Magazine Environment for Europeans

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This year, the European Commission’s Green Week, the biggest annual event on environment in Europe, is all about greening our cities. From 21 to 25 May, it explores ways in which the EU is helping cities to become better places to live and work, showcasing policy developments on air quality, noise, nature and biodiversity, water and waste management. Find out more and be part of #EUGreenWeek 2018.


Environment for Europeans asked Matjaž Malgaj about the latest steps to improve Europe’s drinking water supply. He heads the DG Environment Unit that is responsible for the marine environment and water industry.

Water, marine and coast

The Kigali Amendment to the United Nations’ Montreal Protocol, which aims to cut back the global use of harmful hydrofluorocarbon gases (HFCs), comes into force in January 2019. The EU has received a 2017 Ozone Award for its leading role in negotiating this international agreement.

Climate action

Common European rules on environment matter in our daily lives – whether they improve air quality, ensure safe drinking water or take care that waste is managed properly. When they are not observed, this can cause considerable economic costs and harm human health and the environment. A new European Commission action plan will help public authorities to promote, monitor and enforce compliance with these rules – known as ‘environmental compliance assurance’.

Environmental law

The Netherlands’ oldest city, Nijmegen, is this year’s European Green Capital, with “a passionate, clear and persuasive vision”, according to the judges of this prestigious competition. Exemplary policies in climate adaptation, cycling, waste and water management, and deep citizen involvement make Nijmegen “a true ambassador for change”, says Joanna Drake, Deputy Director-General of the Commission’s DG Environment.

Urban, noise and health

Europe’s air quality has improved, but more progress is needed to reduce ammonia emissions, 95 % of which are caused by agriculture. To meet the targets set by the new National Emissions Ceilings Directive, the agricultural sector should use proven cost-effective ways of lowering ammonia emissions, especially on big industrial farms.

Urban, noise and health, Air, Land use and soil, Chemicals

Eighteen months after adoption of the Circular Economy Package, delivery is on track. To bring all stakeholders together, the new European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform will be a ‘network of networks’, supporting progress across sectors.

Economics, strategy and information

Noise is the second biggest environmental health threat in Europe, according to the World Health Organization. While current EU legislation is broadly ‘fit for purpose’, Member States are not doing enough to implement it. Noise reduction measures are cost-effective, but awareness of the problem and implementing solutions to it remain a challenge.

Urban, noise and health

The European institutions have decided to establish a new Innovation Fund for the period post-2020, to be financed through the EU's emissions trading system. Ahead of a public consultation, over 250 industry experts have given their views on how this fund could support innovative low-carbon energy solutions. 

Climate action

In July, the European Commission stepped up its fight against ivory trafficking and elephant poaching, with new, tighter rules on the export of raw ivory from Europe. It is now inviting individuals and organisations to submit their views on what more the EU should do to tackle ivory trafficking.

Nature and biodiversity, International issues