The EU Environmental Implementation Review, the first comprehensive analysis on the application of EU environmental policies, was released this Monday and included an in-depth report on the implementation gaps throughout all 28 member states.
The report investigated the circular economy, waste management, water quality, air pollution, environmental taxation, maritime protection, and species conservation sectors of each state. Each state evaluation consisted of reform recognition, guidelines for improvement and a summary of the unique obstacles to “going green” faced by that nation. Full implementation of environmental policies could save the EU economy €50 billion annually, according to the report.
Around 90% of the data used in the Review were provided by the member states, according to an EU official.
Karmenu Vella, the EU member in charge of environmental, maritime affairs and fisheries, remarked in the press briefing that while the results were good, further inter- and intra-state coordination was necessary.
“Better results can only be achieved by better coordination,” Vella said. “Different levels of government have to work together if we’re going to improve quality.”
Vella also mentioned that a new framework for sharing solutions was currently being discussed.
The report, launched in May 2016, was compiled for two main reasons: to raise public and political awareness about the challenges of environmental policies in member states and to lead to a more informed debate within the EU.
“We make more decisive moves towards delivering the environmental protection people expect us to deliver,” an EU official said at a press briefing.
The report found that member states across the board had difficulties implementing reforms in the waste management, nature and biodiversity, air quality, noise and water quality and management fields.
The Review purposefully does not single out any member states, a conscious effort to refrain from “naming and shaming” a member that might be in violation of EU environmental policies.
“The idea is not to name and shame, the idea is to help those who are in need, to continue to encourage those who have best practices,” Vella said. “You cannot overgeneralize who’s best and who’s worst.”
Vella continued that it was difficult to generalize the environmental progress made when each member state had differing successes within each region and sector.
Analysis into implementation failures revealed four root causes that were shared throughout the EU: lack of administrative capacity and insufficient findings, lack of knowledge and data, insufficient compliance and lack of policy integration into larger government.
An EU official remarked that now the main obstacles to implementation has been identified, member states can work towards individual solutions.
“We don’t want these environmental rules to remain on papers, we want these environmental protection to be enjoyed by everybody,” the EU official said.