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NGOs must continue to lobby politicians to achieve sustainability, says Commissioner

Ritt Bjerregaard, the European Commissioner responsible for the environment, recently underlined the value of the often-turbulent relationship between non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and politicians, at the twenty-fifth anniversary conference of the European Environmenta...
Ritt Bjerregaard, the European Commissioner responsible for the environment, recently underlined the value of the often-turbulent relationship between non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and politicians, at the twenty-fifth anniversary conference of the European Environmental Bureau (EEB).

"We need each other but it is not always an easy life," she said of NGOs and politicians, in a speech to mark the occasion in Bonn, Germany, on 17 May 1999. Concentrating on sustainability, she said, "(it) can only be achieved if we succeed in truly integrating environmental concerns into policy making in other areas. In particular into the area of economic and social policy."

Mrs Bjerregaard believes sustainability will only be achieved if consumers and citizens really want it. She therefore sees the activities of NGOs as crucial in bringing about a sustainable future, because their activities bring citizen's concerns to the attention of policy makers. She emphasised integration, moving towards a recycling society, addressing international problems effectively, and maximising the environmental benefits of an enlarging EU as crucial areas to focus on for making sustainability a reality.
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