Verbatim report of proceedings: Sitting of Wednesday, 4 April 2001
Outcome of the European Council of 23/24 March 2001 in Stockholm
Mr President, I welcome the statement that future spring summits are going to be sustainability summits, and thank the Swedish presidency for their real leadership on this. But if we were looking at the world properly, all our summits would be about sustainability. The environmental and social effects of the liberalisation of the energy sector, for example, are sustainable issues. Liberalisation alone will not help us reach our pretty meagre Kyoto targets. How will liberalisation ensure that all people can afford warm homes if they do not have an adequate basic income?
Will the development of our trade with Russia simply strip that country of its natural resources for the lowest possible price? How will this ensure its sustainable development in future?
Sustainability is not just a domestic issue. It is an international and inter-generational concept. If we are to take it seriously it will radically reform the European Union agenda, which will make it a far more relevant and exciting one than people find at present.