BRUSSELS, May 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- As international business representatives arrived at the European Business Summit (EBS) in Brussels today to address Europe's position as an economic power on the international stage, a group of Greenpeace activists blocked the entrance to the conference. The protest centred around the need to challenge European companies to support more ambitious action on climate change. At the same time, Greenpeace welcomes businesses that have spoken out in support of a 30 percent cut in Europe's climate damaging emissions.
Under the theme, 'Europe in the world, leading or lagging?', this year's Summit plays a crucial role in uniting prominent personalities from the EU and its main trading partners to address the internal and external challenges that lie ahead for Europe to maintain its position in the global economy. The Summit is drawing on the participation of leading speakers from the EU, US, Brazil, Russia, China and Middle East & Africa.
FEB and BusinessEurope, key partners of the conference, took the initiative to invite Daniel Mitler, Political Director of Greenpeace International, to speak at an EBS press conference. This provided the non-governmental organisation with an opportunity to explain the intentions behind this morning's activist action. Mr Mitler explained that "business is deeply split" in Europe and that there are both "leaders and laggards" involved in the EU climate debate. Mitler explained that the "laggards" should not stand in the way of those companies leading the EU climate initiative and that Greenpeace fully supports businesses that are in favour of the target emission cuts.
Rudi Thomas, CEO of the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium (FEB), opened a constructive dialogue with the Greenpeace spokesman as the conference kicked into full swing. Mr Mitler assured conference organisers that his organisation was not trying to halt the conference in any way.
With the worst of the financial crisis now behind us, the Summit comes at a time when the corporate and government sectors regain confidence on Europe's future. Regional coordination and cooperation will be central to picking up the pieces after the crisis, as well as seeking new markets and opportunities. The EBS provides a prime opportunity for debate on the most pressing issues facing Europe today.
The full programme and venue details are available at http://www.ebsummit.eu. Alternatively, follow the summit's progress online at twitter.com/ebsummit2011 and by using the hash tag #ebsummit2011.
SOURCE European Business Summit (EBS)