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Italy, Poland threaten veto on EU green package

Eco versus economics

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Italy and Poland have threatened to veto the EU's proposed new measures against climate change. The two nations argue that their economies cannot stand the costs of the green legislation as it now stands.

EU Observer quotes Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi, announcing his intention to block the plans, as saying:

"Our businesses are in absolutely no position at the moment to absorb the costs of the regulations that have been proposed."

Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorksi took a similar line, saying that "Poland is ready to veto if there are attempts to force us to accept the climate-change package in the next month."

His colleague Europe minister Mikolaj Dowgielewicz left the door open for negotiations, however.

"We certainly don't see the conditions for early agreement if we don't find better burden-sharing inside the package," he said.

French president Nicholas Sarkozy, current holder of the rotating EU presidency, suggested that the Italians were also taking a negotiating posture and would come round in the end.

"There is some room for flexibility," he said.

European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso also hinted that some of the green measures could be watered down in order to get an agreement.

"We have to be frank - the situation is difficult. There was a lot of pressure that we should be more prudent, more cautious," he told reporters.

The EU Observer report is here. ®

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