The Directorate-General for Environment is the European Commission department responsible for EU policy on the environment. It aims to protect, preserve and improve the environment for present and future generations, proposing and implementing policies that ensure a high level of environmental protection and preserve the quality of life of EU citizens. It also makes sure that Member States apply EU environmental law correctly and represents the European Union in environmental matters at international meetings.
Leadership and organisation
DG Environment has approximately 500 staff members. It is organised in six directorates which are, in turn, divided into thematic units. It shares a resources directorate of around 90 people with DG Climate Action.
To develop and facilitate the implementation of policies and legislation that contribute to enabling EU citizens to live well, within the planet's ecological limits, based on an innovative, circular economy, where biodiversity is protected, valued and restored and environment-related health risks are minimized in ways to enhance our society's resilience, and where growth has been decoupled from resource use.
EU environmental policy framework
DG Environment deals mainly with policy development and implementation where its work is guided by multiannual Environment Action Programmes. The General Union Environment Action Programme to 2020 (7th EAP) 'Living well, within the limits of our planet' guides European environment policy until 2020.
Objectives and results
The DG set its objectives through a multiannual strategic plan that aligns environmental policy with the political priorities of the Commission, and sets out the DG strategy to deliver on them: Strategic Plan 2016-2020.
An annual plan translates this strategy into concrete operations for the year to come: Management Plan 2016.
Environmental management at the European Commission
The European Commission sets an example by reducing the environmental impact of its activities through the EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS). EMAS is a management instrument developed by the European Commission for companies and other organisations to evaluate, report, and improve their environmental performance.
Directorate-General for Environment