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2007 Environment Policy Review

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The 2007 Environment Policy Review reports on progress in European Union (EU) policy during 2007 and analyses coming challenges.

ACT

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 2 July 2008 “2007 Environment policy review” [COM(2008) 409 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

SUMMARY

The Commission highlights that a certain number of decisive steps were taken in 2007 in European Union environmental policy, with in particular the endorsement by the European Council of the energy and climate change package. In January 2008, the Commission translated the commitments into concrete action by adopting a Climate Action and Renewable Energy implementation package which includes proposals on the improvement of the greenhouse gas emission allowance trading scheme, the participation of Member States in efforts to reduce emissions from non-ETS sectors, the promotion of renewable energies and the geological storage of carbon. The Commission also published new guidelines on State aid for the protection of the environment.

In other fields, the commitments under the 6th Environment Action Programme have almost all been delivered. The Commission presented seven thematic strategies (air, waste prevention and recycling, marine environment, soil, pesticides, natural resources and urban environment) and the accompanying legislative proposals have been adopted or are being adopted. Moreover, an Industrial Emissions Directive has been adopted. The REACH Regulation, the Environmental Liability Directive and the Regulation on hazardous waste shipment came into force.

Financial instruments

New financial instruments for environmental policy became operational in 2007, including LIFE+, the Thematic programme for the environment and the sustainable management of natural resources, including energy, and the financial instrument for civil protection.

“Better Regulation”

The Commission has also continued to take action to simplify legislation and to improve its efficiency, in particular by presenting a Green Paper devoted to market-based instruments and guidelines to clarify standards for monitoring and declaring greenhouse gas emissions.

The environment in other policies

Integration of the environment into other policies progressed in 2007, particularly in transport with the entry into force of the Regulation on pollutant emissions from light vehicles (Euro 5 and Euro 6 standards) and proposals on new norms for CO2 emissions from new vehicles and heavy-duty vehicles, and on fuel quality. This integration has also been continued in the fields of agriculture, cohesion policy, development, health, industrial policy, research and commercial policy.

International

Internationally, 2007 was marked in particular by the decision taken in Bali to work on a global agreement on the warming of the climate system after 2012, the decision of the 14th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species to declare a nine-year moratorium on ivory sales, and the launch of negotiations between the Commission, Indonesia, Ghana and Cameroon on logging.

Challenges in 2008 and beyond

Despite progress made in 2007, the Commission highlights that efforts must not be relaxed because there are still many challenges ahead. It also stresses the need to strengthen implementation of environmental policy, which is often slow or incomplete in Member States. To this end, the Commission will step up its efforts to support Member States through better information exchange, guidance and training.

In 2008, the Commission will present an Action Plan on Sustainable Consumption and Production, a revision of the Community Eco-Management and Audit System (EMAS) and the Ecolabel scheme, and will present a White Paper on adaptation to climate change.

Context

This annual activity report aims at ensuring that the 6th Environment Action Programme is monitored. It also aims to contribute to the Lisbon Process and the European Sustainable
Development Strategy.

Last updated: 09.10.2008
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