Gothenburg, June 16, 2001 – While being strong on the Kyoto Protocol , EU leaders failed today to deliver a vision for the EU’s Sustainable Development Strategy.

Martin Rocholl, Director of Friends of the Earth Europe said: “This Sustainable Development Strategy is full of good intentions but fails to deliver on targets and measures. Wherever the Commission sought concrete action, the heads of government either weakened or ignored the proposal.”

Among the Commission proposals which were dropped are:

  • Phase out of fossil fuel and tobacco subsidies
  • European energy product tax
  • EU legislation on environmental liability
  • Use of public procurement to favour environmentally friendly products and services
  • Timetabled strategy to reform the Common Agricultural Policy

Martin Rocholl: “It is now up to the Belgian presidency to take the Sustainable Development Strategy further and deliver targets, timetables, concrete measures and legislation. So far we mainly got nice words.”

Duncan Mc Laren, Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland: “It is highly disturbing to see how slow progress is on Sustainable Development within the European Union while at the same time, the EU is pushing aggressively on a neo-liberal trade agenda without accounting for negative world-wide environmental and social impacts.”
FoE urges journalists to listen to the tens of thousands of peaceful demonstrators and not be distracted by a violent minority. FoE is opposed to all forms of violence, no matter where it comes from. We are therefore extremely saddened and angered by the violence that has occurred on the streets of Gothenburg. However, FoE will continue to support peaceful protest and resistance.

Friends of the Earth Europe (FoE Europe)