Writing in Holyrood about the year ahead for the European Parliament, President Jerzy Buzek has said that Europeans should not lose hope on making progress on climate change.
“Many Europeans will have been disappointed by the outcome of the Copenhagen climate conference,” he said.
“But we must not let that be the last word. We must maintain momentum on this issue and look to our next steps.” Acknowledging the need to tackle energy issues due to their link with the fight against climate change, he stated: “We must ensure that our homes, our hospitals, our schools will be heated through this, and future winters, with a constant electricity supply. This means addressing energy security.” As 2010 is the European Year for Combating Poverty, the President explained his hopes that a series of events will draw attention to the fact that 79m – or 16 per cent – of Europeans live below the poverty line. A launch event will be held on 21 January, with activities in the UK beginning around the same time and running until November.
The European Parliament’s 2010 legislative report tabled a number of amendments underlining the view that poverty could be better tackled by promoting joined-up governance. The President said that Scotland could have an exemplary role to play, stating: “Scotland is well-placed to highlight a number of activities that are already under way and are successful, on the part of public, private and voluntary sectors. This will be a key element in sharing best practice.
And similarly, I hope there will be useful lessons for Scotland to learn from other European partners.” Looking ahead to 2011, he notes that this will be the Year of Volunteering, during which time the Poverty Alliance in Scotland will work in partnership with Document Festival to deliver a programme of activities, which will launch with a preview in the Scottish Parliament in October 2010. He said: “This aims to raise awareness of the reality of poverty from the perspective of those who experience it, and will include the production of a series of short documentaries covering young people and poverty, adults and poverty and specific issues in relation to older people.