Portugal put to environmental test for EU Presidency

Portugal's environmental record is being put to the test, as it starts its six-month presidential reign over the EU.

The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) - Europe's largest federation of environmental citizens' organizations - issued Ten Green Tests for Portugal's six-month Presidency of the European Union, which began on 1 July.

John Hontelez, EEB's secretary general, said: "The Portuguese Presidency is prioritising some important issues, such as biodiversity, water scarcity, and the marine environment."

EEB has set these benchmark tests for each Presidency since 1998, following them up with an end-of-term performance assessment at each Presidency's conclusion.

EEB's Ten Green Tests form part of an extended memorandum to the Portuguese Presidency, drawn up by EEB's staff and Portuguese NGO members, presenting their principal ideas and most urgent demands.

The Ten Tests begin with a call for a 'robust review' of the EU's Sustainable Development Strategy, which is on the December European Council's agenda. EEB says it wants this to result in major environmental fiscal reform, and a review of the objectives of the Lisbon Process.

The ten tests are:

  • Next steps on sustainable development
  • A meaningful business and biodiversity project
  • Further steps in fighting climate change
  • Air quality: no more back-sliding
  • Strengthen the marine strategy directive
  • Make progress on soil protection
  • Phase out mercury
  • Water scarcity and quality
  • Promote reduction and sustainable use of pesticides
  • Improving enforcement of environmental law

    "The EEB supports these priorities, but we want to see tangible results, which have an impact well beyond this six-month Presidency. Our ten green tests reflect that," said Mr Hontelez, EEB's secretary general.

    Full details of the Ten Tests can be found on the EEB website.

    Dana Gornitzki

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