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Welcome. My name is Janez Potočnik and I am European Commissioner for the Environment. Making sure our environment is fit for the future is one of the toughest challenges of all... I hope you can see here what we're doing to try to meet that challenge.

My Twitter Updates


08/09/2014: Almost all Europeans say protecting the environment is important to them

Three years on from the most recent similar Eurobarometer survey, it is clear that, despite the economic crisis, Europeans’ concern about the environment has not diminished. In an overwhelming consensus, 95 % of the 28.000 interviewed citizens said that protecting the environment is important to them personally and many think more can be done.

04/09/2014: “The growth path we are following is not the right one”

Speech by Janez Potočnik, Commissioner for the Environment, Meeting with the Environment Committee of the European Parliament, Brussels

26/08/2014: Presentation at the 14th Congress of European Association of Agricultural Economists in Ljubljana

19/08/2014: Mercury – Have your say on the EU implementation of the Minamata Convention

The European Commission has launched an on-line consultation on issues related to the ratification and implementation by the EU of the Minamata Convention on mercury. The Convention was signed in October 2013. At that time, it was the 1st international environmental agreement concluded in a decade. It is a global treaty that aims to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury, and aims to phase out many of its current uses.

05/08/2014: Water re-use in Europe – what do you think?

Water re-use is not widespread in Europe. Most wastewater from urban treatment plants is simply flushed out into rivers and lakes. But increasing re-use would help us respond to the increasing problems of water scarcity and drought, while reducing the risk of contamination from wastewater and lowering treatment costs. Re-use of water also has a lower environmental impact than getting it from other sources such as inter-regional water transfers or desalination.

10/07/2014: Joint statement on the Ministerial Declaration of the High Level Political Forum

10/07/2014: Commission urges Italy to ensure that water intended for human consumption is healthy and clean

The European Commission is opening infringement proceedings against Italy for its failure to ensure that water intended for human consumption meets European standards. Water contamination from arsenic and fluoride is a long-standing problem in Italy, and for the Latium Region in particular.

10/07/2014: Commission takes Portugal to Court over waste water treatment

The European Commission is taking Portugal to Court for its failure to ensure that waste water from small agglomerations is properly treated. The lack of adequate collection and treatment systems, required by EU legislation for small agglomerations since 2005, poses risks to human health and to inland waters and the marine environment.

10/07/2014: Commission takes Spain to Court over non-compliant landfills and high-speed rail link

The European Commission is taking Spain to Court for two (unrelated) breaches of environment legislation. The first concerns poor waste management: despite earlier warnings from the Commission, numerous Spanish landfills are still operating in breach of EU landfill legislation. The second case contains a planned rail link between Seville and Almeria, for which no adequate environmental impact assessment was carried out.

02/07/2014: Speaking points by Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik on Circular Economy

02/07/2014: Live and work in better buildings

Today the Commission adopted new proposals which aim to reduce the environmental impacts of new and renovated buildings by increasing resource efficiency and improving the information available about the environmental performance of buildings.

02/07/2014: Higher recycling targets to drive transition to a Circular Economy with new jobs and sustainable growth

Today the Commission adopted proposals to turn Europe into a more circular economy and boost recycling in the Member States. Achieving the new waste targets would create 580 000 new jobs compared to today's performance, while making Europe more competitive and reducing demand for costly scarce resources. The proposals also mean lower environmental impacts and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The plans ask Europeans to recycle 70 % of municipal waste and 80 % of packaging waste by 2030, and ban burying recyclable waste in landfill as of 2025. A target is also included for reducing marine litter along with food waste reduction objectives.

02/07/2014: Questions and answers on sustainable buildings

02/07/2014: Questions and answers on the Commission Communication "Towards a Circular Economy" and the Waste Targets Review

30/06/2014: European Commission welcomes Outcome of first ever UN Environment Assembly

The first session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA), hosted by the Nairobi-based United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) last week concluded late Friday evening with 16 decisions and resolutions and a Ministerial Outcome Document to encourage international action on major environmental issues. More than 1,200 high-level participants from 160 countries, including Environment Ministers, UN officials, diplomatic and civil society delegations, participated in this historic first session of the UNEA, held under the theme “A Life of Dignity for All.”

30/06/2014: 80 per cent of Europeans want their country to waste less

According to a new survey, most European citizens think their own country is generating too much waste. The survey on the "Attitudes of Europeans towards Waste Management and Resource Efficiency" indicates that 96 % of respondents say it is important for them that Europe uses its resources more efficiently: 68 % say this is very important for them, and just 3 % of respondents say this issue is not important. Across the EU, nine out of ten respondents now sort paper/cardboard/beverage cartons (90 %), plastics (90%) and glass (88 %), at least occasionally, while three quarters sort household hazardous waste (79 %), metal cans (78 %), electrical waste (76 %) and kitchen waste (74 %). There are, however, major differences between Member States, with replies ranging from 99 % (paper in Austria) to 28 % (hazardous waste in Romania).

