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[Luxembourg 2005 Presidency of the Council of the European Union]
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Press Release
"Respect for the environment and a competitive Europe go hand in hand"

Date of release : 17-01-2005

Policy area : Environment Environment

During the presentation of the environmental programme of the Luxembourg Presidency, Lucien Lux, the Luxembourg Minister for the Environment, made the following statement on the Lisbon strategy: "It is quite obvious at present that environmental and social issues run against the main current, which is economical. The Luxembourg Presidency will attempt to preserve the equilibrium between the three pillars of the Lisbon strategy: economical, social and environmental. It is also our duty to expose the exorbitant cost of a potential inaction in environmental matters. The Luxembourg Presidency will dedicate itself to preserving and even strengthening the environmental dimension of the Lisbon process. In the 21st century, it should be obvious that solid environmental standards and a strong environmental policy are an economic asset rather than a disadvantage. Protecting the environment already creates jobs, and it will create even more in the future."

"The three priorities of the Luxembourg Presidency: the mid-term review of the Lisbon strategy, the financial perspectives and the Stability Pact all have an environmental dimension," continued the minister. "It is a matter of counteracting the idea that the environment is bad for competition and employment. In this respect, a policy inspired by the dual imperatives of ecological efficiency and sustainable development is not just a guarantee of job creation; in the medium- and long-term it also offers a certain competitive advantage."

The Luxembourg Presidency also wishes to have adopted a European charter on sustainable development that sets forth the general orientation and guiding principles on the subject. These principles would apply to all Union policies. The minister emphasised that this charter would be "touching on all policy areas; it would act as a guarantee that all EU-policy conforms to environmental standards. The charter should be a visual, tangible and transversal indicator of advances made by the EU on the subject; it will crown the actions of the Union in this area."

On the Kyoto process, Lucien Lux came out against a downwards revision of the objectives and the excessive dilution of the standards, which would put the leadership of the EU on this subject at risk. "High standards must be maintained, while discussions continue with countries that have not adhered to Kyoto." It is in this perspective that the Luxembourg Presidency will hold discussions in North America, Asia and with the G-77 group, which represents a number of developing countries.

According to Lucien Lux, 2005 will se the adoption of concrete, constraining, measures that seek to counteract global warming. The Environment Council of 10 March 2005 will have to take decisions on this subject and to send a clear and determined message to the heads of State or Government with a view to the spring meeting of the European Council (22-23 March 2005).

This page was last modified on : 18-01-2005

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