Hopes hang on EU leaders to promote sustainability at summit

It is hoped that this weekend’s meeting of European leaders in Barcelona will promote environmental sustainability, although many fear that, again, it will be ignored.

“For the first time ever, EU leaders at the Barcelona summit on Friday and Saturday, will take stock of progress in implementing their sustainable development strategy, which seeks to balance economic, social and environmental needs within a unified framework,” said Domingo Jiménez-Beltrán, Executive Director of the European Environment Agency. “This is an historic occasion that should see environmental requirements finally integrated, as an equal partner, into the ambitious socio-economic agenda that the European Council set in Lisbon two years ago.”

However, others are less optimistic, reflecting on past failures of action. The Green Party in the European Parliament is calling on the EU leaders not to forget their commitments, as they appear to have done in the past.

“It is disappointing that heads of states have not delivered on what they promised in Sweden last year which was to fully integrate the three components of sustainable development – environmental, social and economic into EU policies,” said Theo Bouwman, Green MEP from the Netherlands. “By promoting the trinity of liberalisation, deregulation and globalisation, the [current] Spanish Presidency is undermining the European welfare state. Flexibility of the labour market without social protection for workers is unacceptable.”

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