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EU Heads Ponder A Tibet Olympic Boycott, And More Work On Warming

  • March 24th, 2008
  • Posted by EUEditor

eu-summit-14308.jpgLeaders of the European Union have said Chinese action against Tibetan protestors is creating “difficulty” over the Beijing Olympics, though they have said no to a boycott.

The EU Heads of Government had other weighty matters on their minds this month (13-14.3.08), especially the priority issue of climate change, when they met at Brussels.


The Presidency of the European Council declared (19.3.08) that the EU was deeply concerned about reports of unrest in Tibetan provinces; conveyed sympathy to families of victims, and was urgently seeking clarification from the Chinese government.

“We urge the Chinese authorities to refrain from using force against those involved in unrest and call on demonstrators to desist from violence,” it said.

“We call on Chinese authorities to respond to the demonstrations in accordance with internationally recognised democratic principles.”

Sports Ministers of the EU two days earlier, at Ljubljana, considered calls for a boycott of this year’s Olympic Games, over human rights concerns — and determined such an action was “not the right answer to the current political problems.”

They made a joint statement with the Presidents of the European national Olympic Committees, that the Olympics should be treated as an opportunity to promote human rights – which might be lost.

“A boycott … could, at the same time, cause considerable harm to the population of China as a whole, to sports enthusiasts and, above all, to the athletes themselves. It is encouraging that even the Dalai Lama has spoken out against a boycott”, the statement said.


The meeting of EU Heads of Government this month went over progress made towards achieving firm targets for reduction of CO2 emissions, since global warming was raised to top priority status at their Berlin summit one year ago.

They declared in favour of imposing a Europe-wide cap on permissible carbon waste produced by industry, admitting to concerns that caps decided by member governments on their own would not be enough.

They also agreed on a timetable for completing the proposed EU climate change package – binding measures against carbon waste – by the end of 2008; to ensure it was formally adopted, for implementation to begin early next year.

The Slovenian Prime Minister and President of the European Council, Janez Janša, called the outcome an “ambitious timeframe”; it would address talk of industries moving away from a tight regulatory environment in Europe, by providing openness and secure information about what regulations would be going into force.

He listed “key principles for the adoption of the energy and climate change package”:

* Economic efficiency and cost-effectiveness: the measures should also contribute to other economic and social goals that the EU has set within the framework of the Lisbon Strategy.

* Fairness and solidarity in the distribution of efforts between Member States: the distribution of efforts should take into account the different starting points of each Member State as well as their individual capabilities, and respect the need for sustainable economic growth.

* Transparency: the debate on the package should be carried out transparently at EU level in order to boost mutual trust and reinforce credibility at international level.

Mr Janša said the heads of Government had talked over current concerns about instability on the financial markets , and had endorsed a new cycle of the so-called Lisbon Program for Growth and Jobs – focussed on labour market changes, education and training for the workforce, and application of new technologies.


European Council; Statement by Slovenian Presidency on the Call to Boycott the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, 20.3.08., (24.3.08)

Council of the European Union, Declaration of the Presidency on behalf of the EU on the situation in Tibet, 7675/1/08 REV 1 (Presse 73), P33/08, Brussels, 19.3.08

European Council; The European Council has agreed on a timeframe and key principles for the energy and climate change package, 14.3.08., (24.3.08).

: Summit spokespersons 14.3.08