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Publikacijos užsienio žiniasklaidoje

In Search Of Global Green Policies  (2008 09 04)

Report on the European Policy Summit of 4 June 2008

The European Policy Summit has been organised by Friends of Europe in partnership with the European Commission Directorate General for the Environment, Unilever, the European Confederation of Iron and Steel Industries (EUROFER) and Gallup, with the support of the European Information and Communications Technology Association (EICTA), Volvo Group, Dow and Tetra Pak.



Europe has taken the lead in driving forward the environmental agenda, with its Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), its “20-2020” targets and actions to cut the environmental impact of a host of economic sectors from cars to waste.

While this is clearly good for the environment, is it good news for the EU’s economy, and to what extent can the EU make real progress on cutting emissions if it is not part of a global effort to tackle the problem? Indeed, is sustainable development really possible at all? If so, what is the best way to bring it about?

Addressing these questions at Friends of Europe’s summit were over 400 senior stakeholders from across Europe and beyond. There was a feeling among politicians that radical changes are needed, but they could not see a way of convincing their electorates of going along with this agenda. Yet, according to NGOs, this should be an easy sell. “Greening the economy is an opportunity for growth, jobs and wealth creation that politicians are simply failing to grasp,” suggested one speaker.


Acknowledging the huge difference in economic development across the EU, Lithuanian MEP Justas Vincas Paleckis, Substitute Member of the European Parliament committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, and the Temporary Committee on Climate Change, suggested that the big gulf between the “old” EU and the “new” EU in term of development translated into a different emphasis on the energy agenda. “I was asked if it was possible to win European elections with an environmental agenda – in my country, no chance. What is a priority for the “20th century EU” is not a priority for the “21st century EU”,“ he said. “We have many more pressing issues such as inflations, education, health care and living standards.”


There was also great concern in Lithuania that the country would be forced to shut down its nuclear power stations, causing fears over energy security. “We are an energy island in the EU – we have no connections to the western European electricity grid.” However, there was great potential in energy efficiency because the 21st century EU states used up to five times more energy per unit of GDP than the older EU members. “We have lots of buildings that are very environmentally unfriendly – it is practically like heating the open air,” he said.


People were currently more worried about the price of electricity and heating, said Mr. Paleckis, but “over the next few decades, people will be forced to change their way of life and how they think,” he conceded. “Consumption must be restricted either through tax, pricing policies or subsidies. We must show that the environmentally friendly way is not only nice but [also] profitable or everything will collapse.”


The full report text of the Summit is available at:


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