Representation in Ireland

Environment

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Family cycling
Family cycling

A new EU survey on attitudes of Europeans towards the Environment shows that 96% of Irish people think that they can play a role in protecting the environment, 2nd highest in the EU after the Netherlands at 97%. The EU average was 87% with people in Bulgaria (73%) least likely to agree.

Support for EU action was also very strong with almost 9 in 10 Irish people (87%) strongly believing that the EU should be able to check that environmental laws are being applied correctly in their country compared to an EU average of 83%. And 89% of Irish people believe that EU environmental legislation is necessary to protect their country's environment compared to an EU average of 80%.

08/11/2017

The most common actions undertaken by Irish people themselves to protect the environment are:

  • separating waste for recycling (65%, same as the EU average)
  • buying local products (44%, just above the EU average of 43%)
  • cutting down on energy consumption (33%, just below the EU average of 35%)
  • cutting down on water consumption (32%, compared to an EU average of 27%)
  • avoiding single use plastic goods other than plastic bags (30%, compared to an EU average of 34%).

The survey shows that 87% of Irish people have reduced their consumption of plastic bags, 3rd highest in the EU after the UK (92%) and the Netherlands (91%). The EU average was 72%.  

However, a large majority of Irish people 98% (EU average: 94%) would like to see more products designed to facilitate the recycling of plastic while 97% think industry and retailers should make more of an effort to reduce plastic packaging (EU average: 94%) and 98% think local authorities should provide more and better collection facilities for plastic waste (EU average: 90%).

There was also strong support (97%) for more education about reducing plastic waste (EU average 89%).

And 72% of Irish people would like to see consumers pay an additional charge for single use plastic goods, cups, plates, etc. The EU average was 61%.

Just over 1,000 Irish people were interviewed for the survey between 23 September and 2 October 2017.

Further information

The Eurobarometer survey as well as the Irish national report can be downloaded here.

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Commissioner Hogan speaks at "The CAP - Have your say" conference

Agricultural policy is best managed at the EU level, focusing on core issues of support for farmers and environmental protection - this is one of the key results from the recent public consultation on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy unveiled in Brussels today.

Speaking at "The CAP - have your say" event in Brussels this morning, Commissioner Phil Hogan identified what he said were four key takeaways from the process. He said: "We can see from the results that Europeans want high quality food; Europeans want farmers to do more to protect the environment; Europeans want more investment in rural areas, and, I am pleased to see, two-thirds of farmers are willing to do more for climate and the environment."

07/07/2017

The public consultation published today received more than 322,000 submissions from a wide range of stakeholders, including farmers, citizens, organisations and other interested parties

Commissioner Phil Hogan continued: "Today is another milestone on the journey towards the future of the Common Agricultural Policy and an opportunity for stakeholders to contribute further to the debate. The response to the public consultation shows the level of interest that there is in the CAP, which continues to support a dynamic agricultural sector, ensures safe and high quality food for 508 million citizens and provides for significant investment in rural areas."

Citizens' views

The high level of participation in the consultation shows that agriculture and its role in society has become an increasingly important issue for many European citizens. The vast majority of respondents (90%) are also clear that there is a real added-value in managing agricultural policy at the European level, as it ensures a level playing field within the single market and ensures that agriculture can respond more effectively to the shared challenges such as environmental protection (85%) and tackling climate change (73%). The need to maintain economic, social and territorial cohesion across the EU (86%) as well as the need for a common framework of sharing best practices (91%) was also frequently mentioned.

Clear aims

The findings of the consultation are also clear about what the Common Agricultural Policy should achieve. Ensuring a fair standard of living for farmers is a key demand, with a majority of respondents (88%) recognising that farm incomes are lower than the EU average and that farmers receive only a small amount of the final consumer price for food (97%). Direct income support for farmers is considered the best way to achieve this (66% of respondents).

The other main aim of the CAP should be to ensure that farmers are encouraged to play their part in tackling climate change and protecting the environment, protecting biodiversity, reducing soil degradation and ensuring a more sustainable use of pesticides and fertilisers.

It is also clear from the findings that citizens and farmers alike want the future CAP to be simpler and less bureaucratic in order to more effectively rise to these challenges.

