Juncker must ensure Lisbon’s green agenda is met

The Luxembourg Presidency must ensure that the EU Lisbon process follows recommendations laid out by the Kok group last year, according to the European Environmental Bureau (EEB).

Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker invited a delegation of the EEB to present its views on the course that the Lisbon process (see related story) should take in lieu of the March European Council making key decisions on the matter.

The proposals and demands presented by the EEB, in the words of vice president Mauro Albrizio, aimed “to ensure that the short term economic agenda the EU wants to follow will be profitable from the economic, environmental and social side”.

An agenda based along the lines of the Kok Report’s recommendations (see related story) would certainly be possible, according to Mr Albrizio.

He said that environmental policies had already proven themselves to be positive for economic development, evoking innovation, increased efficiency and improved protection of natural resources, which is crucial to a healthy economy.

“The advice of the Kok group clearly pleaded for the internalisation of environmental costs in prices, removing environmentally harmful subsidies and action plans for green public procurement,” EEB secretary general John Hortalez explained. “But these crucial actions were not mentioned in the Commission’s Communication to the Spring Summit that will take place in March. We have asked Mr Juncker not to make the same mistake.”

Late last year, the EEB put ten proposals to the Luxembourg Presidency (see related story), which would ensure the Lisbon agenda took full account of the agreed EU commitments on climate change, transport, biodiversity and chemical policy, while also stimulating eco-innovation by creating huge demand for green products and services.

Luxembourg EEB board member Theodore Mannon said he felt the Presidency’s invitation showed Mr Juncker’s enthusiasm to prepare for the Spring Summit.

“The Luxembourg Presidency is interested in a range of views and respects that a large part of Europe’s population expects from the EU a leadership role on environmental policies,” Mr Mannon said, “even at times when the economy is not running very smoothly.”

By Jane Kettle

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