A general policy debate on future environmental policies promises to turn into a clash between 'competitiveness-first' commissioners and Environment Commissioner Dimas.

The College of Commissioners will have a general debate on the future of environment policy on 20 July. The debate follows long and intensive discussions within the Commission's services over the adoption of the first two of seven thematic strategies promised in the EU's 6th environment action programme.

The seven strategies envisaged in the 2002 action programme are:

  1. air pollution
  2. marine environment
  3. sustainable use of resources
  4. waste prevention and recycling
  5. pesticides
  6. soil quality
  7. urban environment

Each thematic strategy, for which extensive consultations with stakeholders have already been held, consist of a communication highlighting the issues and possible solutions, legislative proposals and an impact assessment. The first two (air pollution and marine) were supposed to secure the commission's approval in May-June of this year. After lobbying pressure from industry, Commission President Barroso himself postponed the adoption of the two strategies and decided to hold a general debate on the environment policies of the EU and the seven strategies.