EU environment plan fails to result in action

2nd September 2011

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  • Biodiversity ,
  • EU ,
  • Minimisation ,
  • Waste ,
  • Prevention & Control



Europe's sixth Environment Action Programme (EAP) has brought about changes in policy, but failed to improve biodiversity and resource use, admits the European Commission.

In its final review of the 10-year plan launched in 2002, the commission confirms that member states’ failure to implement EU rules more effectively means that targets outlined in the EAP, including halting biodiversity loss by 2010 and improving sustainable soil use, have not been met.

While highlighting achievements, such as the creation of the EU emissions trading scheme and the simplification of waste management legislation, the report also acknowledges that the EAP has not been able to ensure a more sustainable use of resources or reduce the amount of waste being produced by European countries – with waste levels potentially on the increase and members states now importing 20% of the resources they consume.

“We have obtained good results [from the EAP] – but not always as good as we hoped for,” says environment commissioner Janez Potočnik.

Despite creating an overarching framework that provided a clear roadmap for forthcoming policies, the EAP was not able to inspire member states to prepare adequately for implementing new legislation, with the report revealing that environment infringements account for 20% of open cases on failing to correctly apply EU law.

“Better implementation of EU rules by member states is needed to close the gap between the EAP's legislative ambitions and its end-results,” says Potočnik.

The report concludes that despite the EAP being adopted by the Council and the European Parliament, member states inclusion in the programme was no guarantee that they were actually committed to its objectives.


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