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EU Commissioner Optimistic about Future of EU and Euro

Ljubljana, 31 December (STA) - The EU will stay together and will be stable, and so will the euro, Slovenian EU Commissioner Janez Potocnik said in an interview for the latest edition of daily Dnevnik's supplement Objektiv.

The environment commissioner noted that officials are aware of how serious the situation was and that any crisis could teach the EU many things, like adjusting the systems and institutions to secure long-term stability, as was the case in the newest EU financial aid mechanism.

According to Potocnik, the measures are going in the right direction, although it would be better to have taken them earlier, but it seems there was not enough political will for it.

He meanwhile warned that the efforts to boost economic growth and create new jobs should include careful consideration of what the economic growth was based on and whether the new jobs were environment-friendly.

Potocnik believes environmental protection should be made part of other policies, as solving problems only through isolated environmental legislation and standards does not suffice.

Commenting on the Slovenian energy policy, he pointed out that projects should be evaluated in the light of long-term goals, and their impact on the budget, on people's health and the environment. "We must know how much they cost and how much they will cost in 20, 30 years' time."

He thinks carbon emissions will not come cheap, which is why there is no direct answer when choosing between Slovenia's planned sixth generator at the Sostanj thermal power station (TES) or a second reactor at the Krsko Nuclear Power Plant (NEK).

The choice is between clean environment with a modern competitive economy and defending old structures, he noted.

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