December 4, 2009
The following article has been published by EurActiv.com on Friday 4th December.
The entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty this week (1 December) will see the European Union assume a greater role in protecting the climate and the environment as well as on justice and immigration issues, agreed Brussels commentators in a series of interviews with EurActiv.
“With the Treaty of Lisbon, combating climate change on an international level becomes a specific objective of EU environmental policy,” Elaine Cruikshanks, CEO of the Brussels arm of public affairs firm Hill & Knowlton, told EurActiv.
The PA boss expects the EU “to act in a more coherent and proactive way to achieve binding environmental targets on the international scene”.
‘Greater emphasis’ on climate change foreseen
Georg Danell, managing partner at Kreab Gavin Anderson’s Brussels office, agrees. The European Parliament gains greater control over EU decision-making under Lisbon, which Danell believes “will lead to greater emphasis on addressing climate change”.
Indeed, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso “has already indicated that he thinks so” by creating the post of commissioner for climate action, to be occupied by Denmark’s Connie Hedegaard.
The Lisbon Treaty extends qualified majority voting to 40 policy areas, notably those relating to asylum, immigration, police co-operation and judicial co-operation in criminal matters, and the European Parliament gains new powers under the ‘co-decision’ procedure.
George Ellis Ruano, founder and director of Brussels-based PR firm Gellis Communications, told EurActiv that “we can expect [the EU assembly] to be significantly more vocal in expressing policy positions with the new rules, and the Parliament will certainly cite its ‘democratic legitimacy’ as a directly-elected body”.
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