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European Commission ‘off target’ on environment: Green 10

fishThe outgoing European Commission’s environmental record is worryingly off target (PDF), according to the “Green 10” coalition of leading environmental organisations.

The coalition’s assessment gave the Barroso Commission an overall mark of 4.4 out of 10.

The “Green 10” report examines successes and failures in 12 policy areas that affect the environment, and also sets out a checklist for the next Commission.

The report blames the outgoing Commission’s low score on, among other things, a failure to reform agriculture and fisheries policies and, more broadly, to propose sustainable economic policies. However, it did find some positive
notes, most notably in climate, energy and transport policy.

With Europe gripped by both economic and environmental crises, the environmental groups are calling on the next Commission to double its efforts over the next five years and put in place policies that benefit the environment and people’s health, and create sustainable economic growth and jobs.

The “Green 10” report finds the Barroso Commission got off to a bad start upon taking office in 2004 by judging
environmental objectives to be inconsistent with the overriding jobs and competitiveness agenda. However, spurred by growing public and media interest in environmental issues in the second half of its term, the Commission belatedly began to strengthen legislation in the fields of climate, energy and transport, earning it scores of 7 out of 10, 6 out of 10 and 6 out of 10, respectively.

Those policies, though, have not delivered the results predicted after being weakened by EU governments, the report finds.

The report also finds the Commission has neglected the protection of nature and disregarded its importance for long-term economic sustainability and the fight against climate change. The report criticises the Commission for too often giving in to vested interests when legislating on issues affecting agriculture and marine life.

In particular, the so-called “CAP Health Check” was a missed opportunity to truly reform the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, the coalition says.

The Commission scored just 4 out of 10 on agriculture.

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