Denmark will take the helm of the Council of the European Union from January 2012 at a crucial time for the future of Europe and its citizens. As government cuts start to bite and the debt and Euro-zone crises unfold, Europeans continue to be concerned about the environment. A recent survey found that 95% of Europeans think that environmental protection is important (Eurobarometer, June 2011). Over three quarters also believe that environmental measures would help boost economic growth.
Future Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt receives a rainbow umbrella from a Greenpeace activist at an election rally in Bornholm, Demnark, in June, ahead of the September general election she went on to win.
The new Danish government will lead the political debate on fundamental issues that will help determine whether Europe banks on short-term financial gain at a great environmental cost or whether it favours long-lasting economic and environmental recovery supported by innovation, resource efficiency and clean development.
This paper briefly highlights some of the main environmental issues that will feature prominently on the EU agenda during the Danish EU presidency. These include: the future make-up of the EU energy sector; Europe’s impact on the world’s oceans; the freedom of Europeans to choose how their food is produced; and the elimination of toxic pollution in Europe’s waterways.
120101 Danish EU presidency priorities