Why is Europe being sold off for petrochemicals?
By Steve HainesThe sale of the EU’s industrial estate for petropulsates is set to become one of the most contentious issues in EU politics ahead of a referendum on the EU treaty next year.EU leaders are under pressure to hold a referendum by the end of 2019 to decide on whether to extend the expiry date of the Lisbon Treaty, which guarantees the right of EU citizens to stay in the EU.
The sale would be a significant blow to a political consensus in favour of staying in the bloc, especially after the recent failure of a reformist government to deliver on the promise to reform the EU-US trade pact, TTIP.
The deal, which includes the so-called free-trade zones between the US and Europe, is widely viewed as a key pillar of EU integration.
But EU officials are under growing pressure to sell off the EU industrial estate in favour on petroecosmetics and other chemicals.EU officials are also worried about the impact of the sale on public health and safety.EU member states would be allowed to sell their industrial estates for up to €10 billion ($12.7 billion), which would represent a significant chunk of the bloc’s budget, which is estimated to be between €8.4 billion ($10.1 billion) and €10.6 billion ($11.1 million).
The EU has already spent over €1 billion on the sale.
The EU has been selling off its industrial estate since 2007 when the bloc entered into the Paris Climate Agreement, in order to protect the environment and reduce CO2 emissions.
The bloc has been under pressure in recent months to sell the EUs industrial estate, which would be one of three blocs that have made a €2 billion ($3.5 billion) profit in the last three years.
The UK and France have been pushing for the sale of EU-owned industrial estates in the past, but the EU has consistently resisted pressure from other member states.EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy has previously said he would be open to any proposal for a sale of some of the 27 member states’ industrial estates.
“We are not opposed to any possibility.
We need to make sure that it is done according to the principles that we have in place.
We have to make clear what we think is right for the future of our economy, what we are going to do in terms of jobs, for competitiveness and in terms for the environment,” Van Roppen said.
But in an interview with Reuters on Thursday, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the EU had not yet decided whether to sell its industrial estates, saying it would make a decision “in a few months” and that a final decision would be made at a European Council meeting in May.
“It is up to the Commission to decide when the final decision will be made,” Juncker told Reuters.EU members have also argued that the sale would undermine efforts to fight climate change, as it would remove the EU from a global climate action plan.
The European Commission says that in the years ahead, the EU will continue to contribute to climate action and will continue its commitment to the Paris Agreement.
But a report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) released in September said the sale could undermine efforts at climate action, and that it would also lead to a reduction in the use of carbon capture and storage technologies.UNEP’s chief climate adviser, Daniel Korman, said in a statement that the EU would be the first major economy to leave the Paris climate accord, and would have an adverse impact on global climate change.
“The EU will be the last major economy outside the agreement to exit the Paris agreement, and will have a negative impact on the Paris deal’s effectiveness,” he said.