Environmental integration means making sure that environmental concerns are fully considered in the decisions and activities of other sectors.
Since 1997, it is a requirement under the EC Treaty. Article 6 of the Treaty states that "environmental protection requirements must be integrated into the definition and implementation of the Community policies [.] in particular with a view to promoting sustainable development".
The importance of integration is reaffirmed in the Sixth Environment Action Programme which stipulates that "integration of environmental concerns into other policies must be deepened" in order to move towards sustainable development.
This is the name given to the process launched by European heads of state and government (The European Council) at their meeting in Cardiff, in June 1998, requiring different Council formations to integrate environmental considerations into their respective activities, putting article 6 of the EC Treaty into practice.
The Cardiff process has contributed to raising the political profile of integration, the latter now being regularly discussed at the highest political level. The Cardiff process has also generated a sense of ownership of environmental integration in some Council formations with positive knock-on effects on actions in other EU institutions and Member States.
The Lisbon Strategy is a commitment to bring about economic, social and environmental renewal in the EU. In March 2000, the European Council in Lisbon set out a ten-year strategy to make the EU the world's most dynamic and competitive economy. Under the strategy, a stronger economy will drive job creation alongside environmental and social policies that ensure sustainable development and social inclusion.
In 2001, the European Council adopted the EU Sustainable Development Strategy, which provides a long-term vision that involves combining a dynamic economy with social cohesion and high environmental standards. It requires a new emphasis on policy coordination and integration. As part of the implementation of the EU Sustainable Development Strategy, the Commission has introduced a system of extended impact assessment for all major policy proposals. This approach provides information on the tradeoffs between the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development to inform decisions. By allowing a full appraisal of the potential environmental costs and benefits of all major Commission proposals, as well as of the costs and benefits of specific environmental measures, it helps promote environmental integration.
The Commission is in the process of updating some of the content on this website in the light of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. If the site contains content that does not yet reflect the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, it is unintentional and will be addressed.