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Green plans founder due to crisis

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Czech companies are trying to milk the financial crisis. The Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic has asked the government to relieve companies and not to adopt environmental protection laws – and some members of Topolánek’s cabinet have given their preliminary consent. Local businesses are not alone on the battlefield: Eight countries have already called for the reevaluation of the current “green” politics at the EU summit in Brussels.

“I support the intention to have as few new rules as possible,” said the Minister of Transport Aleš Řebíček. Transport Minister Martin Říman is even more radical. “I would agree with this even if there were no financial crisis,” he said.

Stop lorries and emissions

Industry representatives do not want the government to ban lorries from roads on Fridays or adopt the European regulation on air protection. “The climate-energy package would be a nail in the coffin in connection with the financial crisis. Firms cannot afford to pay additional costs of 50 billion,” said Jaroslav Míl, president of the Confederation of Industry.

Also the Friday ban on lorries would mean additional costs, and this may be the reason why Minister Řebíček is still lingering with submitting the bill.

Industry representatives are not without a chance. Businesses all over Europe are calling for a slowdown to the green revolution. The most ambitious project of the European Union thus found itself in a state of emergency. The plan, which would make Europe the world’s number one in the fight against global warming, would cost the continental industry dozens of billions of euro. Therefore, with regard to the current crisis, eight new member states called for a reevaluation of the ambitious aims at Wednesday’s EU summit.

“I think it would be good to wait some time,” the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said Wednesday.

Poland warned in advance it would use the strongest means available to veto any effort that would oblige states to agree on a final version of a climate-energy package by December, as has been suggested by France. “We are playing high, but we have no other choice,” said Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski.

The fight goes on

The Czech Republic has not officially joined the declaration of the other new member states. A final compromise should be reached during its presidency, and so the Czech Republic does not want to make the situation more tense. “It still holds true, though, that we have serious reservations,” said Deputy Prime Minister Alexandr Vondra Wednesday.

Environment Minister Martin Bursík, however, is not happy about hearing voices favour industry interests. “Opinions that the system of emission allowance trading is nonsense are exaggerated. The cabinet’s stance is the opposite,” Martin Bursík said, disagreeing with his colleagues.

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