EEB warns Commission not to drop Lisbon agenda

The importance of the Lisbon Process in the EU's sustainable development strategy is still being pushed by the European Environment Bureau (EEB).

Europe’s largest federation of environmental citizens’ organisations, the EEB launched a paper entitled “Making the Lisbon Process work for sustainable development” at a one-day conference in Luxembourg in its latest drive to encourage next month’s Spring Summit to take the Lisbon agenda seriously on board.

As March’s Spring Summit approaches, the EEB stated it was vital to look to what laid ahead for Europe’s environment, as well as consider the need to avoid prioritising growth at the expense of the environment.

“The Spring report 2005 is mainly devoted to the economic Lisbon agenda, not really integrating the social and environmental dimension, as has been the Commission’s ambition since the Gothenburg Summit,” EEB secretary general John Hontelez commented.

“It seems the often overlooked objective that the sustainable development strategy would be an integral part of the Lisbon process has now openly been dropped.”

According to Mr Hontelez, action from the Commission, the Council and Parliament called for by the EEB in its response to the Kok Report (see related story) had been disappointing, with demands to create and maintain a synergy between the economy and the environment still having failed to materialise.

The EEB’s main demands for the Spring Summit are:

  • Adoption in 2005 of a strategy for the short-term introduction of a coherent set of market based instruments for environmental policies
  • A commitment for a 2005 launch of major EU-wide green public procurement campaigns
  • Agreement to develop EU-wide policies for public investments in sustainable housing and transport

    Mr Hontelez said the EEB expected more than just general intentions and well-chosen words on sustainable development and eco-innovation, but rather hoped that the Spring Council would make a serious attempt to fill the delivery gap.

    “The environmental dimension cannot wait,” he warned. “Moreover, environmental requirements would contribute to a dynamic, efficient, future-oriented economy with a strong export potential, offering a high quality of life to citizens. The dramatic outlook for climate change makes this even more urgent.”

    By Jane Kettle

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