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Jan 26, 2012

Danish Environment Minister's Agenda For EU Presidency

Danish Environment Minister, Ida Auken
Photo of courtesy of Claus Bjorn Larsen
On 26 January 2012 EurActiv.com interviewed Danish Environment Minister Ida Auken and asked to outline her agenda now that Denmark has assumed the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. 

Danish Environment Minister Ida Auken is a member of Denmark's Socialist Party.  She was elected to the Danish Parliament in November 2007 and became Danish Minister of the Environment in October 2011. 

Ida Auken looks forward to a “strong European voice” at Rio+20, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012.  She sees no conflicts between economic growth, creating a green economy, and sustainable development. 

A key objective on Auken's agenda is setting water goals. She noted that in her view, the EU's Water Framework Directive is a "good starting point to enter into negotiations." She added, "My hope is that we can get some new energy into the negotiations because of course we’ve had some disappointments in the past years, especially on climate change, but we also have a history in the environmental area to actually have agreements that move things."

Auken defined “sustainable development” as "economic development that is decoupled from the use of resources. ... And maybe ... the next step is an economy where we actually improve on indicators, for instance, air pollution, water quality, land use, energy use - where, while improving the economy, [we] are actually also improving some of these areas."

She does not see a conflict between regulations and economic growth.  In her view, "many of our green businesses were developed because we had regulation. In Denmark, you can’t burn tyres, so we have a company that recycles tyres and it’s a huge, major success internationally. In Denmark, we set strict standards for building insulation – we have a huge player in that field. ...I think it’s a false position to put those two [growth and regulation] as opposites."

Auken is trained in theology and has worked as a chaplain.  However, she wants to "keep the moralising out of environmental politics ... try to show the opportunities within environmental policies, to show there is the benefit for all of us.  ... being green ...is about using the opportunities ...We can use it as a driver for innovation and for new possibilities and new growth."

For more see: "Danish Minister: Green Growth Without Prophesying," EurActiv.com, 26 January 2011.

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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