5 out of 10 points for Swedish EU Presidency: BirdLife's green hopes only partly fulfilled

Date

05 Jan 2010

Sections

Health & Consumers
Sustainable Dev.

Press release

BirdLife evaluates environmental progress achieved by the Swedish Presidency – 5 out of 10 points.

Brussels, 18 December 2009 – Today BirdLife International [1] presented its evaluation of the environmental performance of the Swedish EU Presidency, which will terminate at the end of December, and will pass the baton to Spain.

When Sweden took over the Presidency six months ago, hopes were high that this would be one of the greenest EU Presidencies ever. In its Greening Europe publication [2], BirdLife International provided the Swedish government with “Five keys to a successful Presidency”.

BirdLife has now evaluated Sweden’s presidency and applauds the nordic country for organising one of the more successful Presidencies with regard to environmental policy in recent years. BirdLife chose a range of environmental issues on which to evaluate the Presidencies with a maximum of two points per issue. Because of some serious disappointments BirdLife awarded the Swedish Presidency only 5 out of 10 possible points. A good record on biodiversity contrasts with disappointing outcomes on agriculture. More could have been done on climate change, fisheries and economic policy.

•       Most prominently, the Presidency prioritized the need to achieve a successful Copenhagen agreement on climate change. However, despite many efforts Sweden did not manage to avoid an increasing split among EU Member States on reduction targets and financing commitments. Sweden also played a very negative role on the issue of emissions from forestry.  (Limited progress: 1 of 2 points). [3]

•       BirdLife is particularly pleased about the commitment with which the Swedish government led the preparations for the International Year of Biodiversity in 2010. We also welcome the Swedish government’s willingness to engage civil society and environmental NGOs in this process. (Good progress: 2 of 2 points). [4]

•       Unfortunately the Swedish Presidency did not make any progress on making the Common Agricultural Policy more sustainable. On the contrary, it allowed the debates on the milk sector to drift into patchy and ill conceived policy interventions, leading to further intensification with potentially damaging effects on the environment. (No progress: 0 of 2 points) [5]

•       As regards the Common Fisheries Policy, BirdLife welcomed the significant profile the Presidency gave to the need for an ecosystem based approach in the upcoming reform. Unfortunately this was done only outside the official Council agenda. The Presidency should be commended for the adoption of the Control Regulation. (Limited progress: 1 of 2 points)  [6]

•       Finally, Sweden should be complemented for promoting an eco-efficient economy to overcome the economic crisis. Unfortunately, the unsustainable business-as-usual approach is still dominating Member States economic recovery measures, and the Presidency could have done more to change this (Limited progress: 1 of 2 points [7]

“The hopes we had in the Swedish Presidency were only partly fulfilled.” said Konstantin Kreiser, EU Policy Manager at BirdLife International, “But the Swedes did a lot to live up to their image as an environmentally aware country with a transparent governance style. We enjoyed working with the Swedish Presidency. Now we hope that Spain will meet the challenges of the biodiversity year 2010”.

ENDS

For more information, please contact:

Herlinde Herpoel, Media & Communication Manager at BirdLife International -

+32 (0)494 542 844, herlinde.herpoel@birdlife.org

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