• Spain's news in English

Spain's 'oil-stained' MEP 'won't be dumped'

Alex Dunham · 1 Oct 2014, 11:38

Published: 01 Oct 2014 11:38 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

At least 76 members of the European Parliament have signed a manifesto by left-wing Spanish parties calling for Cañete to be dumped from the Climate Action and Energy role.

The #StopCañete campaign comes just as the Spanish conservative politician is expected to be grilled by hesitant MEPs during his confirmation hearing in the European Parliament on Wednesday evening.

The former agriculture minister made headlines recently when he announced he would sell €320,000 ($414,000) worth of shares in two oil companies owned by his wife's family.

He claimed the move would avoid a "conflict of interests" given his new 'green' post but detractors remain convinced his background and persona are unsuitable for European policy making.

"We want to clearly manifest that his private links to the energy industry are completely incompatible with the position of Climate Action and Energy commissioner," reads the manifesto.

A flyer for the anti-Cañete event in Brussels on Wednesday 

Spearheaded by Spanish left-wing parties such as Podemos (We Can) and Izquierda Unida (United Left), the campaign will also see critics protest against his appointment in a protest action to be held hours before his confirmation hearing in Place Luxemburg, close to the European Parliament.

More than 240,000 people have also signed a separate online petition calling for "petrolhead" Cañete to be dropped as the EU's Climate Action and Energy commissioner.

But the general consensus is that Cañete will be named as the new commissioner despite recent controversies.

"There is a pact between the various parties in the European Parliament and that should see Cañete get through his exam," Miguel Angel Benedicto, Professor of Political Science at Universidad Europea de Madrid told The Local.    

"Effectively that means the left-wing parties will accept Cañete's candidacy if the conservatives say yes to (the French candidate for economic affairs commissioner) Pierre Moscovici," Benedicto explained.

"The position of the European Parliament is now also a relatively strong and stable after the election of Jean-Claude Juncker as the new European Commission president and no one wants to rock the boat," he added. 

Cañete's detractors have voiced their discontent toward sexist comments made by Cañete last May,when he said he had gone soft on his socialist rival during a political debate because she was a "defenceless woman”.

But Benedicto said allegations of machismo would not be important on Wednesday evening.  

At the same time recent actions by Cañete had also managed to "calm the waters" in terms of his connections with the oil industry, the political scientist explained.

Story continues below…

A recent declaration of assets Spanish ministers had to provide the country’s Parliament with put the former agriculture head in second place in the political rich list, with wealth totalling €1.6 million.

The 64-year-old amended his declaration at the last minute to include an extra payment he received from his party the PP in a bid to avoid being caught out during Wednesday's three-hour hearing in Brussels. 

"Cañete's decision to sell shares, and his revised assets declaration should mean this issue doesn't stand in the way of his candidacy," Benedicto said.

But he warned that any surprises that did come on Wednesday evening might come from green and ecological groups trying "to throw up barriers".

"Cañete can expect questions over Spain's new coastal law (which has reduced the protection belt for building along Spain's shoreline from 100 metres to 20 metres). As a former board member with the real estate firm Bami Newco, he stood to gain from the passing of the new legislation," Benedicto said.

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Alex Dunham (alex.dunham@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Spain's Rajoy says king has tasked him with forming govt
Photo: AFP

Spain's king on Tuesday tasked Mariano Rajoy with forming a government, taking the acting conservative prime minister a step closer to power again after a 10-month political deadlock.

Two imams arrested in Ibiza resort over 'Isis support'
The men were arrested in the resort of Sant Antoni de Portmany. Photo: Jose A / Flickr

Two Moroccan imams at a mosque on the Spanish resort island of Ibiza were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of backing the Islamic State group and inciting jihad.

Balearic Islands choose to keep summertime forever
The islands will have longer evenings during winter. Photo: AFP

The Balearic Islands want to keep summertime when the rest of Spain turns the clocks back on Sunday.

  Brazilian had 'uncontrollable desire to kill': Spain police
Francois Patrick Nogueira Gouveia has been charged with murdering his uncle, his wife and their two children. Photo: Guardia Civil.

A Brazilian teenager accused of dismembering his uncle and aunt and killing their two young sons in a grisly crime that shocked Spain had an "uncontrollable desire to kill", police said on Monday.

Man rescued from bin after climbing in to find old clothes
Photo: Policía Local Murcia

Police were called after passersby reported hearing a man calling for help from within a rubbish bin in the Vistabella neighbourhood of Murcia, southern Spain.

Spain faces crucial week as conservatives re-take power
Mariano Rajoy hopes to form a government this week. Photo: AFP

Spain entered a crucial week as acting conservative PM Mariano Rajoy prepared to re-take power, ending ten rollercoaster months without government marked by hope and disillusion.

Eight very creepy Halloween costumes ideas from Spain
Photo: Pan's Labyrinth

Forget flamenco dancers and bullfighters, The Local counts down the freakiest alternative costume ideas to dress up in this Halloween.

Man attacked by racist thug in UK street for talking Spanish

Tomas Gil, 27, from Valencia in eastern Spain was talking to his girlfriend in their native language after a night out in the British seaside town of Poole when he was set upon by a racist thug.

Malaga: Police probe bizarre 'sex death' of homeless Brit
The man was found near Malaga airport. Photo: Dennis Howlett / Flickr

A British homeless man was found dead tied to a bench near Malaga airport with his trousers down and his genitals in a can of tuna.

Clock ticking as Spain races to avoid third elections
Third elections could now be avoided. Photo: AFP

Spain's Socialists voted on Sunday to allow the conservatives to take power, likely averting a third election for Spaniards tired of going to the polls.

Analysis & Opinion
Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
jobs available