PositionEuropean Union - Statistical Data Included

Margot Wallstr"m fairly pleased."I am very pleased that the European Council has agreed a sustainable development strategy on the basis of our Commission proposals and the environmental dimension of sustainable development is now on a par with economic and social development", said European Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstr"m the day after the EU Summit in Gothenburg. Making a statement during a conference the Centre for European Policy Studies, organised on June 18 in Brussels, the Commissioner noted that the Summit took on board the main Commission options even though it is to be regretted that "a lot of what we proposed in our strategy did not specifically find its way into the Gothenburg Conclusions". However, the EU Council specifically states that the objectives and measures in the Conclusions represent a "first step". The Commissioner did not seek to hide her disappointment that there is nothing more specific about concrete actions to promote sustainable development, and that the proposal for a greenhouse gas reduction target 'Post-Kyoto' (an annual 1% emission reduction over 1990 levels up to 2020) was not endorsed. The same applies to the Commission's ambitious proposal for phasing out subsidies or steering Structural Funds' spending away from road building. The Commission stressed that these proposals remain on the table. In any event, the Summit marks the "start of a process, not the end", stressed the Commissioner.As for climate change, the fact that we "did not bridge our differences with the United States on the Kyoto Protocol" did not come as a surprise, according to the Commissioner. She is nonetheless fairly pleased that both sides have agreed to work together where they share common ground and that the Americans indicate they would not hinder other parties from moving ahead. We are faced with a very difficult situation, admits the Commissioner, as it is obvious that the US rejection of the Protocol means that "international efforts in this field will be much less effective, given that the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases will stand on the sidelines". As for the negotiations in Bonn from July 16 to 27, the Commissioner said she was "somewhat more optimistic than I was 10 days ago". The new compromise paper from the President of the Conference of the Parties, Jan Pronk, the Dutch Environment Minister, is "a good basis for further negotiations", even if the Commissioner does not agree with everything on offer, such...

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