"Competitiveness test" set for EU climate policy

European leaders request identification of "burdensome" policies, emphasis on "cost-effective" actions

Rising concerns in some European capitals over the costs of limiting greenhouse gas emissions in line with Kyoto protocol commitments have surfaced in a communiqué approved by EU heads of government in Brussels on Friday.

While EU negotiators were last week in Milan extolling the bloc's commitment to the Kyoto protocol, it has emerged, government representatives in Brussels were haggling over whether to characterise the treaty as a risk to European competitiveness. A majority of current EU members are projected to miss their Kyoto emission targets for 2008-12. A few appear to be panicking.

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