The findings of the consultation will feed into the Commission's ongoing reflection on the future of food and farming. A Communication on modernising and simplifying the CAP will follow an impact assessment of possible future policy proposals.

Background

The online public consultation on modernising and simplifying the CAP was launched on 2 February 2017 and ran until 2 May 2017. It was open to all interested citizens and organisations and organised through a questionnaire in all 23 official EU languages.

The aim of the consultation was to gather views from farmers, organisations and any other interested parties on three main issues: agriculture, rural areas and the CAP today; objectives and governance of the CAP; and agriculture, rural areas and the CAP tomorrow. It included 28 closed questions (multiple choice), five open questions and the possibility to upload position papers.

For More Information

All replies to the consultation and a summary of the results will be published here.

"The CAP: Have your say" – conference reports and documents will be available here.

IP/17/1939


Press contacts:
Daniel ROSARIO (+ 32 2 295 61 85)
Clemence ROBIN (+32 2 29 52509)

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Representatives of Burren Life receiving their award from Commissioner Vella

BurrenLIFE project has just received a special "Best-Ever" award from the European Commission, recognising it as the best ever LIFE project in the 25 year history of the programme. BurrenLIFE won their prize in the Nature and Biodiversity Category.

The awards are being presented in Green Week to exceptional LIFE projects from the programme's 25-year history, at the Green Awards ceremony in Brussels.

 

31/05/2017

A special edition of the annual LIFE awards, the Green Awards singled out projects that have had remarkable effects on the EU's natural environment and in creating green jobs and boosting green growth over the past quarter century.

The European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella said at the ceremony: "A quarter century is a long time, and over that time LIFE has funded more than 4 000 projects to the tune of over €3 billion." He told attendees that the awards symbolise the Commission's "appreciation for the efforts of thousands, the hard work and dedication of everyone who has contributed to the programme as a whole".

Mr Vella said, LIFE is "living proof of the Commission's commitment to a better tomorrow, and that's why after 25 years it still has a bright future ahead of it".

The packed ceremony was attended by people from across the EU, with representatives from local authorities, government agencies, educational institutions, students, private companies, NGOs and volunteers.

Pictures of the Green Awards are available on the LIFE Flickr page.

 

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Commissioner Karmenu Vella in Dublin on 27 September

European Commissioner Karmenu Vella (Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries) presented Galway's Marine Institute with the first Atlantic Project Award for International Cooperation today. The ceremony took place in Croke Park which is hosting the Atlantic Stakeholders Conference.

27/09/2016

Presenting the award, Commissioner Vella said: "Together, we are focused on using the potential of the sea to offer new economic opportunities. Opportunities not only in emerging sectors, but also by breathing fresh air into traditional ones." To read his full speech on the priorities of EU Maritime policy go to this link.

The project which won the award was led by Ireland and included a number of international partners. It was funded by Horizon 2020, the EU's research fund and looked at how to implement the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean cooperation.

Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, TD also addressed the conference.

MORE

Today's award recognises the AORA-CSA as an outstanding success story in the Atlantic area, highlighting international best practices, and promoting the key priorities of the European Union’s Atlantic Strategy and Atlantic Action Plan, embodied in the Galway Statement and its potential support to the Blue Economy.   Along with the Galway based Marine Institute, partners in the project include Ciencia Viva (Portugal), International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES, Denmark), IFREMER (France), IMR (Norway), PLOCAN (Spain) RANNIS (Iceland), as well as advisory board members drawn from DFO Canada; NOAA, USA; JPI Oceans (Brussels), UNESCO International Oceanographic Commission, World Ocean Council, as well as Brazilian and South African representatives.

The Atlantic Strategy has a strong influence on the European Union innovation and funding programmes including the Horizon 2020 framework programme for research, the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), and the InterReg programme.

In its monthly package of infringement decisions, the European Commission ('Commission') is pursuing legal action against Member States for failing to comply with their obligations under EU law. These decisions, covering various sectors and EU policy areas, aim to ensure the proper application of EU law for the benefit of citizens and businesses.

