Austrian Presidency aims to incorporate climate protection in all EU programmes and reduce single‑use plastics
On 29 and 30 October 2018, Graz will be at the heart of European environmental policy-making. The Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union is focusing on sustainability and a forward‑looking climate policy. The informal meeting of the European environment ministers will therefore address the increased focus on climate protection of the European Union’s environmental framework programme and the negotiations on reducing single‑use plastics. “Environmental and climate protection must go hand in hand even more closely in future. The increased focus on climate protection of the environmental framework programme is very important to me,” explained Elisabeth Köstinger, Austrian Federal Minister for Sustainability and Tourism, at the informal Council meeting in Graz, adding: “I have put climate protection on the agenda of all Council meetings to date; it is one of the priorities of our presidency.”
Environmental framework programme needs measurable targets
Through Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement, environmental policy has a strong focus on the future. An overarching European environmental policy framework is very important so that we can work together on solutions to global challenges. “The further development of the environmental framework programme must have a clear emphasis for 2030. Climate and environmental policy objectives must be translated into specific commitments and, most importantly, measurable targets for Europe” , said Federal Minister Elisabeth Köstinger.
Reducing single‑use plastics is also a top priority for member states
The European Parliament sent out a very positive message last week with its vote to reduce single‑use plastics. Millions of tonnes of plastic items, which are often carelessly used and thrown away, are polluting oceans, rivers and the natural environment. Köstinger is working arduously during the Austrian Presidency to ensure that member states reach an agreement. “I consider the ban on single-use plastics for which alternatives exist a key step in European environmental policy. In partnership with the European Parliament, we will try to conclude this important legislative proposal under the Austrian Presidency, thus taking an important step towards a plastic-free future” , continued the sustainability minister Elisabeth Köstinger.
Dialogue with NGOs at the informal Environment Council meeting
On the morning of 29 October, Köstinger and EU Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete met with representatives of environmental organisations for an exchange of views. “I believe it is important that we have a basis for dialogue with environmental organisations and that we discuss matters on a factual level”, said Köstinger. “We are all united by the goal of driving forward environmental and climate protection in Austria and achieving progress in climate policy. I am always ready to talk, provided that this takes place at a respectful level without media and action campaigns being the primary goal.”
The EU environment and transport ministers will meet separately on Monday 29 October 2018. The joint informal meeting of EU ministers from both ministries will take place on Tuesday 30 October 2018.
More information about this event can be found on the event page.