EU industry ministers adopt integration report

Council stresses equal importance of all three pillars of sustainable development

EU industry ministers yesterday adopted an interim report on integrating environmental and sustainable development concerns into industrial policies. The document will be submitted to heads of government next month alongside reports from internal market and development ministers and more fully-fledged draft strategies from energy, agriculture and transport ministers. The Industry Council pledges itself to work towards a future strategy including timetables and indicators, based on the conclusions of the Helsinki summit. It asks the European Commission to submit an action plan for promoting integration, on the basis of which it promises to "flesh out operational parts" of a strategy until the end of 2004. A key principle set out by ministers is that the economic, social and environmental pillars of sustainable development should be equally integrated into industry policy. "Failure in any one of them will lead to unbalanced non-sustainable development," the report says. Another theme running through the report is that "traditional sector policies" such as regulations as policy tools to achieve integration of sustainable development. In contrast, ministers support economic and voluntary measures as potentially more cost-effective and flexible. The report picks out climate change as a key policy area in which integration is needed. Noting that industrial carbon dioxide emissions are projected to fall while overall EU levels are set to rise, ministers call for climate change policies to be stable and predictable and for all measures to be made cost-effective.

Follow Up:
EU Council of Ministers, tel: +32 2 285 6111.

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