Magazine Environment for Europeans

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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

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

Environmental taxes can contribute to a healthier planet and healthier people, and encourage more responsible environmental behaviour among citizens. They also spur jobs and growth. Civil society organisations have a role to play in ensuring environmental taxes work, according to a new study commissioned by DG Environment. 

Environmental law, Economics, strategy and information

Our Ocean is a world-leading conference, an annual event that moves to Europe for the first time this year. It's an opportunity for public and private leaders to announce actions that keep the world's oceans safe, sustainable and healthy. Leaders from governments, companies, foundations and civil society organisations will be taking part. Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries talked to Environment for Europeans about Our Ocean and how he wants people to remember it.

Water, marine and coast