The key decisions taken by the Commission relating to Ireland are presented below and grouped by policy area: Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Energy, Environment, Health and Food Safety, Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, and Mobility and Transport.

For more information on the EU infringement procedure, see the full MEMO/12/12.

24/01/2019

Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion

Free movement of workers: Commission requests CYRPUS, FRANCE, IRELAND, and ROMANIA to notify full transposition of the rules on supplementary pension rights for mobile workers

The European Commission decided today to send reasoned opinions to Cyprus, France, Ireland, and Romania for failing to notify the full transposition of EU rules on supplementary pension rights (the Pensions Portability Directive, Directive 2014/50/EU) into national law. The Directive lays downminimum requirements on the acquisition and preservation of supplementary pension rights. This Directive is important to promote labour mobility by safeguarding mobile workers' supplementary pension rights. In April 2014, Member States agreed to transpose this Directive and communicate national transposition measures to the Commission by May 2018. The Commission has already sent a letter of formal notice to these countries in July 2018. All 4 countries replied that the transposition process was underway. As the Commission has still not received notification of full transposition, it has now decided to send a reasoned opinion. If the Member States fail to act within two months, the case may be referred to the Court of Justice of the EU.

Energy

Sustainable biofuels: Commission calls on 6 Member States to enact EU rules on Indirect Land Use Change linked to petrol and diesel fuels

Today, the Commission decided to send reasoned opinions to Germany and Latvia, and letters of formal notice to Finland, France, Ireland, and Czechia for failing to fully transpose EU rules on the quality of petrol and diesel fuels on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (Directive (EU) 2015/1513). This Directive aims to reduce the risk of indirect land-use change linked with biofuel production. Indirect land-use change occurs when agricultural land used for growing crops for food or feed purposes starts to be used for growing crops for biofuel production instead - increasing the pressure to use other (unused) land to grow crops for food and purposes to meet that demand for food and feed, which has implications for greenhouse gas emissions. For example, atmospheric CO2 levels increase when agricultural land is extended into land with high carbon stocks, such as forests, wetlands and peat land. The Directive also prepares the transition towards advanced biofuels which are produced from materials such as waste and residues. Under the Directive, Member States had to transpose EU legislation and to communicate such measures to the Commission until 10 December 2017. The Member States concerned have now two months to reply to the concerns raised by the Commission; otherwise, the Commission may decide to proceed to the next stage of the infringement process, including referral to the Court of Justice of the EU for today's reasoned opinions.

Environment

Biodiversity: Commission urges 9 Member States to protect the environment against invasive alien species

The European Commission is calling on Cyprus, Czechia, France, Greece, Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain to step up their implementation of the EU Regulation on Invasive Alien Species (Regulation No 1143/2014). Invasive alien species are plants and animals that become established in areas outside their natural range, spreading rapidly and out-competing native species, with severe economic and environmental consequences. After the law entered into force on 1 January 2015, Member States had to introduce dissuasive penalties, and Member States with outermost regions had to adopt specific lists of invasive alien species for those territories and inform the Commission accordingly. The Member States in question have failed to notify the Commission about their penalties, or about lists of invasive alien species for outermost regions, or both. The Commission has, therefore, decided to send each Member State a letter of formal notice giving them two months to reply; otherwise, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion.

Marine environment: Commission calls on FRANCE, IRELAND and ITALY to protect their marine waters

The European Commission urges France, Ireland and Italy to comply with the reporting obligations on the environmental status of marine waters under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (Directive 2008/56). The Directive provides a holistic framework to protect the EU's seas and oceans, and ensures that their resources are managed sustainably. Under the Directive, Member States were required to review and update their assessment of the environmental status of the waters concerned, the environmental impact of human activities, their determination of good environmental status and their environmental targets by 15 October 2018. The countries concerned failed to submit reports to the Commission by the required deadline. As a result, the Commission decided today to send a letter of formal notice to France, Ireland and Italy. They now have two months to reply; otherwise, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion.

Water: Commission urges IRELAND to improve management of its water resources

The Commission decided today to send an additional letter of formal notice to Ireland as there are still a number of instances of non-conformity and shortcomings in Ireland's transposition of the Water Framework Directive (Directive 2000/60/EC). Ireland adopted new legislation in 2009, 2010 and 2014 improving on its initial transposition of the Directive, but shortcomings have remained. Those identified include Ireland's failure to ensure that activities involving water abstraction, impoundment and changes in hydromorphology are controlled through a system of prior authorisation and registration. Ireland is preparing new legislation to bring in controls for water abstraction, but this has not been adopted and communicated to the Commission yet. Ireland has two months to comply with its obligations; otherwise, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion.

Health and Food Safety

Public health: Commission urges IRELAND to notify transposition of EU law on tissues and cells intended for human application

Today, the European Commission decided to send two reasoned opinions to Ireland over failure to notify transposition of EU rules on human tissues and cells (Commission Directive (EU) 2015/565and Commission Directive (EU) 2015/566). The Commission Directive 2015/565 requires the tissues and cells intended for human application in the EU to be traceable from donor to recipient, and vice versa. A unique identifier called the Single European Code (SEC), which together with its accompanying documentation, allows for this traceability and provides information on the main characteristics of tissues and cells for human use. Commission Directive 2015/566 lays down the procedures to be followed by importing tissue establishments in their relations with their third country suppliers. These Directives set out that their provisions should have been transposed into national law by 29 October 2016 and communicated to the Commission its adopted measures. To date, there has been no notification of transposition from Ireland. Ireland has two months to communicate to the Commission the measures taken to transpose these Directives. Failure to notify these measures could lead the Commission to refer the cases to the Court of Justice of the EU.

Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Commission takes action to ensure professionals and service providers can fully benefit from the EU Single Market for services

Today, the European Commission took infringement decisions concerning 27 Member States to ensure the proper implementation of EU rules on services and professional qualifications. As highlighted in the Single Market Communication in November 2018, citizens and businesses can only enjoy the many benefits of the Single Market if the rules that have been jointly agreed actually work on the ground. Today, the Commission takes action to ensure respect of EU rules in the field of services. While services represent two thirds of the EU economy, a number of barriers still prevent the services sector from reaching its full potential to the benefit of consumers, jobseekers and businesses, and generate economic growth across Europe. In total, the Commission is sending 31 letters of formal notice and one complementary letter of formal notice, in addition to two reasoned opinions, addressing several restrictions in the services sectors:letters of formal notice to 27 Member States (all but Denmark) for the non-compliance of their legislation and legal practice with EU rules on the recognition of professional qualifications and the corresponding access to activities (breach of the Professional Qualifications Directive); a reasoned opinion to Cyprus and a letter of formal notice to Portugal regarding their specific rules concerning the access to activities of engineers and architects (breach of the Professional Qualifications Directive); a supplementary letter of formal notice to Croatia regarding restrictions for lawyers to provide multidisciplinary services, advertising restrictions and limitations on the right to practice (breach of the EU Services Directive and the Directive 98/5/EC on the establishment of lawyers and law firms); two letters of formal notice to France and Poland and a reasoned opinion to Ireland regarding restrictions on advertising on the free movement of services in breach of EU rules (breach of Article 56 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, TFEU, and the Services Directive); and a letter of formal notice to Belgium regarding the authorisation procedure and general requirements that the Brussels region applies to tourist accommodation service providers (breach of Services Directive). All Member States have now two months to reply to the arguments raised by the Commission; otherwise, the Commission may decide to proceed with the following steps of the infringements procedure. For more information, please refer to the full press release.

Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality

Criminal justice: Commission urges BULGARIA and IRELAND to correctly implement the framework decision on deprivation of liberty

The Commission calls on Bulgaria and Ireland to take action to ensure the EU rules on deprivation of liberty (Council Framework Decision 2008/909/JHA) are correctly implemented in national law. Member States had to adopt their national laws by 5 December 2011. These rules ensure the mutual recognition of judgments in criminal matters imposing prison sentences. EU rules aim to facilitate the social rehabilitation of the sentenced individuals. In Bulgaria, the draft legislative process is at an early stage and the country has not notified the Council and the Commission of any transposition yet. In March 2016, Ireland committed to adopt the legislation by the end of 2016. To date, the Irish authorities have failed to transpose the framework decision and to notify the transposition measures to the Council and the Commission. If Bulgaria and Ireland do not take the necessary action within the next two months, the Commission may send a reasoned opinion on this matter.

