Heads of states and government are set to bring decisive input into the re-orientation of the EU sustainable development strategy and on post-2012 climate change reduction targets amid fears from environmental NGOs that the sustainability agenda will be relegated to second priority.
The review of the EU’s sustainable development policy (Gothenburg strategy) is on the menu at the summit of EU leaders on 22-23 March.
Although little is expected in terms of concrete decisions, heads of state and governments will be discussing the general re-orientation of the policy, four years after it was adopted in Gothernburg, Sweden.
The mid-term assessment of the strategy published by the Commission on 9 February this year was pessimistic, admitting that the EU had failed to deliver on crucial long-term targets including social exclusion, climate change or threats to public health (see EURACTIV, 15 Febr. 2005).
Cautious not to divert from its priority goal of re-launching the fledgling EU economy with a simplified and focused Lisbon strategy, the Commission gave only general policy orientation as regards the future of the Gothenburg strategy.
Meeting on 10 March, EU environment ministers reiterated their commitment to sustainable development and asserted that sound environmental policies do contribute the growth and jobs through eco-technologies and a better use of scarce natural resources (see EURACTIV, 11 March 2005).
EU leaders are expected to bring a decisive input to this debate and, possibly, define areas where they would consent to more legislative proposals by the Commission.
They will also decide to adopt or reject the ambitious targets put forward on 10 March by environment ministers for reducing greenhouse gas emissions after 2012 and the commitments made under the Kyoto protocol on climate change (post-Kyoto).