The 'Greening the European Semester' expert group was established in 2013 as a result of the workshop of all the EU-28 national environment ministries, on greening the European Semester which was held on 28 November 2013.
The expert group provides a forum for the exchange of the experience among Environmental Ministries and Commission Services on environment contributions to greening the economy in the context of the European Semester. The group will meet in principle twice per year. The members of the group are appointed by the Environment Ministries of the EU Member States. The first meeting of the expert group took place on 13th February 2013 (Brussels).
On 15th January 2016 the Commission hosted the 5th Expert Group Meeting on Greening the European Semester. The main agenda items were progress on the environmental dimension of the European Semester, initial discussions on the new focus on environmental implementation, the new Structural Reform Service Programme of the Commission, the 2015 Circular Economy package, progress on phasing out environmentally harmful subsidies, and updates on relevant studies.
A side event on 14th January with Member States representatives focused on exchange of practices on environmental implementation, and an informal dinner on the same day hosted a speech by Green Budget Europe on the work of GBE and other NGOs on alternative green Country Specific Recommendations.
On 7th September 2015 the Commission hosted the 4th Expert Group Meeting on Greening the European Semester. The main agenda items were discussions on the main challenges concerning the implementation of the 2015 Country Specific Recommendations and preparation of the 2016 National Reform Programmes from an environmental perspective. We also had discussions on better implementation of existing environmental acquis and policies & on the potential of nudging in policy-making, as well as on-going Commission studies on resource efficiency and the potential of environmental taxation.
On 29th January 2015 the Commission hosted the 3rd Expert Group Meeting on Greening the European Semester. The main agenda items were discussions on the main challenges concerning the implementation of the 2014 Country Specific Recommendations and preparation of the 2015 National Reform Programmes from an environmental perspective. We also had interesting and useful presentations on Resource efficiency challenges and the on-going COM studies. The meeting ended with a Round table session on creating synergies between the environment and other areas.
On 18 September 2014 the Commission hosted the 2nd Expert Group Meeting on Greening the European Semester. The main agenda items were discussions on the main challenges concerning the implementation of the 2014 Country Specific Recommendations and preparations for the 2015 Semester. We also had presentations of the two on-going studies, on Environmental tax reform in 14 Member States, and on the Potential of Impact Assessments for greening the Semester. To get deeper insight in specific topics, we introduced working in different groups. This time we had three groups - water, waste and air - and we discussed Data availability on economic and social impacts per Member State in these sectors.
On 13 February 2014 the Commission hosted the 1st Expert Group Meeting on Greening the European Semester. The main agenda items were discussions on the draft final reports of the new studies on environmental fiscal reform potential, costs of floods and SME resource efficiency support.
On 28 November 2013 the European Commission organised a workshop with the Environment Ministries of the EU28 on greening the European Semester. There were more than 60 participants from 25 Member States, Norway, NGOs and the European Commission. The main objectives were to increase the awareness that the Environment Ministries should actively contribute to greening the EU economies through the National Reform programmes and to share experiences and the best practices. In a dedicated video message to the workshop participants, Commissioner Potočnik called for closer co-operation, better data and a more pro-active approach to show that the environment is not part of the problem but part of the solution to economic recovery and job growth.
Video message of the European Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Potočnik, at the opening of the Greening the European Semester workshop on 28.11.2013.