EU must do more to achieve sustainability

The European Union's policies are shifting towards long-term sustainability but action to turn around persistent problems must be stepped up.

Those are the conclusions of a European Commission report on progress towards the aims of the EU’s renewed Sustainable Development Strategy, adopted in June 2006.

The report recommends that Europe must implement its climate change policies, markedly increase the use of alternative energy, take bolder steps towards environmentally-friendly transport and increase efforts to halt biodiversity loss.

Commission president José Manuel Barroso said: “We have made significant progress by working in partnership with member states.

“This report also shows that we must do even more to bequeath a healthy planet and a healthy society for future generations.

“We can further reinforce the partnership for sustainability between the EU, member states, civil society and business.

“We must reverse unsustainable long-term trends in areas like energy consumption, transport, bio-diversity and health.”

He added: “We will continue to lead in fighting climate change and keep our promises to the developing world.”

The report concludes that both the EU and member states have succeeded in putting in place many of the right policy frameworks, and is balancing sustainability with policies designed to promote economic growth, such as the Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs.

However, the commission found that more action still needed to be taken to make a difference on the ground and reverse unsustainable long-term trends in problem areas such as energy consumption and transport.

The commission also urged the EU to give particular priority to climate change and clean energy in its sustainability policies.

Kate Martin

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