Europe sacrifices air quality to economy

21 July 2005

Europe sacrifices air quality to economy

The European Commission wants to reduce the amount of environmental regulation, because in its view these rules harm the economy. Existing climate targets will be shoved aside and plans to improve air quality postponed. The Commission's lack of ambition is bad news for the health of millions of Europeans.

Krista van VelzenSP Member of Parliament Krista Van Velzen, commenting on these developments, said: “The environment is increasingly seen within the European Union as a burden rather than an opportunity. Europe could easily become a world leader in the market for environmental technology. With rapidly advancing economies in countries such as China and India the demand for clean technology is growing ever more important.”

A survey conducted by TNS/NIPO in a number of different European countries has shown that 70% of Europeans find the question of the environment worrying. It appears that the EU is once again refusing to listen to what people actually want to see by way of international cooperation. Moreover, given poor air quality and the high price of oil, research into sustainable alternatives is now of even greater importance.”

In September Parliament will conduct a debate with prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende over his cabinet's environmental policy. The SP intends to take this opportunity to call on Europe to do more to pursue environmental targets.

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