Issue 35

July 2014

In the wake of the European elections in May, the Parliament has been back in Strasbourg last week for its first inaugural plenary session. With EPP, the centre right party, topping the election, its candidate Jean Claude Juncker was able to secure the support to become the President elect of the European Commission 2014-2019 despite fierce opposition from UK Prime Minister David Cameron. Juncker is expected to be approved by Parliament this week on Tuesday 15th July.

Meeting in Milan on Wednesday 16th July, EU Environment ministers will discuss how to reinforce Europe’s greening policies up until 2030. The current mid-term review of the Europe 2020 Strategy gives a unique possibility to integrate stronger environmental and economic objectives on resource efficiency.

At the core of its Circular Economy package announced last week, the European Commission has confirmed on the 2nd July that it wants the EU to recycle 70% of all municipal waste by 2030 and ban landfilling of recyclable materials including plastics, paper, metals, glass and biodegradable waste by 2025.

The European Commission has adopted a Communication outlining the employment challenges and opportunities of the current transition towards a green, low carbon, energy and resource-efficient economy. The Green Employment Initiative Communication presents an integrated framework to allow labour market and skill policies to play an active role to support this transition. The Communication focuses on the importance of anticipating and establishing adequate skills policies to support workers in coping with structural change.

Simon Pascoe represented ENEP at the latest European Commission working group on Green Infrastructure. This is the second working group the Commission has hosted is seeking to bring the European Commission (DG Environment officials) together with representatives from the Member States, Industry and Civil Society to discuss the follow up to the 2013 Green Infrastructure strategy.

Signals 2014 – the European Environment Agency publication focuses its attention this year on the connection between environment and public health.   The report argues for a clustered or silo-less approach to policy making affecting health and environment sectors.  As an example, a number of major invasive species in Europe have major impacts on domestic crop yields, the farming economy and human health with instances of hay fever being multiplied by more unusual pollens.

The European Commission has published a communication confirming its intention to develop core indicators to assess the sustainability of buildings.  This is one of the measures announced in a policy paper aimed at improving the environmental performance of buildings.  The communication notes that whilst interest in improving resource efficiency in the construction sector is growing at national and at EU level, different national public and private approaches are increasing the complexity of the working environment for all stakeholders.

The Commission has now published its 2014 Call for proposals for LIFE Action Grants under two sub-programmes. For the sub-programme for Environment, this call will cover action grants "Traditional" projects, Preparatory

2030 energy interconnection objectives are likely to be given specific targets under the 2030 framework for climate and energy policies alongside greenhouse gas reduction, the promotion of renewables and increasing energy efficiency. Heads of State have committed to securing a final set of 2030 climate and energy by October 2014 at the latest. The decision is a boost to Southern European Members States who find themselves out on a limb from Europe’s core energy network in the north.

19 EU member states have not yet drawn up laws to implement a directive setting limits on sulphur emissions from ships in the North Sea, Baltic Sea and English Channel that takes effect from next year. The European Commission will begin 'pilot investigations', the first stage of infringement proceedings, against member states that have not transposed the directive on the sulphur content of marine fuels.