On 1 September, the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety of the European Parliament met for the first time after the summer break with many new faces among the Members of Parliament (MEPs). On top of the agenda was an exchange of views with the Swedish Environment Minister explaining the environmental objectives of the Swedish EU Presidency that took office on 1 July 2009.
In his speech Andreas Carlgren expressed his belief that Europe has to act as a convincing leader for the rest of the world with view to the forthcoming dialogue on climate change in Copenhagen. To achieve the settled goals, not just political initiative is required, also the whole European civil society should firmly endorse the proposed idea of 2 degrees Celsius reduction.
Various issues were raised in the queries made to the Swedish Minister by MEPs. He underpinned the demand of a “market-paced” approach for several of the future legislative pieces. The urgency to adopt new soil legislative measures was also accentuated, hopefully leading to an agreement on the Soil Directive under the Spanish Presidency.
On the other hand, the extremely diverse Europe needs specific tailor-made solutions for each of its regions. A prospective regional plan for Mediterranean area’s sustainable development was outlined, in cooperation with developing countries such as Egypt and Turkey.
Some MEPs also pronounced their concerns about the up to 40 % inefficiency of some water pipelines in Europe and there was a common call for a higher efficacy in water consumption, where, in the words of Carlgren, some “very concrete work” is expected.