European environmentalists give outgoing Finnish EU presidency the thumbs up
The largest federation of environmental organisations in Europe has concluded that the Finnish Presidency of the EU has been a positive force for environmental progress.The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) acknowledges that there have been many environmental failures during Finland's six-month presidency of the EU, but that on the whole the presidency has earned a "slightly positive assessment".
EEB points to "stiff resistance" to progress from some EU member states on key environmental policies as hampering many of Finland's efforts. It congratulates Finland on "a rapid repair of the End-of-Life Vehicles debacle the German Presidency (see related story) left it with" and success in achieving Common Positions on Strategic Environmental Assessment (see related story) and on Benzene (see related story)".
EEB refrained from producing a complete list of failed environmental policy initiatives for the second half of 1999, but did express its unhappiness that an update of the Large Combustion Plants Directive has not been agreed (see related story). It also singled out Spain as an EU member country that has held back progress on environmental tax reform.
Portugal will preside over the EU Presidency during the first half of 2000, with France taking over for the second half of the year.