Source AP ©

Environment groups: European Commission fails green policies

The EU's head office was criticized by Leading European environmental groups on Friday for it had failed in its green policies and promotion of ecological issues.

Ten groups - including Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth Europe, WWF and Bird Life International - said their review of the European Commission found that more needed to be done despite its recent moves to champion Europe's fight against climate change.

While welcoming the Commission's shift on the environment, they said that since Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso took office in November 2004 policies have "clung to the dated notion that what's good for the environment cannot be good for the economy."

The review said the Commission had flunked, giving it a grade of 43 out of 100. The EU got lowest marks for marine and forest policies, each receiving only a 2/10 score.

The groups said the low scores were for the EU's "weak proposals on marine protection and for not addressing the destructive impacts of fisheries," and for its "foot-dragging" on policies to ban illegal timber from reaching markets.

The report also chided the EU for allowing new genetically altered crops on the market of the 27-nation bloc. It demanded the Commission suspend the authorization of new GMO crops in wake of claims there are "diverging scientific opinions and scientific uncertainties" over their safety.

It gave highest marks, 7/10, for ambitious plans to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent from 1990 levels by 2020. By then, at least 20 percent of Europe's energy should come from renewable sources such as wind, solar panels, hydroelectricity and energy crops, the EU has said.

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