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REFIT Evaluation of the SEA Directive

Council Directive 2001/42/EC of 27 June 2001 on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment (SEA Directive)

In a nutshell

The Commission is currently evaluating the SEA Directive to ensure that it is "fit for purpose".

Stakeholders Workshop - 6 December 2018, Brussels

Registrations are opened!

In case of you interest, please, register on the following link before 22nd November 2018:

The purpose of the workshop is to share the preliminary findings of the evaluation with Member States and stakeholders and collect their feedback and reactions to these findings. The feedback collected through the workshop will feed in the evaluation study, which will be completed by February 2019.

Structure of the workshop

The workshop will start with a high-level introduction by the Commission. The main part of the event will be structured around the evaluation criteria. Four one-hour sessions will be dedicated to effectiveness, efficiency, relevance and coherence. The conclusions of the workshop will include first findings and reflections on EU Added Value.

Each session will start with a brief overview of the preliminary findings by the consultants. This will be followed by a panel session involving three to four representatives of authorities, practitioners and stakeholders, who will have an opportunity to provide their views and feedback on the key issues raised under each of the evaluation criteria. Afterward, the audience will have an opportunity to ask questions to the panel, the consultants and the Commission.

Preliminary agenda can be found here.

In practice

The European Commission “Better Regulation” policy aims at evaluating and designing EU policies and laws in an open and transparent manner, backed up by evidence and wide citizens’ and stakeholders’ participation.

Consequently, the European Commission initiated the Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme (REFIT), a rolling programme to keep the entire stock of EU legislation under review. It affects the whole policy cycle, from initiation to evaluation, and aims to make EU law simpler and less costly.

The on-going REFIT evaluation of the SEA Directive follows the Better Regulation policy. The objective of this evaluation is to use an evidence-based critical analysis to show whether EU actions in line with the SEA Directive are proportionate to the directive’s objectives and deliver as expected.

The evaluation covers the application of the entire SEA Directive in all EU Member States from its date of application (21 July 2004). It also includes the relation of the SEA Directive with relevant international environmental treaties such as the SEA Protocol, and the Aarhus Convention. The evaluation will consider all relevant aspects, i.e. legal (e.g. legal base, internal coherence and consistency with other legislation, terminology and definitions, etc.), environmental, economic and social. The evaluation will examine what has worked well, what has not worked well, and why.

The evaluation will rely on an evidence-based approach. Relevant literature, reports will be reviewed and consultation will take place with relevant stakeholders, including national, local and regional authorities, institutions, NGOs and organizations, while ensuring adequate and wide geographical representation within the EU.

The evaluation will identify any shortcomings in its implementation and enforcement, and point out the causes of such shortcomings, including gaps in the existing legislation. Finally the evaluation will include evidence based conclusions.

Open Public Consultation

A twelve-week-open public consultation, consulting on the five mandatory evaluation criteria (i.e. effectiveness, efficiency, coherence, relevance and EU added value), is an obligatory element of the REFIT evaluations. The open public consultation is accessible to all citizens and ensures that all interested parties have the opportunity to provide input.

The SEA REFIT open public consultation started on 23 April 2018 and closed on 23 July 2018 (midnight).

The objective of the public consultation in the form of a questionnaire was to gather information and the views of stakeholders and the wider public on how the SEA Directive has perceived and performed, including the value of having uniform EU legislation requiring the environmental assessment of certain plans and programmes, and the value of the opportunity the legislation provides for public and stakeholder input to the preparation and adoption of certain plans and programmes.

The Roadmap

The evaluation SEA Roadmap is the "project plan". It sets out the subject of the evaluation and its purpose and provides key information on the scope, timing, data, stakeholder consultation and analysis planned to be used.

The feedback period on the roadmap was 11 July 2017 – 08 August 2017.