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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.

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News

22/04/2014: "Let's Clean Up Europe" on 10 May

Every year, millions of tonnes of litter end up in Europe's streets, oceans, beaches, forests and natural areas. And every year millions of Europeans get out in their neighborhoods to clean up in voluntary actions. "Let's Clean up Europe" is an initiative that aims to encourage more such actions, to raise awareness about the scale of the litter and waste problems, and to encourage changes in behaviour. The event is being coordinated by the European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR).

17/04/2014: Commission welcomes Parliament's adoption of Maritime Spatial Planning legislation

The European Parliament today endorsed a Directive for Maritime Spatial Planning which should help Member States develop plans to better coordinate the various activities that take place at sea, ensuring they are as efficient and sustainable as possible. In coastal and maritime areas, many activities compete for the same space and resources: fishing grounds, aquaculture farms, marine protected areas exist alongside maritime infrastructures such as cables, pipelines, shipping lanes and oil, gas and wind installations. The new Directive will help avoid potential conflicts between such diverse uses and create a stable environment attractive to investors, thereby contributing to sustainable growth.

17/04/2014: Questions and Answers on the Directive on Maritime Spatial Planning

16/04/2014: Statement by Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik after the vote in the European Parliament on Commission’s proposal on plastic bags

16/04/2014: Commission takes Austria to Court over failure to protect water quality on Schwarze Sulm river

The European Commission is taking Austria to Court for its failure to ensure adequate protection for the Schwarze Sulm river in Steiermark. In the Commission's view, the construction of a proposed power plant would cause a serious deterioration in the quality of the river, which is one of the longest undisturbed rivers in the region. The Commission is of the view that the regional authority failed to respect the water quality requirements of the Water Framework Directive when it authorised the hydropower project in 2007. Indeed, the permit in question was revoked by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Environment in 2009, but Austria's constitutional court dismissed that revocation on purely formal grounds in 2012. The permit therefore came back into force and can no longer be challenged before a national court. This led the Commission to open infringement proceedings in 2013, on the grounds that the permit for the power plant is not in line with the requirements of the Water Framework Directive. As building work now appears to have begun on the project, the Commission is referring the case to the EU Court of Justice, on the recommendation of Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik.

16/04/2014: April infringements package: main decisions

14/04/2014: Commission welcomes the Council's adoption of the Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Regulation

Today, the EU adopted legislation that will implement an international agreement on access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their utilisation (the so-called Nagoya Protocol) in the Union. Council has also adopted a decision which entitles the EU to ratify the Protocol.

10/04/2014: Experts meet to discuss how to better fight wildlife trafficking in the EU and globally

Following an invitation by the European Commission, 170 experts met today in Brussels to discuss how the EU can better fight wildlife trafficking.

10/04/2014: "Our fight against wildlife trafficking"

Speech by Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, Expert Conference on the EU Approach against Wildilfe Trafficking, Brussels

10/04/2014: Expert Conference on the EU Approach against Wildlife Trafficking

Following an invitation by the European Commission, experts are meeting today in Brussels to discuss how the EU can better fight wildlife trafficking. Discussions focus on how to strengthen enforcement within the EU, how to better fight organised wildlife crime and how to ensure a more strategic diplomatic and development support role for the EU against wildlife crime. The conference which starts at 9:30 will be streamed live on the web. The press release (IP/14/417) summarising the issues will be published after the conference (around 17.30).

08/04/2014: "Our role models and their outstanding environmental contribution"

Speech by Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, Opening the EMAS Award Ceremony, Hannover

08/04/2014: European Eco-Management and Audit Scheme - 2014 award winners announced

The European Commission announced the winners of this year's European Eco-Management and Audit Scheme Awards in Hannover, Germany, last night. The six winning organisations were selected by an independent jury of environmental technology and eco-innovation experts. The winners all apply innovative solutions as a way of improving their environmental performance, demonstrating how important innovation is in the transition towards a circular and resource-efficient economy.

07/04/2014: "Role of the EU Industry to lead the green economy"

Speech by Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, Opening of the Industrial GreenTec Fair, Hannover

07/04/2014: "Eco-innovation and Circular Economy"

Speech by Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, Opening of 16th European Forum on Eco-Innovation, Hannover

03/04/2014: Essen, Ljubljana, Nijmegen, Oslo and Umeå shortlisted for European Green Capital 2016

The European Commission today announced that Essen (Germany), Ljubljana (Slovenia), Nijmegen (The Netherlands), Oslo (Norway) and Umeå (Sweden) have been selected as the five finalists to advance to the next stage of the European Green Capital 2016 Award. The Award is presented to one European city every year, commending its achievements in environmental sustainability. For the first year since its conception, cities across Europe with more than 100,000 inhabitants were eligible to apply; previously only cities with a population of 200,000 or more qualified.

31/03/2014: Statement after the last meeting of the European Resource Efficiency Platform (EREP)