- Environmental misgivings: why Parliament should reject the Juncker Commission, by Tony Long | Euractiv (29 September 2014)
“The mandates in the mission letters are frequently far from bold, and in some cases are actually regressive. In the case of the Environment and Marine and Fisheries Commissioner, there is a pronounced deregulatory emphasis with the habitats and birds directives, the air quality legislation and the circular economy agenda all opened for scrutiny is some cases before the ink on the paper is even dry.
All eyes will be on the Parliament in the next weeks in Europe and beyond. The Green 10 has urged the Parliament earlier this month to reject this proposed Commission. We continue to do so, largely because of the concerns about the proposed restructuring and the mandates which I have just mentioned. But also because of concerns that some of those nominated as Commissioners appear poorly aligned to their respective portfolios. Our general concern is that the credibility of the EU institutions, and specifically the Parliament, will be severely damaged if nominees are slotted into positions for which they are clearly not suited. The people of Europe deserve better than that.
We have made four positive proposals which we urge the Parliament to push for in the confirmation hearings:
- A Vice President for sustainability – an objective which the Green 10 shares with the 1,800 European and international relief and development NGOs through its umbrella organization, Concord;
- Ensure the Environment portfolio is reinstated with a dedicated Environment Commissioner, charged with a more progressive, less negative, environmental mandate;
- Full inclusion of climate on at least an equal basis in the mandate and title of the proposed Vice-President for Energy Union;
- Effective scrutiny of potential conflicts of interest."
-Schulz flashes red light for Juncker: Put in sustainability | Euractiv (29 September 2014)
“European Parliament President Martin Schulz has sent a letter to Jean-Claude Juncker, urging the European Commission President-elect to include sustainable development in the portfolio of Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness.”
“The proposed new structure of the European Commission sidelines sustainability issues and risks undoing years of environmental legislation, writes Tony Long in an exclusive op-ed in EurActiv, explaining the reasons for a rejection of the Commission if President-elect does not act in consequences.
With parliamentary hearing starting today (29 September), the pressure on Juncker to ease criticism is on. Schulz has demanded an answer from Juncker today. In a previous letter sent by a group of MEPs on their concern over the sidelining of sustainable development, Juncker answered that “growth can only make a meaningful difference if it is able to last or continue for a long time.”
- Naomi Klein: Pitting Environment Against Economy Risks Failure of Both | The American Prospect (17 September 2014)
“Again and again we pit the economy against the environment. When the economic crisis hit Europe, all this austerity came down and not only were millions of people laid off and public services cut back, but Europeans were also told they could no longer afford their green policies anymore. So the system isn’t working for workers and it isn’t working for the environment. This economic system is failing us on so many levels, and it also happens to be destabilizing the systems on which all life depends.”
- Limits to Growth was right. New research shows we're nearing collapse| The Guardian (2 September 2014)
“As the graphs show, the University of Melbourne research has not found proof of collapse as of 2010 (although growth has already stalled in some areas). But in Limits to Growth those effects only start to bite around 2015-2030. …¶… The first stages of decline may already have started. The Global Financial Crisis of 2007-08 and ongoing economic malaise may be a harbinger of the fallout from resource constraints. The pursuit of material wealth contributed to unsustainable levels of debt, with suddenly higher prices for food and oil contributing to defaults - and the GFC.”
- Almost all Europeans say protecting the environment is important to them | Prague Post (9 September 2014)
“Three years on from the most recent similar Eurobarometer survey, it is clear that, despite the economic crisis, Europeans’ concern about the environment has not diminished. In an overwhelming consensus, 95 percent of the 28,000 interviewed citizens said that protecting the environment is important to them personally and many think more can be done. …¶… A strong majority of people share the view that the efficient use of natural resources (79 percent) and the protection of the environment (74 percent) can boost economic growth. While 80 percent consider that the economy influences their quality of life, 75 percent think the state of the environment has a similar impact and 77 percent of EU citizens believe that environmental problems have a direct effect on their daily lives. They worry most about pollution — air (56 percent) and water pollution (50 percent) ranking highest — as well as waste generation and the depletion of natural resources.”