For two days (24-26 March 2011.) as and inspiring and significant part of the Hungarian Presidency’s programme, Gödöllő Royal Palace was hosting an informal meeting of EU Environment Ministers.
Together with Fotis (from Greece) and Raul (from Romania) we visited the Presidency Headquarters in Gödöllö and keeping you posted about all interesting and important happenings.
(The Gödöllö Hungary EU Presidency venue is a really nice blend of Hungary’s brilliant historical and art heritages and the inspiring modernism and high tech of todays. Everything is convenient well arranged and efficient. So congratulations and thanks for the organizers especially for the protocol staff of Foreign Affairs who were very kind and helpful during our visit.)
"We need an integrated approach, for the future of water resources in Europe, the various Union policies must be coordinated for the protection of water. The Hungarian Presidency aims to facilitate the adoption of a closing document (conclusions), on the sustainable utilisation of water, by the Environment Council, which is due to take place in June."
Friday morning the environmental ministers took a short bicycle tour to Academy of Sciences from the hotels.
After it they were transferred by bus to the Riding Arena of the Royal Palace of Gödöllő where they had a working lunch.
The topics of the first day were: The place and role of water in EU policy and Future of European water stocks.
"Preparations by the Commission to issue in accordance with the Water Framework Directive a comprehensive policy report under the title “Blueprint to Safeguard Europe’s Water Resources”, in 2012 lent currency to the debate of the Ministers."
"The Ministers concluded that extreme weather situations trigger extreme hydrologic phenomena (such as floods, inland water and droughts) more frequently. We must be ready for these situations, with green solutions, as opposed to investments in infrastructure. We need a paradigm shift: We must understand, that floods constitute part of nature’s way, it is not protection against them that we need, rather co-existence with floods, the ministers stressed."
After the quite long afternoon working session there was a signing ceremony of a five sides Declaration for estabilishment of the Mura-Drava-Duna Biosphere Reserve.
"The Environment Council, the Ministers of five countries, signed a Memorandum of Understanding, on the establishment of a cross-border biosphere reserve, in the presence of members of the Council, who remained in the meeting room. The reserve will be established on the banks of the Mura, Drava and Danube rivers, in the territory of five countries. Three of the participating countries are EU Member States (Austria, Slovenia, and Hungary). One is a candidate for membership (Croatia), and one is a non-EU country (Serbia). In Hungary, there are five, the biosphere reserves, but this will be the first protected area that crosses state borders. According to the declaration, the five countries will set up a coordination body of fifteen members (with three representatives for each country), in order to define the steps necessary for the establishment of the biosphere reserve."
In the evening a Presidency press conference was held also in the Gödöllő Press Centre.
(Commissioner Potocnik's empty table. But we understand as we knew he was bit sick and tired.)
"On behalf of the Commission Director General of DG Environment Karl-Friedrich Falkenberg (Director of EU Environment Protection Agency) spoke highly of the exchange of ideas in Gödöllő, as the meeting was the first discussion of the comprehensive policy blueprint drafted by the Commission."
Second day topics were: Climate Change in international context and Roadmap to a low-carbon economy in Europe by 2050.
Commissioner Connie and Minister Fellegi
"The meeting has been the first opportunity for an exchange of ideas, and lends currency to the issue that the commitment period prescribed by the Kyoto Protocol on climate protection, expires on 31 December 2012.
In Gödöllő, the 27 Member States all considered it important, that the EU be able to speak with a single voice in the international climate change conference, which will take place in Durban, South Africa at the end of 2011, stated Tamás Fellegi, Minister for National Development, the meeting chair. EU Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard, highlighted at the press conference that it had been difficult with Kyoto, but would be even more difficult without it; therefore, its commitment must be preserved, because several years of negotiations went into its acceptance.
There have been intensive negotiations for years, on how to proceed, but no agreements have been reached. In the exchange of ideas, the 27 Member States agreed that a legally binding agreement for all major carbon dioxide emitters is necessary; however, an international treaty to be concluded by the end of 2012, is not a realistic option. Therefore, even if some kind of post-Kyoto Protocol agreement is developed, there will still be a period of a few years between its obligations and any future ones.
In a working lunch, ministers discussed the Roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050; adopted by the Commission on 8 March 2011. The document presents cost-efficient methods for the EU, to reduce its carbon emission by 80-95 percent in 2050, compared to 1990 levels. On the way towards the long-term objective, the Roadmap prescribes a reduction of 40 percent by 2030 and 60 percent by 2040, compared to 1990."