BRUSSELS (BELGIUM) – Eight leading environmental organisations , including Friends of the Earth, have expressed their strong disappointment about the proposal of the Convention Praesidium for the first 16 articles of a new Constitution.
“We were shocked to see a definition of sustainable development which is only based on social and economic considerations, and doesn’t even mention the environment,” the ‘Green-8’ said. “We hope that this was an unintentional mistake which will be corrected immediately.” Moreover, while the existing EC Treaty in Article 2 aims for “a high level of protection and improvement of the quality of the environment,” this objective has now been lost in the proposed Constitution.
Equally worrying is that Art. 6 of the existing EC Treaty, which obliges the EU to integrate environmental protection requirements into all its policies, has also completely disappeared in the Praesidium draft. This ‘integration principle’ was a fundamental achievement, consolidated in the Maastricht and Amsterdam treaties, ensuring the coherence of all EU policies with the overall aim of sustainable development. In the view of the Green 8, its deletion would represent an attempt to go 20 years backwards.
If the environment is taken into consideration from the very beginning in all policy areas, this will also lead to improved efficiency, innovation and competitiveness, benefiting Europe’s economy.
“It is also critical,” added the Green-8, “that the new Constitution ensures that the policies and actions of the Union are coherent with the Union’s objectives of poverty eradication and promotion of sustainable development, in particular as they affect developing countries. For a majority of EU citizens, the EU’s political initiatives in the field of environment are one of the best reasons to support European integration. A European Constitution that ignores the importance of environmental protection will not find public support, and we believe it would not deserve it,” warned the 8 organisations.
The Green-8 have suggested Amendments to the draft Constitution to address the above mentioned concerns. The proposed amendments have already won the support of several Convention members, including Germany’s foreign minister Joschka Fischer.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Duncan McLaren, FOE EWNI, +44 207 566 1682
Martin Rocholl, FOE Europe , +32-2-5420180
Lorenzo Consoli, Greenpeace, +32 (0) 496 12 21 12; ;
Ioli Christopoulou, WWF, +32 2 740 0920;
Clairie Papazoglou, BirdLife, +32 2 2800830
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
 The member organisations of the Green-8 are: BirdLife International, Climate Action Network Europe, European Environmental Bureau (EEB), Friends of Nature International, European Federation for Transport and Environment (T & E), Friends of the Earth Europe (FoEE), Greenpeace and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).