At the start of the UK Presidency in July this year, the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) - the largest federation of environmental citizens' organisations in Europe - submitted its Memorandum and Ten Green Tests to the UK Government. In its verdict on the Presidency issued today, it compares performance of the Presidency, and the relevant EU institutions, with these Ten Tests. The verdict on balance turns out negative, mainly due to the deal the UK government brokered at the European Summit last week on the Financial Perspective 2007-2013. On the positive side, climate policies clearly stand out in the EEB assessment.

John Hontelez, Secretary General of the EEB, said: "The European Council conclusions on the Financial Perspective ignore the demands from the Commission, the European Parliament and the Environment Council, for a significant allocation of EU funds to the protection of Europe 's biodiversity.

Rural Development funds, which have a lot of potential for improving our environment, have been slashed, and the final settlement remains in the dark about a budget for environmental policy work over the coming years. The deal ignores one of the key tasks for the EU in the eyes of European citizens - protecting and improving the EU environment, also laid down as an obligation in the EU treaties. "

In contrast, the EEB assessment is mostly positive on progress made regarding climate. It welcomes the work done by the Presidency in achieving the results of the Montreal climate conference ending ten days ago, where it was confirmed that the world community (except the USA) will work together to follow up on the Kyoto Protocol. It also welcomed the progressive decisions of the EU Council of Environment Ministers on targeting aviation emissions in the future, while it was disappointed with the refusal of member states to adopt robust and legally binding targets for increasing energy efficiency. Regarding REACH and LIFE+, the EEB gives the Presidency a positive assessment of its management of the dossiers.

On REACH it is glad a decision by EU member states was not postponed, but the EEB is not happy with the result - and will campaign for improvements via the second reading in 2006. On LIFE+ the EEB is satisfied with the position of Environment Ministers regarding the way the future EU environment fund should be handled, but this result is undermined by the uncertainty over future funding - and the absence of any reference to Natura 2000 - in the Financial Perspective.

The assessment also recognises that the Presidency was restricted by delays in the Commission with releasing two Thematic Strategies it was keen to move forward - one on the Sustainable Use of Resources, and one on the Prevention and Recycling of Waste.


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