Ministers call for strong EU line on POPs

Environment Council reaffirms EU aims ahead of international talks on persistent pollutants

Environment ministers meeting in Brussels today have adopted a resolution reinforcing a strong EU line ahead of international talks in December to control persistent organic pollutants (POPs). The statement was drafted before today's ministerial meeting, which dealt exclusively with climate change, and was rubber-stamped before business got under way.

The Council conclusions stress the need to incorporate the precautionary principle into the draft UN convention and to introduce an explicit objective of stopping the production and use of ten of the most dangerous substances identified for controls (ENDS Daily 27 March).

The move follows prompting from Danish environment minister Svend Auken, who last month wrote to current Council president, French environment minister Dominique Voynet, urging a strong statement ahead of the talks, which are scheduled for early December in Johannesburg, South Africa.

"As we approach the final negotiations of the convention, the EU will be challenged on many of the important issues...and some of our positions will be put under a lot of pressure," he said.

Earlier this year, the USA complained the EU was obstructing the talks by focusing too heavily on differences between the two parties and warned the talks might collapse if did not change its negotiating stance (ENDS Daily 4 February).

Follow Up:
EU Council of Ministers, tel: +32 2 285 6111. The official conclusions of the meeting will be on the web from tomorrow here.

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