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Top EU Environmentalist to Visit UMass Lowell


* M E D I A   A D V I S O R Y *

TUESDAY - April 27, 2004

10 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.


WHAT:  Margot Wallstrom, European Union environment commissioner, will visit UMass Lowell to learn about its pioneering efforts at reducing chemical use in Massachusetts and meet with business representatives about proposed new regulations for overseas exports.  Wallstrom will learn about UMass Lowell's Toxic Use Reduction Institute's initiatives at 10 a.m., then attend a luncheon with more than 15 area businesses at 11:15 a.m.

 *  Wallstrom will be available for press interviews from 12:45 to 1:15 p.m.

WHERE:  Wannalancit Mills conference center, 600 Suffolk St., Lowell

WHY :   Wallstrom is the leading government proponent of sweeping new European Union chemicals legislation - Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals (REACH) - that will change the way companies are required to manage hazardous chemicals and likely set controversial new standards among producers and users world-wide.  Massachusetts industry is the fourth largest U.S. exporter of products to Europe.

            TURI conducts research in innovative technology and provides education and training programs, as well as technical support, to businesses, institutions, communities and government agencies.  The state program has helped Massachusetts industry reduce the amount of toxic chemicals used in manufacturing processes by more than 40 percent, while improving companies' competitiveness. 

Wallstrom's visit to UMass Lowell - as part of a U.S. trip that will include speaking at the annual United States-European chemicals meeting in Virginia and the UN Council on Sustainable Development in New York City - is sponsored by the University's Center for Sustainable Production.

Margot Wallström

Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström was appointed in September 1999. She has had a long career in politics, both in the Swedish parliament and in the government, where she was Minister for Consumer Affairs, Women and Youth in 1988-1991, Minister for Culture in 1994-1996 and Minister for Social Affairs in 1996-1998. Commissioner Wallström also has worked as the CEO of a regional TV network in Sweden and before taking up her appointment as Commissioner she was the executive vice-president of Worldview Global Media in Colombo, Sri Lanka.


Former Swedish Minister and the current European Environment Commissioner

EU Environment Commissioner, Margot Wallström, was born in Sweden in 1954.
Graduating from high school in 1973 she became an Ombudsman for the Swedish Social Democratic Youth League the following year. Three years later she joined the Alfa Savings Bank as an accountant. Her political activities and interest continued and in 1979 she stood as a candidate for the Social Democratic Party. Her subsequent election would be the start of a diverse national career spanning the next two decades.

Losing her parliamentary seat in 1985, Margot Wallström returned to the Alfa Savings Bank as a senior accountant. Re-elected in 1988 she was appointed Minister of Civil Affairs. This continued until 1991 when she became CEO of the Regional Television Network, TV Värmland.

In 1993 Ms Wallström became a member of the Executive Committee of the Swedish Social Democratic Party and Minister of Culture. In 1996 she took on the role of Minister for Social Affairs which she held until 1998. She retired from national politics the same year to become the Executive Vice-president of Worldview Global Media. However her absence from the political arena did not last long. She was appointed to the European Commission of Romano Prodi in 1999 and in September that year the European Parliament confirmed her as the new European Commissioner for the Environment.

In this role Commissioner Wallström has faced a number of challenges to strengthen environmental legislation and to integrate environmental considerations into other areas of EU policy. She has also been active in securing international agreements in this field, most notably the Kyoto Protocol after the US Government rejected the Treaty.

Commissioner Wallström's main task now is to ensure the implementation of Environmentally friendly policies across the EU. Climate change, the preservation of biodiversity, the links between the environment and health, and the disposal of waste are identified as four priority areas. Commissioner Wallström has been outspoken in advocating the 'mainstreaming" of environmental concerns and the active participation of all sectors of society in ensuring environmental health for future generations.

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