Berlakovich under Green fire

Greens chairwoman Eva Glawischnig has hit out at People’s Party (ÖVP) Environment Minister Nikolaus Berlakovich.The Green Party head said Austria was likely to fail reducing its greenhouse gas emissions – and made the minister responsible for the development. Glawischnig also pointed out that the share of energy from renewable sources declined by two per cent to 68 per cent between 1997 and 2010. Speaking to the Kurier newspaper today (Mon), she said the overall energy consumption in the country rose by 4.5 per cent from 2009 to 2010.Glawischnig criticised Berlakovich – who was sworn in as federal minister for environment and agriculture in 2008 – of using money from a fund set up to subsidise firms interested in using photovoltaic technology to place advertisements in newspapers “in his own account.”Glawischnig, who claims that the merger of environmental and agricultural aspects in 2001 was a “huge mistake”, said she wanted a ministry with more responsibilities and rights regarding environmental aspects. “Berlakovich could stay as agriculture minister or state secretary. The environment needs someone dedicated.”The opposition politician added Berlakovich – who recently vowed to create thousands of additional so-called green jobs in the coming years – was “no longer acceptable as environment minister.”Glawischnig followed Alexander Van der Bellen as party leader who resigned after the Greens gained 10.4 per cent in the general ballot in 2008, down by 0.6 per cent from 2006. The Greens are achieving around 13 per cent in current polls. Green parties in other European countries benefited from the recent political climate and economic debates after the nuclear disaster in Japan.