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Objectives of the Environmental Implementation Review

The overarching objective of the Environmental Implementation Review (EIR) is to support the delivery of the objectives of existing EU environmental policies and legislation. The EIR process should be inclusive and participative, flexible and in synergy with existing work on environmental implementation.

Implementation of EU rules is in the first place a task for the EU Member States themselves, but the Commission has the responsibility to oversee the application of the common rules agreed by the European Parliament and by the Member States within the Council. Enforcement remains ultimately a significant tool to ensure the proper implementation of legal provisions, but targeted compliance-promotion actions addressed to the Member States, have been initiated for several years in all sectors of the environmental acquis. Such technical, focused support remains crucial and will be continued, but should be integrated into a systemic approach meant to tackle cross-sectoral aspects, offer a comprehensive view of achievements and challenges, and define the scale and range of priorities requiring not only technical but also political attention.

In this context, the Environmental Implementation Review (EIR) initiative aims to improve the common knowledge about existing implementation gaps on EU environmental policy and law in each Member State; provide new solutions complementary to legal enforcement; address the underlying root and often cross-sectoral causes of these gaps; and stimulate exchanges of good practices.

Based on the diagnostic, the Commission would be ready to accompany the Member States' own efforts with technical and financial support and if necessary, with expertise underpinning structural reforms.

The EIR will therefore be conducted by the Commission to:

  • provide an informed and synthetic picture of where each Member State stands as regards the main environmental implementation gaps, based on the same set of benchmarks which reflect the existing, agreed policy objectives and key obligations defined by the EU environmental legislation;
  • create the opportunity for a structured dialogue with each Member States on the achievements and challenges in tackling the implementation gaps and about the actions needed;
  • provide early and tailored support to Member States in streamlining their efforts to implement EU environmental acquis and policies based on the findings of the reports;
  • strengthen the EU's compliance culture in the area of environmental policies and provide an informed basis for political debates and deliberations between the EU institutions about the horizontal challenges, opportunities and possible solutions aimed at further narrowing the implementation gaps; identify and share best practices and common problems and make best use of the experience accumulated across the EU, as well as engaging with the whole range of stakeholders in actions to address the implementation gaps;
  • provide aggregated feedback to the Commission about the way in which the EU's environmental policies and legislation work and deliver the expected results.

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