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Proposal for a new EU Environment Action Programme to 2020

Preparing the new EU Environment Action Programme

Environment Action Programmes have guided the development of EU environment policy since the early seventies, and the 6th EAP should be seen as part of a continuous process spanning almost 40 years.

The results of the final assessment of the 6th EAP show that on balance the 6th EAP helped to provide an overarching framework for environment policy over a 10-year period, during which environmental legislation was consolidated and completed to cover almost all areas of environment, with the exception of soil. The Programme's adoption by co-decision has been seen by stakeholders as giving it more legitimacy and helping to create a wider sense of ownership for subsequent policy proposals. But it also shows shortcomings and limitations: in particular, inclusion in the EAP is no guarantee that Member States are actually committed to these objectives.

In preparing its proposal for a new Environment Action Programme, the Commission built on the challenges highlighted in the European Environment Agency's State of the Environment Report 2010 and the conclusions of the 6th EAP Final Assessment. Accordingly, the new EAP is much more strategic in nature than the 6th EAP, "setting out priority objectives to be attained" (art. 192.3 TFUE) in environment policy in the context of the Europe 2020 Strategy.

A public stakeholder consultation was carried out between 12 March and 1 June 2012. A press release was also published. The results of the public consultation can be found here.

Council of the European Union

The Council adopted in 2010, 2011 and 2012 conclusions on the 6th EAP and on the 7th EAP:


Committee of the Regions

The Committee of the Regions adopted in 2010 an outlook opinion on the 6th EAP final assessment and on the future policy priorities.


European Economic and Social Committee

The European Economic and Social Committee adopted the following opinions:

  • Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – The Sixth Community Environment Action Program – FINAL ASSESSMENT– (CESE 1903/11 fin) – Brussels, 18 January 2011
  • Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on the Seventh Environment Action Programme and follow-up to the sixth EAP (exploratory opinion – Danish Presidency) (CESE 114/2012 fin) - Brussels, 25 April 2012


European Parliament

The European Parliament adopted a resolution in April 2012: