The European Commission has adopted a communication on climate change, as the first step in the development of a post-Kyoto strategy, to implement measures to fulfil the legally binding commitments for reductions of greenhouse gas emissions undertaken in December 1997. The EU, as a signatory of the Protocol, has the responsibility to ensure that the actions of Member States are consistent with, and meet the obligations of their legal commitments. The communication poses a number of key questions to the Council which need to be resolved before an effective strategy can be implemented. The main criteria for a comprehensive strategy will need to take into account all the provisions in the Protocol. The flexible mechanisms, which safeguard the competitiveness of EU industry, will need to be introduced in a step-by-step and coordinated manner. Developing this strategy will involve an analysis of all the sectors of the EU economy, in order to identify the possible areas for action. An interactive process through which an EU framework can be established should be started, to ensure a coordinated strategy is developed. This should involve agreement between the EU and Member States on their respective actions, data exchange, monitoring of progress, particularly at a European level, and identification of areas for action. The communication also stresses the need for strengthened dialogue with other Parties to the Protocol, to ensure ratification, and to discuss issues such as emissions trading. This will be dealt with at the next conference of the Parties in Buenos Aires, and the Commission believes that the discussions should focus on ensuring the establishment of strict rules and minimum requirements. By the end of 1998, Member States are expected to provide information on national strategies and what they expect from the EU, to enable a more complete communication to be produced in the first half of 1999.