Environmental Reforms Urged
Denmark outlines ambitious EU green agenda
Denmark has taken over the EU’s rotating six-month presidency, with an ambitious environmental policy agenda. Foreign Minister Per Stig Møller unveiled the presidency programme in which green issues feature strongly.
Among its many proposals, Denmark’s key aims are to secure ministerial agreements on carbon dioxide emissions trading and rules for tracking and labelling genetically modified foods. Denmark also intends to focus on the creation of a draft environmental liability directive and a new European Union chemicals policy.
Danish officials have picked out an accord on emissions trading as a crucial target for their first council meeting in October. One official told reporters, “It’s very important to get an effective climate trading system to work for external and internal reasons”.
Denmark is an enthusiastic supporter of the European Commission’s emissions trading proposal, having been responsible for introducing Europe’s first, albeit modest, emissions trading system. However, it will need to work hard to overcome objections from Germany, the UK and Finland.
Another goal for the first meeting is a deal on traceability of genetically modified organisms and labelling rules, to coincide with the entry into force of the newly revised deliberate release directive. Denmark’s position on this issue – that new products cannot be commercialised before traceability and labelling are in place – has survived its recent change of government.
Copenhagen is keen to finalise talks on an EU liability regime for environmental damage. “I find it very important that European policy on the environment is based on the polluter pays principle,” said Danish Environment Minister Hans Christian Schmidt. “Therefore, at European level we must establish a whole new set of rules on environmental liability.”
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