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European Commission - Press release

Commission wants your views on priority objectives for the environment

Brussels, 30 March 2012 – The Commission has launched a public consultation to gather views on the 7th EU Environmental Action Programme (7th EAP), which will set out priority objectives to be pursued up until 2020. The consultation remains open until 1 June.

European Commissioner for Environment Janez Potočnik said: “The EU is home to some of the most ambitious environmental rules to be found anywhere in the world. These rules are doing a lot to protect our environment and people. But their strength depends on their implementation on the ground and we need to make them fit for new challenges. We would like to hear from citizens what we can do, together with our Member States and all other stakeholders, to better protect our environment and sustain our prosperity within the planet's limits. The EU may not be able to do everything, but we would like to hear where it can have the biggest impact, and how, for improving the quality of our environment - for ourselves and for the children of our children.

In recent months, the Commission has adopted a number of strategic initiatives on environment policy – the Resource Efficiency Roadmap, the 2020 Biodiversity Strategy and a Communication on improving the implementation of EU law. They aim at improving Europe's competitiveness and enhancing its ecological resilience and are an integral part of the Europe 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

The 7th EAP should provide an overarching, coherent framework for these strategic initiatives, setting out priority objectives and showing clearly how environment policy can contribute to green growth and deliver better health and well-being. It should secure the commitment of all actors concerned – EU institutions, Member States, regional and local administrations, businesses and private sector stakeholders, NGOs and civil society – to a common agenda.

In particular, the 7th EAP should secure commitment to:

  • improving the implementation and enforcement of EU environmental rules in order to deliver better environmental outcomes

  • making sure that other EU policies also deliver on climate and environment objectives

  • having access to sound evidence and the latest scientific knowledge as a basis for environmental policy-making and implementation

  • filling significant policy gaps, where justified by the latest scientific information and in line with the precautionary approach.

Next steps

The results of the public consultation, together with the views of the Council of the European Union, the European Parliament, the Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee, will inform the further development of the Commission's proposal for the 7th EAP, which it plans to present before the end of this year.


Environment Action Programmes have guided the development of EU environment policy since the early seventies. In addition to the results of this consultation, in preparing its proposal for a 7th Environment Action Programme, the Commission will be guided by the challenges highlighted in the European Environment Agency's 2010 State of the Environment Report and the conclusions of the 6th EAP Final Assessment, as well as input from other EU institutions on the results of the 6th EAP.

Further information:

The consultation can be filled in at:

For more details on the EAP see:

Contacts :

Robert Flies (+32 2 295 35 93)

Monica Westeren (+32 2 299 18 30)

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