Government will use UK presidency of EU to encourage the delivery of sustainable communities across member states.

The government is aiming to set up a European-wide framework to drive sustainability.

In his keynote speech at the Delivering Sustainable Communities Summit John Prescott said that he wanted to create a forum for exchanging views and experiences across member states.

Prescott said he would use the UK Presidency of the European Union to encourage sustainable communities particularly in new Eastern European member states.

Prescott said: “There are huge challenges in the new Europe. The expansion of the EU to form 25 nations with over 450m people has brought together two different political and economic traditions.”

“The UK’s presidency will be an opportunity to discuss a European approach to creating sustainable communities. Such thinking could create a new framework to consider the emerging regional policy.”

The ODPM said that the idea received strong backing from European partners during discussions at the Summit. It said that there would be a meeting of European ministers later in the year to discuss how sustainable communities could be achieved in the context of regional policy.