Issue 55

September - October 2017

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.

In its latest 2018 work programme published this week (24/10) the European Commission has signaled a focus on two key issues under its jobs and growth agenda for 2018 - 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 refle

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 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. TAIEX is the "Techn

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.

The next edition of EU Green Week, under the banner Green Cities for a Greener Future 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.

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.

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.

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 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.