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EU Commission only green in patches - report

EU Commission only green in patches - report
BRUSSELS - The European Commission got a mixed report on its green policies this week and environmental groups urged it to do more.
In a review by the Green G8, a group of eight environmental bodies modelled on the Group of Eight industrial nations, the Commission, the EU executive, was praised for pushing ahead with a treaty to stop global warming, the Kyoto pact. But it was chastised for failing to provide leadership in the run-up to the Earth Summit on sustainable development and the environment in Johannesburg and for rolling back on ambitious plans to tackle the problems of waste disposal. \"We see four areas where we have given the Commission a positive assessment and eight where we are negative,\" Jorgo Iwasaki-Riss, who edited the review and is from international environmental campaign group Greenpeace, told a news conference. The Commission said in a statement that it welcomed dialogue with the green groups, but disagreed with their assessment. The groups said the four positive areas included Kyoto - which aims to limit greenhouse gases and global warming - and plans to reform European fishing to stop the depletion of stocks. The Commission was also praised for being firm in environment talks with candidate countries to make sure they all met EU norms and for agricultural reform plans, for linking the provision of funds to efforts to protect the countryside. Areas where it was judged to be falling short included delaying action against what greens see as an unsustainable plan by Spain to transfer water across country to farm and tourism areas. The greens also said the Commission had relaxed on the issue of waste by not making more effort to change production and consumption patterns and had failed to push forward with plans to harmonise environmental taxes on energy products. The Commission said it was making progress. \"The European Commission has played the leading role in ensuring that the European Union has committed itself to active leadership on the international stage at Johannesburg,\" it said of the summit, due to take place in August. It also said it was making progress in forcing polluters to pay for damage to the environment and had laws planned in other areas. REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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