The European Commission and national governments are currently considering options for a shorter renewal period for Glysophate, a controversial agricultural herbicide, after the European Commission’s proposal to extend the permit for glyphosate for ten years was rejected this week in the European Parliament. Although not legally binding, the European Parliament’s resolution this week calling for a full phase-out of glyphosate before 2022 heaps pressure on the member states to call for an outright ban in response to widespread public concern across the EU. Further discussions will now take place between the institutions before the legal deadline for renewing the permit for use Glysophate crop spraying in the EU expires on the15th December 2017. The non-binding resolution was adopted by 355 votes to 204, with 111 abstentions. EU member states will vote on a Commission proposal to renew the marketing authorisation of glyphosate on Wednesday. A European Citizen’s initiative calling for a ban on the herbicide reached more than a million signatures in less than a year and will trigger a public hearing in Parliament in November.GlyphosateEuropean ParliamentEuropean CommissionEuropean Councilnewsflash: Issue 55
Sustainable Development and circular economy to move to the core of the economic agenda of EU according to this week’s work programme for 2018 published by the European Commission
In its latest 2018 work programme published this week (24/10) will signal a focus on two key issues between now and the end of the current European Commission mandate in 2019 that of Sustainable Development and the Circular Economy. On sustainable development, the work programme proposes issue a Reflection Paper "Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030, on the follow-up to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, including on the Paris Agreement on Climate Change" (non-legislative, Q2 2018) The reflection paper comes as the Commission prepares to launch its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) multi-stakeholder platform that will be chaired by First Vice President Franz Timmermans. The proposals seek to respond to criticism from NGOs and civil society that the Commission has not done enough following the pub lication of its White Paper on the Future of Europe to put sustainable development at the heart of its five scenarios for the future of the EU which lacked reference to sustainability. With the end of the current European Commission mandate in sight, the executive is now bowing to pressure for the EU to realign its priorities around an agenda of transformational change, one that puts the interests of people and planet first in the context of the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris climate deal. NGOs have gone one step further by producing a new 6th scenario as a contribution to the Future of Europe debate –a SUSTAINABLE EUROPE FOR ITS CITIZENS. It is predicated on sustainability sitting firmly at the heart of the European project, with the EU27 prioritising the interests of citizens, in the EU and beyond. In its second major priority for 2018, and as a follow up to the 2017 Circular Economy Action plan, the European Commission will turn its attention to implementation of the Circular Economy. In its so called “Delivering an action plan for the Circular Economy” the executive envisages:
1. This includes a strategy on plastics use, reuse and recycling (non-legislative, Q4 2017);
2. Regulation on minimum quality requirements for reused water (legislative, incl. impact assessment, Art. 192 TFEU, Q4 2017);
3. REFIT revision of the Drinking Water Directive (legislative, incl. impact assessment, Art. 192 TFEU, Q4 2017);
3. An initiative to address legal, technical or practical bottlenecks at the interface of chemical, product and waste legislation (non-legislative, Q4 2017); and
4. a monitoring framework for the circular economy (non-legislative, Q4 2017)EC Work Programme 2018SDGscircular economynewsflash: Issue 55
MEP’s have expressed that the agreement on EU sustainable development goals are not challenging enough to facilitate the environmental change that is necessary amongst the EU member states. The MEP’s have had a longstanding issue with the agreed goals that the Commission has applied, believing that they are inconsistent and will not work in the long run. The MEP’s are requesting that the Commission not only work to improve the execution of the sustainable development goals, but also to develop the goals in that they will have a larger focus on clean water and biodiversity. The MEP’s also request that the European Investment Bank utilise its power by dedicating 40% of its loans to necessary climate projects by the year of 2030. Some lawmakers of S&D claim that the structure that the EU’s industrial agriculture sector is built on simply does not allow the EU to reach its environmental goals as a whole. An S&D group drafted a resolution regarding EU sustainable actions and obtained 446 votes to 57.MEPsSDGsnewsflash: Issue 55
The Environmental Implementation Review (EIR) is a tool to improve implementation of EU environmental law and policy. It aims to address the causes of implementation gaps and try to find solutions before problems become urgent. TAIEX-EIR PEER 2 PEER is designed to share expertise between national, regional and local public authorities in charge of implementing EU environmental law and policy within the EU Member States. TAIEXis the "Technical Assistance and Information Exchange" Instrument, a peer-to-peer exchange tool of the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations. Established more than twenty years ago, TAIEX has supported public administrations in the Enlargement and Neighbourhood countries in the approximation, application and enforcement of the EU acquis. TAIEX-EIR PEER 2 PEER builds on this successful and well-established tool and applies it to environmental laws and policies in the context of the Environmental Implementation Review (EIR). It does so by helping public officials involved in such activities to exchange knowledge, good practice and practical solutions for concrete problems, thus improving their administrative capacity and ensuring better results for the implementation of EU policies on the environment.
TAIEX-EIR PEER 2 PEER can finance
Expert Missions: EU Member State experts can be sent to institutions in other Member States that have requested peer advice and exchange of experience on a specific topic. Expert missions can last between two to five days.