25/06/2014: €239 million available in 2014 for project proposals

The European Commission has launched the first call for proposals under the LIFE funding programme for projects dedicated to environment. The LIFE sub-programme for environment will provide €238.86 million in 2014 to develop and implement innovative ways to respond to environmental challenges across Europe, focusing on the conservation of nature and biodiversity, resource efficiency and environmental governance and information.

25/06/2014: "Green capitals – spreading the green message"

Speech by Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, European Green Capital Award ceremony, Copenhagen.

24/06/2014: Ljubljana European Green Capital 2016

The capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana, has won the European Green Capital Award for 2016. The award was presented this afternoon by EU Environment Commissioner, Janez Potočnik, at a ceremony in Copenhagen, which holds the 2014 European Green Capital title. Ljubljana received recognition for raising environmental awareness amongst its citizens, for its sustainability strategy 'Vision 2025', its implementation of a range of urban green measures over the past decade and its impressive transportation network.

23/06/2014: Commission asks citizens about Europe's drinking water

The European Commission has today launched a public consultation on EU drinking water policy, to see where improvements could be made. The consultation is a concrete response to Right2Water, the first successful European Citizens' Initiative.

20/06/2014: Joint statement by European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs and Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik on the joint declaration of ACP-EU countries on the development agenda beyond 2015

19/06/2014: 'They ain't making it any more': managing our land sustainably'

Speech by Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, Conference 'Land as a resource', Brussels.

14/06/2014: "ZOTKINI TALENTI"

Speech at the award ceremony "ZOTKINI TALENTI", the solemn announcement of the results from the national knowledge competitions and meeting of young researchers, organized by the Association for Technical Culture of Slovenia (only in Slovene).

10/06/2014: Commission launches new platform to help resolve social conflicts over large carnivores

Europe's brown bear, wolf, wolverine, lynx – at least one of these species can now be found in 21 EU Member States. After a lengthy period of decline their numbers are growing once more, but coexistence with man can be problematic. In an effort to solve the social and economic problems that sometimes result from this new expansion, the European Commission has launched a platform where farmers, conservationists, hunters, landowners and scientists can exchange ideas and best practices on sharing the same land with large carnivores.

10/06/2014: Questions and answers on access and benefit-sharing

10/06/2014: "Learning to live with the wolf"

Speech by Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, Launch of EU Platform on co-existence between people and large carnivores, Brussels.

06/06/2014: Halting biodiversity loss – the EU no net loss initiative

The European Commission has published an on-line consultation to seek the public's views on a future EU initiative to halt biodiversity loss. Biodiversity – the natural world that surrounds us – is in decline around the world, often as a result of human activities. Even when efforts are made to minimize such damage, there is often a residual impact. If we are to stop the decline, losses resulting from human activities must be balanced by gains: when gains are at least equivalent to the losses, the principle of "No Net Loss" is respected.

06/06/2014: "Changing mindsets"

Speech by Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, Green Week Closing Speech, Brussels.

05/06/2014: World Environment Day

Statement by Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik on the World Environment Day

04/06/2014: "Virtuous Circles"

Speech by Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, Opening session of Green Week 2014, Brussels.

03/06/2014: "We need a new revolution"

Speech by Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, New Environmentalism Summit, Brussels.

02/06/2014: Environment: It's the Ecology, Stupid

Europe's largest environment conference – Green Week – will wade into the economic debate this year. Under the banner “Circular economy – saving resources, creating jobs” the 3000 participants will discuss how Europe must move from its current linear economic model towards a more circular one.

02/06/2014: Commission presents proposal to address global poverty and sustainable development

The European Commission adopted a Communication to contribute to the EU position in international negotiations on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as the follow-up to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

27/05/2014: Water quality excellent at most of Europe’s bathing sites

The water at Europe’s beaches, rivers and lakes was generally of high quality in 2013, with more than 95 % of these sites meeting minimum requirements. Coastal performed slightly better than inland bathing waters, the data shows.

26/05/2014: "Fewer forests in our cars"

Speech by Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, Conference on the challenges of deforestation and forest degradation in the context of climate change, development and biodiversity loss, Brussels.

22/05/2014: First Natura 2000 Award winners announced

The winners of the first Natura 2000 Awards were announced at a ceremony in Brussels last night. The winners received trophies from the European Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Potočnik, along with members of the award Jury.