After Strasbourg I had a whirlwind stop in Venice to discuss Maritime Spatial Planning. I cannot think of a more appropriate place to illustrate the urgent need to get our planning right. My speech was well received and is available here. Our week ended with an informal session with the Brussels correspondents of 5 main newspapers (The Guardian, Le Figaro, El Pais, La Stampa and Gazeta Wyborcza). I'm counting on them, and all media we meet over the coming weeks and months, to make sure that our European debates become national conversations. Even if these conversations are sometimes bound to be challenging, this Commission is serious about its commitment to transparency and engagement. When it comes to the issues of the Environment, Maritime Policy and Fisheries, all issues whose success depends on engagement, this is doubly so.
This week is all about innovation. Today I was in Lyon to honour the winners of the European Business Awards for the Environment (EBAE), see the many examples of environmentally friendly ingenuity on display at Pollutec, and close the 17th European eco-innovation forum. Before that I addressed the European Environmental Bureau's 40TH anniversary conference, and then discussed with world renowned economist and sustainable development expert Jeffrey Sachs. After Lyon I will have the privilege of addressing the conference 'Taking Waste Management into the Future' (December 3rd), hosted by Eurocities and Municipal Waste Europe. An excellent week.
I particularly enjoyed meeting the award winners of the EBAE. They get it. They are driven by the urgent need to develop new sustainable business models that create jobs at local level and respect the demands of the consumer. Not an easy task, but one that really must become the template for future business practices. The nominees are from wide-ranging backgrounds, and illustrate that a valuable environmental contribution can be made from the humblest local business to the most global of brands. You can follow the updates on my twitter account @karmenuvella or our excellent social media experts @eu_env who have already created some easy-to-read infographics on the event.
The Pollutec exhibition statistics are extremely impressive: 100 000 sq.m exhibition space, with 65 000 trade visitors, 2 200 exhibitors, 400 conferences, and over 200 innovations premiered across 8 sectors. Imagine the amount of positive environmental messages that will be shared and taken back to every corner of the European Union.
I will be taking my own ideas of application and integration back to Brussels from Lyon, particularly when I address Eurocities and Municipal Waste Europe on 'Taking Waste Management into the Future'. I will expand on my ideas on how we can best encourage resource efficiency throughout the European Union.
This will be a week that not only recognises the pressing need to apply new and innovative practices to protect and preserve our environment, but celebrates those who are leading the way. I'm looking forward to meeting them, and most of all, I hope, involving you as part of the discussion.