Study Visits: employees (maximum three) from a requesting institution can be sent on a working visit to other EU Member State institutions to learn from peers and exchange good practices. Study visits can last between two to five days.
Workshops: single or multi-country workshops can be organized in a requesting institution. Workshops would normally last two days.
Who can participate?
The assistance is provided at request of public institutions involved in the implementation of EU environmental policy and law in the EU Member States, such as:
National, regional and local departments and agencies
Inspection and audit authorities
Networks of experts involved in environmental implementation and enforcement
Member States have voiced concern with the Ecolabel and EMAS schemes stating that they are actually holding the states back in making environmental progress rather than assisting them in moving forward. They state that there is an ‘administrative burden’ and that the systems are not performing on as large a scale as expected. Ecolabel was implemented to create an incentive for Member States to create more environmentally friendly products by allowing producers and importers to apply for the label of their products. There is a strict EU Ecolabel criteria for labeling produts, and this is where Member States have voiced concern. They believe that the criteria is too complicated and the scheme could be more effective if it was simplified. This is something that the Commission is going to change, while also making sure that the project is still effective. Karmenu Vella has stated that the system has been successful environmentally. EMAS is a system that intends to assist companies in evaluating their sustainable and environmental progress. The continuance of EMAS is contingent on the support that the system receives from Member States. The Commission relayed a report to the Member States of an evaluation of the Ecolabel and EMAS schemes, concluding that there should be an improvement in the systems to ensure sustainable progress.EMASnewsflash: Issue 55
The next edition of EU Green Week will explore ways in which the EU is helping cities to become better places to live and work. Showcasing policy developments on air quality, noise, waste and water management, it will promote participatory approaches to urban development, networking schemes, and tools for sharing best practices, engaging local authorities and citizens, and encouraging them to share their vision of a sustainable future. EU Green Week 2018 will include events across Europe, a high level conference and exhibition in Brussels will take place from 22-24 May 2018, and Opening and Closing events (21 and 25 May) to take place in the Member States. The main message of these events should be that any city can become greener, and that real changes are eminently possible. Tools such as participatory approaches to governance should be promoted, demonstrating how cities can engage with stakeholders and develop a shared vision for the urban environment, with potential pathways towards that future. Events focusing on governance and involving citizens and other actors will therefore be favoured. These High-Level Opening and Closing events are currently the subject of a call to cities interested in hosting these events.Green Week 2018newsflash: Issue 55
France has been one of the leading countries in illegal nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM10) levels for a significant amount of time. France received a ‘final warning’ from Brussels in February to reduce its NO2 limits because it was continuously breaching EU NO2 regulations. As a result, the sustainability group ‘Friends of the Earth’ brought the case to the French Court to raise awareness of the situation. The case was then brought to the French Government as an order to implement a new strategy to lower NO2 levels. France’s most authoritative legal group, the Conseil d’État, adopted the case from the Court to ensure that action is taken. The goal is bring emissions below the longstanding limits that were set by the EU’s Ambient Air Quality Directive. There have been some positive developments, as the French Government has pledged to abolish sales of petrol and diesel cars by 2040.Issue 55
The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology has researched the effects that the ban on neonicotinoid has had on bees. Neonicotinoid is an ‘insecticide’ that paralyzes and kills insects. Recently, a ban for the product was implemented with the intention to protect the bee population, but research, beginning in 2014, has proved that the remaining residue from the pesticide may have an even greater negative impact than direct use on the insects. Activists state that a full ban of neonicotinoid must be implemented in order to save bees. There were MEP objections to the ban, but it will be implemented in November.
READ MORETags: Beesnewsflash: Issue 55
The European Environment Agency has voiced concern over the limited actions that Member States are taking to reduce pollution in the EU. Many countries are not complying with set EU limits for ammonia levels, including Germany, Spain and Sweden. Additionally, there are 14 Member States that will not meet the 2030 reduction targets for fine particulate matter. The EEA is concerned that Member States will continue to fail to meet EU targets, which would have counterproductive results on the entire effort. The EEA’s research concluded that 22 Member States will not meet at least one of the reduction goals for 2030. Stagnating pollution levels are the result of pig and poultry rearing, road transport, and failure to reduce nitrogen oxides, ammonia, and sulphur dioxide.Pollution reductionEEAnewsflash: Issue 55
The programme of greening payments to farmers may no longer have the benefit of being exempt from future EU budget cuts. This programme, under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), will be forced to make significant changes because it may be subject to budget cuts, similar to other EU programmes. Research has shown that these direct payments to farmers have made up over a quarter of the multi-annual budget between 2014 and 2020. Over the summer, the European Commission, prepared a ‘reflection paper’ on how the income and expenditure sides of the EU budget may change in light of the UK’s departure from the European Union. The paper claims that Brexit will lead to new systems for the EU’s revenue stream given that the UK’s contribution amounts to 14% of the overall seven year framework for 2014 to 2020.eu budgetfuture of europenewsflash: Issue 55