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Last week when I was talking to Belgian academic students about the EU’s sustainable development strategy (SDS), I got serious flack from a DG environment official when I stated that the EU does not have a real policy on sustainable development. What the EU has, is the business-as-usual economic growth strategy with a bit of… » read more

Posted by Willy De Backer

A bit of a different story today. Yesterday I had to defend the new internet-based journalism in the “Stand up for journalism” debate organised by three journalists’ unions in Brussels. The discussion focused on the commercialisation of media and its negative impact on journalists’ jobs. Speakers and union leaders Aidan White (International Federation of Journalists IFJ) and… » read more

Posted by Willy De Backer

In another post I have already pointed to the symbolic irony of calling the new recently approved EU Treaty the “Lisbon Treaty”. As Lisbon has become synonymous with the over-optimistic, neo-liberal “competitiveness first” drive (the “Lisbon agenda”) of the last two Commission Presidents, the LisbonTreaty will be no more and no less than the final conjugation… » read more

Posted by Willy De Backer

The integrated energy-climate programme which the Merkel government is likely to approve in December could bring Germany 5 billion euros in energy savings. The 29-points package (“Eckpunkte für einintegriertes Energie- und Klimaprogramm“) was evaluated by the German Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt) in a special study presented on 31 October 2007. With its climate plan the… » read more

Posted by Willy De Backer

German economics professor Hans-Werner Sinn has an eye-opening article on the Vox-EU-blog. According to the well-known economist, the EU’s policies to reduce fossil fuels consumption are insufficient as they forget about the supply-side of the energy market: “The European Union’s consumption-reducing measures will be in vain if oil sheiks and other owners of fossil fuels… » read more

Posted by Willy De Backer

There is some good and some bad news about the International Carbon Action Partnership (ICAP) which was launched in Lisbon on 29 October. First the good news: the new international forum links up the EU Commission and seven member states (France, Germany, the UK, Italy, the Netherlands, Ireland and Portugal) with eleven US and Canadian… » read more

Posted by Willy De Backer

The irrelevant Lisbon Treaty

European leaders will meet in Lisbon today and tomorrow to try and agree on a new EU Reform Treaty which is supposed to give the Union instruments to operate more efficiently after its big enlargement from 15 to 27 members (see International Herald Tribune and the Times). Since the two “No” referenda in 2005 on… » read more

Posted by Willy De Backer

Sweden needs quick action to adapt to the future effects of climate change, according to a new report (only in Swedish) commissioned by the Swedish government. Heatwaves, erosions along the coasts and increased rainfall are some of the negative effects to which the Nordic country will need to find answers but, on the other hand, forestry… » read more

Posted by Willy De Backer

During a recent seminar organised by the German Marshall Fund in Brussels, I heard EU commission expert for biofuels Paul Hodson express his growing frustration with all the negative news about the agro-fuels in the last twelve months. “Once I was proud of what I was doing”, Paul said, “but now I feel more and… » read more

Posted by Willy De Backer

Forest trip to St Petersburg

My blog will be on hold from Friday 14th until Wednesday 19th as I will be in St Petersburg, Russia, to moderate an interesting conference on sustainable forestry.

Posted by Willy De Backer