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EEB assesses the achievements of Slovenia’s six-month EU Presidency

30 June 2008
by eub2 -- last modified 30 June 2008

Slovenia's Presidency will be remembered for paving the way for an EU agreement on key energy and climate issues in time for the next international climate change summit in Copenhagen in 2009," said John Hontelez, Secretary General of EEB, Europe's largest federation of environmental citizens' groups.


"It also worked hard on a number of specific environmental agenda issues, including leadership on biodiversity where the Presidency re-ensured support from EU leaders on Natura 2000 at a time when climate change was dominating all environmental debates in Spring Council."

On the downside, EEB noted that the Slovenian Presidency made no visible effort to put the Soil Framework Directive back on the agenda after its blockage in Environment Council last December. Perhaps most grievously, the Presidency convinced Parliament to give up on all key elements of its first reading of the Waste Framework Directive and push through inadequate recycling targets in a drastically watered-down directive.

As usual, the EEB has produced an assessment of the outgoing Presidency, based on the Ten Green Tests it put before the Slovenian government when it took over from Portugal on the 1st of January. The Presidency clearly scores positive on climate because of its leadership on the Energy/Climate package. The EEB also applauds the progress made on biodiversity issues and especially the discussions the Presidency led on second generation biofuels and forest biodiversity.

But the EEB has major concerns over the disappointing outcome of the Waste Framework Directive, in which the Presidency played too strong a hand in watering down from Parliament's original first reading position, resulting in a decimation of mandatory recycling targets. Finally, the Slovenian presidency took little initiative on the CAP Health Check and focused on simply facilitating a Council position. In combination with the Presidency's inaction after last December's blockade of the Soil Framework Directive, Slovenia's marks on a more sustainable future for European agriculture are therefore very low.

The EEB is a federation of over 145 environmental citizens' organisations based in EU Member States and most accession countries. The main aim of the EEB is to protect and improve the environment of Europe and to promote knowledge and understanding of EU environmental and sustainable development policies amongst the general public in the EU to enable them to play their part in achieving that goal.

European Environmental Bureau