Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2009-04-02-Speech-4-011"

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"Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I want to begin by thanking everyone who worked together so effectively in drafting this report: the shadow rapporteurs from the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety; the Czech Presidency; the European Commission officials and – last but not least – the admirable officials from all the political groups. I am grateful to them all for their excellent work. Their valuable contribution has made it possible to achieve agreement at first reading. When I took over responsibility on behalf of the European Parliament for reviewing the dossier on the eco quality labelling scheme, Ecolabel, I acted to speed up the system. Continually updating the environmental requirements for products that do not meet standards forces companies into an ongoing virtuous cycle that raises the overall eco quality standards of products placed on the market. By increasing the production and circulation of products and services with Ecolabel, we will obtain significant permanent and increasing environmental benefits in terms of energy saving, reducing atmospheric pollution and water saving. Ecolabel is a voluntary eco quality label that aims to promote the distribution of products and services with low environmental impact throughout their life cycles, offering consumers accurate, non-misleading and scientifically correct information. Our review of this regulation is part of a broader European action plan for sustainable production and consumption and it is closely linked to the review of EMAS and the Ecodesign directive. Community legislature already provides for this review of the regulation by stating that the system must be reviewed in the light of experience acquired and changed in order to increase its effectiveness, improve its planning and simplify its operation. The purpose of the label is to guide consumers towards products that are able to reduce environmental impact. To date, our experience with the Ecolabel has been patchy. On the plus side, an increasing number of companies are applying for quality certification in the most diverse sectors. They therefore recognise its selective and driving value – this certification is greatly appreciated by consumers who are more aware of the social responsibilities of companies. On the negative side, I can report some problems: the general public are barely aware of the label; the criteria soon become obsolete because the markets change so quickly; and the bureaucratic language deters operators from taking part. The new Ecolabel will take on a new guise in terms of its look and content. It will become more attractive and its scope will extend to new products: by 2015, we plan to increase the number of groups from the current 25 to twice that number, that is, 40-50 groups. Promotional campaigns are planned. We have earmarked a marketing budget of EUR 9.5 million, and EUR 15 000 have been allocated for a new internet site. The principle that most interested the shadow rapporteurs and found the other institutions in agreement was the fact that the Ecolabel must not simply certify an achieved result but instead must be a dynamic tool that is continually developing, a driving force that continually pushes manufacturers and products towards higher standards of environmental quality by continuously evaluating market benchmarks and establishing new criteria on their basis. Our aim is to guarantee control of the entire product life cycle, which will allow us fully to consider environmental impact at all stages of production and allow all operators in the sector, and also NGOs, to play an active part in the process of reviewing the compromise criteria."@en1

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