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Proposal for a new EU Environment Action Programme to 2020

Enabling Framework:

PRIORITY OBJECTIVE 4: In order to maximise the benefits of EU environment legislation, the programme shall ensure that by 2020:

  1. EU citizens have access to clear information showing how EU environment law is being implemented.
  2. The implementation of specific environment legislation is improved.
  3. Respect for EU environmental law at all administrative levels is reinforced and a level playing field in the internal market is guaranteed.
  4. Citizens’ trust and confidence in EU environment law is enhanced.
  5. The principle of effective legal protection for citizens and their organisations is facilitated.

This requires, in particular:

  1. Establishing systems at national level which actively disseminate information about how EU environment legislation is being implemented, coupled with an EU-level overview of individual Member States’ performance.
  2. Drawing up partnership implementation agreements between Member States and the Commission.
  3. Extending binding criteria for effective Member State inspections and surveillance to the wider body of EU environment law, and developing a complementary capacity at EU level to address situations where there is due reason for concern, backed up by support for networks of professionals.
  4. Setting up consistent and effective mechanisms at national level for the handling of complaints about implementation of EU environment law.
  5. Ensuring that national provisions on access to justice reflect the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union, and promoting non-judicial conflict resolution as a means of finding amicable solutions for conflicts in the environmental field.


PRIORITY OBJECTIVE 5: In order to improve the evidence base for environment policy, the programme shall ensure that by 2020:

  1. Policy-makers and businesses have a better basis for developing and implementing environment and climate policies, including measuring costs and benefits.
  2. Our understanding of and ability to evaluate and manage emerging environmental and climate risk is greatly improved.
  3. The environment policy-science interface is strengthened.

This requires, in particular:

  1. Coordinating and focusing research efforts at EU and Member State levels on addressing key environmental knowledge gaps, including the risks of environmental tipping-points.
  2. Adopting a systematic approach to risk management.
  3. Simplifying, streamlining and modernising environmental and climate change data and information collection, management and sharing.


PRIORITY OBJECTIVE 6: In order to secure investment for environment and climate policy and get the prices right, the programme shall ensure that by 2020:

  1. Environment and climate policy objectives are achieved in a cost-effective way and are supported by adequate finance.
  2. Private sector funding for environment and climate-related expenditure is increased.

This requires, in particular:

  1. Progressively phasing out environmentally harmful subsidies, increasing the use of market-based instruments, including taxation, pricing and charging, and expanding markets for environmental goods and services, with due regard to any adverse social impacts.
  2. Facilitating access to innovative financial instruments and funding for eco-innovation.
  3. Adequately reflecting environmental and climate priorities in policies to support economic, social and territorial cohesion.
  4. Dedicated efforts to ensure full and efficient use of available Union funding for environment action, including by significantly improving its early uptake under the Union's Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020 and devoting 20% of the budget to climate change mitigation and adaptation through the mainstreaming of climate action and linked to clear benchmarks, target setting, monitoring and reporting.
  5. Developing and applying a system for reporting and tracking environment-related expenditure in the EU budget, notably on climate change and biodiversity, by 2014.
  6. Integrating environment and climate-related considerations into the European Semester process, where this is relevant for individual Member States' prospects for sustainable growth and appropriate for country-specific recommendations.
  7. Developing and applying alternative indicators that complement and go beyond GDP to monitor how sustainable our progress is and continuing work to integrate economic indicators with environmental and social indicators, including natural capital accounting.


PRIORITY OBJECTIVE 7: In order to improve environmental integration and policy coherence, the programme shall ensure that by 2020:

  1. Sectoral policies at EU and Member State level are developed and implemented in a way that supports relevant environment and climate-related targets and objectives.

This requires, in particular:

  1. integrating environmental and climate-related conditionalities and incentives in policy initiatives, including reviews and reforms of existing policy, as well as new initiatives, at EU and Member State level;
  2. carrying out systematic ex-ante assessments of the environmental, social and economic impacts of policy initiatives at EU and Member State level to ensure their coherence and effectiveness.



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