Select Committee on Environmental Audit First Report


23. High level political leadership is clearly vital in order to win over reluctant participants in the integration process as we have found previously in assessing progress in implementing the UK Government's objectives on greening government and sustainable development.[18] In the more complex structure of the EU, leadership needs to flow from: the Council of Ministers in its various formations (the Environment Council etc), the European Council, and from within the Commission starting with its President; and also from the Treaty provisions. Anita Pollack (Labour Member of the European Parliament 1989-99) told us that there appeared to be a "lack of real leadership" in the EU on environmental integration since the end of the UK Presidency.[19]

24. As we have concluded from our studies of the UK greening government initiative, high level political leadership is vital to the success of this pan-administrative challenge. Leadership in the EU context is more complex and must be pursued through effective Treaty provisions, the European Council, the Council of Ministers (in all its formations) and individual Member States as well as the Commission. This would be supported by assessment and regular reporting by the European Parliament which could include European Parliament committees calling Commissioners and Presidency Ministers to account across the board.

18   Second Report from the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, The Greening Government Initiative, HC 517-I, Session1997-98, p. xii, paragraph 10 Back

19  Ev p. 6 Back

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Prepared 25 November 1999