "The Commissioners – Profiles, Portfolios and Homepages". European Commission.
  11. ^ "Europe | EU agrees on carbon dioxide cuts". BBC News. 9 March 2007.
  12. ^ "Black Sea oil pipeline to start flowing by 2012". EurActiv. 7 April 2007.

External links[edit]