EEB: “Don’t treat environment as obstacle to growth”

The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) has urged the upcoming Competitiveness Council to identify the positive synergies between environmental commitments and competitiveness.

Two days before the meeting of the Competitiveness Council, the environmental lobby EEB has expressed serious concerns about a recent political trend to prioritise competitiveness over social and environmental objectives. Analysing two recent Commission communications, the EEB sees a strong "pressure towards diluting EU’s environmental policy and putting 'competitiveness' above everything else."

The lack of real progress on the EU's Lisbon agenda objective to become the most dynamic knowledge economy in the world by 2010 has clearly stimulated Member States to highlight the need to keep a closer eye on the competitiveness aspects of upcoming or existing EU legislation. The best example was the letter sent to Mr Prodi by Chirac, Schröder and Blair concerning the need for "substantial changes" of the draft EU chemicals legislation (called REACH) (see

EURACTIV 23 Sept. 2003).

The EEB urges the Spring Council of 25-26 March to strengthen the Cardiff process on environmental integration into sectoral policies. It also demands that the Competitiveness Council recognise "that economic and social development will not be sustainable in the long run if EU don’t take sufficient action to curb environmental pressures and preserve natural resources".

Refering to industry demands to make extended impact assessments of major future legislation, the EEB asks that all these assessments "should treat environmental impacts and economic impacts at an equal footing. A one-sided 'competitiveness proofing system' is unacceptable and in conflict with Article 6 of the EC Treaty."

 

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