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EU Leaders Summit: Climate Change and Growth

  • March 8th, 2007
  • Posted by 7thmin

merkel-barrosored.jpgLeaders of the European Union set out a two-way plan for decision at their Brussels summit this week (8-9.3.07), wanting both high economic growth and drastic cuts in greenhouse gas pollution.

The President of the executive European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, said he would be asking for mandates from the heads of government, to bring in strict laws on pollution.

The aim would be to achieve targets on a 20% cut in carbon dioxide emissions, by the set deadline, 2020 – based on 1990 levels

At a media conference he reminded journalists that the EU has proposed to go to 30% if other governments do the same.

“This week the eyes of the world will be on the European council, from Washington, to Moscow, to Beijing.

“They will be watching to see if we are really credible when we speak about energy security and when we speak about climate protection.

“The decisions the European Council will take this week will have an impact far beyond Europe’s borders, and if you like, far beyond this generation,” he said.

BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER

The Commissioner also reviewed plans for further restructuring of rules, to remove “red tape”, reduce protection of industries and enforce competition policies through company law – all in the name of Europe’s so-called “Lisbon Strategy” for “growth and jobs”.

He said the European summit – called its “Spring Council”- would be discussing future energy supply, pushing ahead with plans to obtain more guaranteed supplies of oil and gas.

Uneasiness was increased this Winter when Russia, for a second time, cut off supplies, during a commercial dispute with neighbouring governments – with Belarus, the previous time with Ukraine.

“We cannot deliver medium growth and jobs without secure, competitive and sustainable energy and without keeping the costs of climate change in check,” Mr Barroso said.

He and other European leaders appear confident that their plans for growth will not clash with their climate protection campaign, which would depend on carbon trading and use of alternative sources of energy.

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE

The Chairperson of this week’s European summit, the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has declared that economic growth policies “are beginning to bear fruit”, with stronger growth and employment performances.

She said, in a letter to the other 26 heads of government and heads of state at Brussels, “Europe is at an important Crossroads.”

“If we act decisively now, we have a chance of effectively counteracting the dangers of climate change,” she said.

“Climate change and energy policies are therefore at the centre of this European Council.

“We must use the Spring meeting to decide on a strategy which will safeguard out energy supply and ensure climate protection on a suitable basis.

“Our response on this issue will have repercussions for the future of Europe and beyond.”

Picture: Chancellor Angela Merkel greets EC president Jose Manuel Barroso; European Commission AV

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