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Monday, 07 January 2013

Cyprus stands out with the water policy and the implementation of Rio +20

December 31 ended the Cypriot Presidency of the EU.
On the environmental chapter, it suffered of recurrent Council blockage on important issues such as climate and GMOs. On the other side,  the application of Rio +20 and water policy could be considered success of the Cypriot Presidency.
"Good in the case of the water policy and sustainability debate, but disappointing on issues such as agriculture, fishing and mixed budget and on other despite good intentions," this was the assessment made by the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) at the end of the Cyprus’s mandate.
"The EU has continued to play a constructive role in the widely Cypriot Presidency," said EEB is satisfied that the Union's role in strengthening the United Nations Program for Environment (UNEP) and the adoption in October of measures for implementation of the agreement reached at the UN conference in the framework of the EU Strategy for 2020 sustainable development.
Also, the water policy was one of Presidency’s priorities. EEB welcomes in particular the Council's support for the implementation of the Framework Directive (WFD) and particularly for the support of development of green infrastructure to reduce the burden on hydromorphological pressure tanks.
However, the Council has not explicitly called for the consideration of the objectives of the WFD in the context of the revision of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), limiting to a call for a "better integration" of the two policies. Similarly, the revision of European standards for quality of water has made little progress.
The implementation of Rio +20 was positively assessed, but the judgment of BEE is more mixed regarding the role in the preparation of climate talks in December in Doha (Qatar). Cypriot presidency could not stop the stalemate in the Council of the EU on raising the EU target of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG).
Finally, as previous presidencies, Cyprus has failed to advance the GMO issue, particularly concerning the revision of the European risk assessment and the freedom given to Member States whether to allow GM crops on their territory . "The presidency would at least have to continue from the efforts of the Danish Presidency in discussing these issues in ad-hoc committee," said EEB.