French president announces environmental ”New Deal”

Publish date: November 5, 2007

Written by: Eivind Hoff

French president Nicolas Sarkozy promised top priority to environmental concerns, in a solemn speech that concluded a broad consultation process with stakeholders for an “environmental New Deal.”

In the 25 October speech, he announced ambitious plans to build 2,000 km of high-speed rail tracks by 2020, reduce hazardous pesticide use by 50% within ten years and establish a ceiling for energy-use of 50kWh/m2 in new buildings by 2010-2012 – just to mention some of the more concrete objectives. A green fiscal reform will be central to achieve the ambitious goals, as France experiences heavy budgetary constraints. The next step and the real challenge will be to flesh out the details necessary to implement the proposals.

The speech closed what has been known as the “Grenelle of the environment”, by reference to the “Grenelle accords” of 1968 that led to major reforms in France following the riots and strikes earlier that year.

For more information about “Grenelle of the environment” in English:
President Sarkozy’s speech:

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