Industry lobbying continues to hold Commission back

The current Commission is on track to have one of the worst-ever environmental records of any EU administration. That is the view of the group of 10 Brussels-based environmental NGOs (‘Green 10’), whose mid-term assessment of José Manuel Barroso’s second Commission says it would not win any medals and is acting to protect the environment even less than his first Commission (2005-09).

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The assessment, published earlier this month, says the Commission has not been short of encouraging statements that recognise the need for a smart, inclusive and sustainable economy, but when it comes to action, it has ‘lacked the courage to propose legislation and has continued to favour short-term fixes over long-term solutions for people’s health and the planet’. In a powerful statement to accompany the report, the Green 10 say: ‘Industry lobbyists have continued to pull the strings on many political files, leading to woefully inadequate policies’.

The report assesses progress in nine EU policy fields with impacts on the environment, and reviews the track record of Barroso and 13 of his commissioners. Each policy field is marked out of 10 based on environmental ambition and action taken.

On energy and transport, the report recognises that Brussels has acknowledged the economic and environmental rewards offered by clean energy and an end to fossil-fuel subsidies. But its action has not brought Europe closer to a modern energy system built around efficiency and renewables, and free from greenhouse gas emissions and expensive oil imports. Both energy and cross-cutting environmental issues score 4.5 out of 10 in the assessment, while transport scores 5.

The Green 10 assessment formulates a series of recommendations for the remaining 2½ years of the Commission’s term. For transport these include setting strict CO2 emissions limits for cars and vans for 2020 and 2025, including indirect land-use change in the assessment of biofuels’ contribution to saving greenhouse gas emissions, and taking into account the climate and environmental impact of infrastructure projects funded by the EU.

Click here for link to Green 10 report.