Criminal justice: Commission requests IRELAND to implement fully three Framework Decisions on probation measures and alternative sanctions, on supervision measures and on financial penalties

The Commission decided today to send 3 letters of formal notice to Ireland requesting that the country ensures full implementation in its national law of 3 Council Framework Decisions on probation measures and alternative sanctions (Decision 2008/947/JHA), on supervision measures (Decision 2009/829/JHA) and on financial penalties (Decision 2005/214/JHA). The purpose of the framework decision on the probation measures and alternative sanctions is to facilitate the social rehabilitation of sentenced persons, improving the protection of victims and of the general public. This also facilitates the application of suitable probation measures and alternative sanctions, in the case of offenders who do not live in the State of conviction. Member States had to adopt their national law until 6 December 2011.

The framework decision on the supervision measures ensures that the person concerned will be available to stand trial. It also promotes, where appropriate, the use, in the course of criminal proceedings, of non-custodial measures for persons who are not resident in the Member State where the proceedings are taking place. In addition, this decision improves the protection of victims and of the general public. Member States had to adopt national law by 1 December 2012. As regards the framework decision on financial penalties, it allows for mutual recognition of financial penalties, enabling a judicial or administrative authority to transmit a financial penalty directly to an authority in another EU country and to have that penalty recognised and executed without any further formality. EU countries had to implement this Decision by 21 March 2007. If Ireland does not take necessary action within the next two months, the Commission may send a reasoned opinion on this matter.

Mobility and Transport

Road safety: Commission calls on IRELAND and POLAND to report on exchange of information on road traffic offences

The Commission decided today to send letters of formal notice to Ireland and Poland for failing to report on their information exchange about road traffic offences as required by EU rules on facilitating cross-border exchange of information on road-safety-related traffic offences (Directive 2015/413/EU). The Directive allows Member States to identify and prosecute non-resident drivers committing offences, such as speeding and drink-driving on their territory. Member States have to send a report to the Commission indicating the number of automated searches on offences committed on their territory by vehicles registered abroad, conducted via an online platform. The report also has to indicate the number of failed searches as well as include a description of the follow-up given to the offences. This information is crucial for assessing the functioning of the information exchange, the effectiveness of the offences investigation by Member States and the Directive's impact on road safety. The report should have been submitted by 6 May 2018. Both countries have two months to reply to the concerns raised by the Commission; otherwise, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion.

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Mayor of Galway Councillor Noel Larking accepting the Award in Ljubljana
Mayor of Galway Councillor Noel Larking accepting the Award in Ljubljana

Galway City has won the EU's prestigious European Green Leaf Environmental Award.

The City was chosen from hundreds of urban centres across Europe with populations under 100,000 as Europe's most environmentally friendly small city. The announcement was made last night in Ljubljana, Slovenia (last year's "Green Capital" winner) and the award was presented by the European Commission to the Mayor of Galway, Councillor Noel Larkin.

22/06/2016

The jury particularly appreciated Galway’s approach to green growth and support of SMEs, as well as their commitment to education and enthusiasm in becoming a Green Ambassador in 2017 and beyond.

Two-thirds of Europeans live in towns and cities. Their health and well-being depends on how well city authorities address environmental challenges. The European Green Leaf Award recognises the remarkable efforts of environmentally-friendly cities.

Winners of this award have to demonstrate well-established records of high environmental standards and a commitment to setting ambitious goals for future environmental progress, underpinned by the practical application of sustainable development. The schemes have a particular focus on green growth and job creation. Winners act as role models and inspire other cities to make their urban spaces sustainable and ultimately more enjoyable places in which to live, work and play.

The Jury was made up of experts from the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Committee of the Regions, the European Environment Agency, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, the Covenant of Mayors Office and the European Environmental Bureau.

Green Leaf applications are assessed on the basis of six topic areas, including climate change and energy performance, mobility, biodiversity and land use, quality of air and the acoustic environment, waste management and circular economy, and water and wastewater management. Cities are judged shortlisted for both awards following a technical evaluation.

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