EU Australia Online - News & information from the capital of Europe direct to Australian businesses

“20-20-20” Says EU

  • December 13th, 2008
  • Posted by 7thmin

barroso-strasbourg-19-june-071.jpg“Yes, you can!” said Jose Manuel Barroso, wrapping up the Brussels summit of European leaders with a call to other countries to join it in a concerted attack on the environmental crisis.

The two-day gathering (11-12.12.08) also worked on a stimulus plan for the economy and heard outlines for a plan, to bring Ireland back into the movement to restructure the European Union.

Mr Barroso, President of the European Commission, (pictured), had no mind to conceal his pleasure at the unity of decision-making that was achieved; for instance, bringing out Donald Tusk, Prime Minister of Poland — one country that had been holding back on the changes – to add his endorsement.

The next step, under Barroso’s executive hand, will be enactment of European law to entrench the “20-20” objective on climate change – a 20% reduction in carbon emissions into the atmosphere by 2020.

The third “20” in the newest EU slogan is for 20% renewables content in energy production – like wind, solar or water — also to be achieved by 2020.

Critics were wary about the looseness of the carbon rule; they are pointing out that major industrial plants that can demonstrate hardship with the change, may get credits in the carbon trade, free of charge – making for inflation of the commodity and a weakening of its value.

That has not dissuaded the enthusiasm of the emerging 27 heads of government at Brussels, pleased that the art of compromise has let them produce a Christmas treat.

The spirit of unity appeared to be working also in the forging of agreement over funding a boost in economic activity. (See EUAustralia, “Crisis Meeting”, 11.12.08).

Plans for concessions to be made to Ireland, to encourage that country to ratify the Lisbon Treaty for a restructure of the EU, were in line with predictions being made before the summit: reserve authority for Ireland to keep its own taxation system, reserve authority also to legislate on a national basis on rights and wrongs, including Catholic positions on abortion, guarantees of traditional Irish diplomatic neutrality, and a possible special place for an Irish Commissioner on the executive EC.

Irish voters rejected the Lisbon Treaty when put to them at a referendum last June.