CrisisWatch

Economy & development

Italian government bypasses court order for closure of polluting factory

In two consecutive decisions, Italian courts ordered in August the closure of the largest steel factory in the EU: Ilva of Taranto. The local magistrate described Ilva as an “environmental disaster”, due to its high emissions of a lethal mix of pollutants into the atmosphere. In the course of one of the country’s major environmental scandals, seven top managers of the Ilva Taranto plant were arrested, on charges of serious environmental da...
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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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EU budget 2014-2020 (MFF): cutting down on sustainability…

The reform of the 1 trillion euro EU budget 2014-2020 is now moving to a crucial phase: the extraordinary EU summit of 22-23 November, where EU leaders are supposed to find an agreement. In this framework the Cypriot Presidency released at the end of October a new version of the ‘Negotiating box’, the key Council document including key elements on the structure of the next MFF and, for the first time, the big figures for each Heading. Given t...
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Paris appeal for sustainable economy

WWF France brought the 6th edition of its Green Forum to a close on 28 September 2012 by launching a “Paris Appeal”. WWF in Europe has adopted the Paris Appeal and is calling on the member states of the European Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission to revive the ideal of a sustainable Europe as a means of uniting its peoples behind a common goal. The appeal is addressed to the leaders of the EU, on the occasion of the...
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Spanish environmental law undermined

The draft law on “urgent environmental measures” (Proyecto de Ley de medidas urgentes en materia de medio ambiente (procedente del Real Decreto-ley 17/2012, de 4 de mayo)), which was approved by the Spanish Senate, introduces important changes to Spain’s legislation on water, natural heritage and biodiversity, waste and contaminated soils....
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UK Government reshuffle heralds departure from green agenda?

The British Government went through a reshuffling fragranced with a strong anti-environmentalist scent.   Transport Minister Justine Greening was replaced, apparently as a result of her opposition to controversial plans for the construction of a third runway at London Heathrow airport. The Environment Secretary was also replaced by a member of the Conservative Party who is thought to be a climate change denier and a...
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Hopes for true Robin Hood tax fade…

Leading the process for a tax on financial transactions, the Finance Ministers of Germany and France Wolfgang Schaeuble and Pierre Moscovici sent a joint letter to EU state leaders, proposing enhanced cooperation for the establishment of a common FTT.  The Schaeuble-Moscovici letter of September 28th however does not include any mention to commitments on the allocation of the collected revenue. Hence, hopes for a true “Robin Hood tax”, whic...
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France introduces FTT

August 1, 2012 was Day One of France’s new financial transactions tax (FTT).  In a politically significant move, the Government of Francois Hollande legally introduced a 0.2% tax on financial transactions. The French FTT is expected to raise half a billion € in the first year. According to President Hollande, a yet unclear part of the revenue will go towards combating AIDS. In total, about 10% of the revenues will be allocated to “develop...
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Financial Transactions Tax

Despite the inclusion of the FTT in the conclusions of the Euro-area Summit of 29 June 2012 and the formation of a pro-FTT bloc within EU-27, hopes for allocation by key states of the collected revenues to social and environmental priorities, thus making it a Robin Hood Tax, seem to be fading.  As stated at the July report of the Court of Auditors on the country’s public finances,...
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