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Will Greece ignore the economic omens and go for new coal?

by Theodota Nantsou In the current dismal economic setting, the construction of the new lignite power plant by Greece's Public Power Corporation constitutes a completely irrational move: the public energy utility will need to disburse 400 million euros for a project that has been proven to be economically non-viable. By insisting stubbornly on the construction of Ptolemaida V, the PPC threatens to entrap Greece in an outdated energy model...
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Austerity and EU environmental policy 

Since 2010, European responses to the global financial and economic crises have been dominated by a narrative of austerity. European governments have sought to bolster confidence in their economies by rolling back public spending. This narrative of austerity has been the backdrop to the European Union’s (EU) environmental policy-making. The extent to which austerity is necessarily a barrier to ambitious environmental legislation is a crucial co...
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Industries speak for governments in EU pollution standards working group

The ongoing process for the revision of the Industrial Emissions Directive’s environmental performance standards for large combustion plants, including coal power plants, has sparked severe criticism by environmental and corporate watch groups, due to the increased and intransparent participation of industry representatives in national delegations. According to a March 5th report published by Greenpeace, “the whole process has been captured b...
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2015 Commission Work Programme marks serious environmental rollback

Fears that the new European Commission plans to scrap important policy initiatives in the fields of air quality and waste management have come true: the 2015 Commission Work Programme (CWP 2015) includes the withdrawal of the proposed new directive on waste management and its replacement with a new one. It also fails to clarify the fate of the proposed revision of the National Emissions Directive. The work plan also includes “fitness checks...
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New Commission set to run on environmental deficit?

In anticipation of the 2015 Commission Work Programme (CWP 2015), which is expected to be approved in mid-December, concerns abound over its tendency towards environmental deregulation.  In a letter addressed by President Juncker and Vice-President Timmermans to the new Commissioners, the priorities of the Commission for 2015 are sorted under respective headings of the 10-priority plan for Europe. Given the absence of a clearly articulated envi...
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Will MEPs back environmental deregulation?

In a resolution adopted on 27 November, the European Parliament expresses concerns about the ongoing revision process of the Commission’s guidelines on “Impact Assessment” (IA) of its policy initiatives (legislative and non-legislative). According to the resolution, the Parliament “[i]s concerned, however, that the draft revised guidelines are much less specific than the existing guidelines in terms of the scope for IAs and that they leav...
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Business lobby group presses Commission to ax environmental laws 

In a 25 November statement addressed to Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans, Europe’s leading lobby group for industry and business calls for the withdrawal of legislative proposals which “impose unnecessary burdens or have a disproportionate impact on growth and jobs”. BUSINESSEUROPE targets a series of policy proposals relating to environment, sustainable development and labour rights. The proposals for a Clean Air Policy Package ...
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Smoke on the city…

The dramatic increase in the price of heating oil, following the imposition of a huge tax increase, has led Greek households to seek other means, such as burning wood and lignite in fireplaces and stoves. Since 2011, heating oil prices have gone up by 40%, which has lead to a more than 70% drop in demand, forcing many distribution businesses to close down. The high oil price has in some cases led public services, especially schools in N. Greece,...
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Pressures grow for relaxation of EU environmental law 

At the latest Competitiveness Council (10 and 11 December 2012) EU ministers discussed the need for revision of the common industrial policy. In the shadow of the economic recession and its impact on industry, voices calling for relaxation of the legislation relating particularly to environmental impact assessments and permitting  procedures. According to Portugal’s Minister of Economy and Employment Álvaro Santos Pereira, “we can't be naï...
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