EU tightens environmental laws implementation

EPA/PAWEL SUPERNAK

Parts of the Vistula riverbed emerge above the water level as the Warsaw waterway suffers a dramatic drop, August 19, 2015. The European Commission said on February 6, 2017, it will address with Member States the causes of implementation gaps and find solutions before problems become urgent in areas such as waste management, nature and biodiversity, air quality and water quality.

Full implementation of EU environment legislation could save the EU economy €50 billion every year in health costs and direct costs to the environment


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The European Commission has adopted the Environmental Implementation Review, a new tool to improve implementation of European environmental policy and commonly agreed rules.

This is the beginning of a new process, the Commission said, adding it will address with Member States the causes of implementation gaps and find solutions before problems become urgent in areas such as waste management, nature and biodiversity, air quality and water quality.

The package adopted on February 6 includes: 28 country reports which map national strengths, opportunities and weaknesses; a Communication summarising the political conclusions of the country reports and examining common trend; and recommendations for improvements to all Member States.

European Commissioner for Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Karmenu Vella said improving how environmental laws are applied benefits citizens, public administrations and the economy. “This is where the Environmental Implementation Review (EIR) comes in. The European Commission is committed to helping Member States make sure that the quality of their citizens’ air, water and waste management is of the highest standard. This Review provides the information, the tools and the timetable to do this,” Vella said, noting that full implementation of EU environment legislation could save the EU economy €50 billion every year in health costs and direct costs to the environment.

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