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The European Union's environment policy aims to preserve, protect and improve the environment for present and future generations, and to promote the principles of sustainable development.
The policy's main priorities are to: combat climate change; protect biodiversity; reduce pollution and its impact on human health; advocate the prudent and rational use of natural resources.
The EU believes its environment policy is a 'win-win' for Europe: high environmental standards can encourage innovation and entrepreneurship. Protecting the environment therefore complements the EU's goal of developing a vibrant and dynamic economy.
The need to apply sustainable development principles and to be aware of the needs of the environment cut across the majority of EU policy areas. This includes initiatives and programmes running under the Cohesion Policy for 2007-13. Projects bidding for funding through the policy's financial instruments must outline how their proposals might impact on the environment and demonstrate their sustainable development credentials.