The coalition government of the Czech Republic which was elected in June 2002 has made the preparation of a revenue-neutral ecological tax reform a priority project of environment policy. In a letter to German Environment Minister Trittin of September 2002 Czech Environment Minister Ambrozek offered to expand bilateral cooperation on renewable energies and an ecological tax reform. Against this background, at a meeting in Prague on 29 November, 2002 the German-Czech working group on “environment and energy“ agreed to launch a dialogue in the Czech Republic with stakeholders from politics, administration, the media, science, industry, trade, the services sector as well as stakeholders from foundations, churches, trade unions and associations. The German side agreed to convey experience and know-how on an ecological tax reform from specific stakeholder groups.
On behalf of the German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety and financed jointly by the Ministry and the German Federal Foundation for the Environment (Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt, DBU), the Environmental Policy Research Center (Forschungsstelle für Umweltpolitik, FFU) and its Czech cooperation partner Ecoconsulting Prague organised a series of workshops with German experts on the experience gained in Germany during the preparation and implementation phase of the ecological tax reform and on the experience with its current handling. The workshops were geared towards encouraging multipliers in the Czech Republic to provide information and an insight into this topic in the form of publications, seminars, discussions etc. Above and beyond this, acceptance for such project was to be raised among the environment movement and the general public. In the Czech Republic and other central and eastern European countries the discussion on an ecological tax reform can provide the desired and necessary thrust for environmental education. The workshop series can at the same time serve as a model for dialogues on similar topics in central and eastern European countries.
The goal of these workshops was not only an exchange of experience among experts on instruments suitable for drawing up and implementing an environment policy in line with the EU environment acquis, but also to provide an incentive for the establishment of environment and energy policy stakeholders’ networks in Germany and in the Czech Republic and to thus instigate processes of innovation and the distribution of innovation concepts.
FFU and Ecoconsulting Prague worked closely together when preparing these workshops, which were jointly planned, organised and conducted in the Czech Republic. It was the task of FFU to attract competent and experienced speakers from the German side for this dialogue and to feed their know-how into the discussion process within the framework of a dialogue on environment and energy policies. The task of Ecoconsulting was to identify Czech multipliers and to motivate them to participate in the dialogue. Above and beyond this, FFU and Ecoconsulting jointly took care of documenting both the input into this dialogue and the dialogue itself and of making this documentation available on the web (http://www.czp.cuni.cz/ekoreforma/EDR_diseminace/english.htm).
In the run-up to the project, the workshop series started in February 2003 with stakeholders from the environment movement. During the actual project, workshops with representatives from government, administration and scientists from universities and research institutions took place in April, workshops with representative from churches and political foundations in June, workshops with journalists from major German newspapers and magazines in November. In January 2004 there was a workshop with representatives from different trade unions and in May a workshop with representatives from industry and trade. In January 2005 the workshop series continued with social-democrat representatives from both countries and in October this year there was another workshop with representatives from environment NGOs. At the beginning of March 2006 workshops with politicians from conservative and green parties took place.
Mez, Lutz / Tempel; Sybille: Tschechisch-Deutsche Initiative für einen Dialog über eine Ökologische Steuerreform in der Tschechischen Republik. Final report, Berlin, 2006
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