Yesterday, the European Commission adopted the Environmental Implementation Review (EIR), a new tool to improve implementation of European environmental policy and commonly agreed rules. Full implementation of EU environment legislation could save the EU economy €50 billion every year in health costs and direct costs to the environment. According to Eurobarometer, 3 out of 4 citizens consider European laws necessary to protect the environment in their country, and 4 out of 5 agree that European institutions should be able to check whether the laws are being correctly applied.

The overarching objective of the EIR is to support the delivery of the objectives of existing EU environmental policies and legislation. The Commission will address with Member States the causes of implementation gaps and find solutions before problems become urgent. In this context, the EIR initiative aims to:

  • improve the common knowledge about existing implementation gaps on EU environmental policy and law in each Member State;
  • provide new solutions complementary to legal enforcement;
  • address the underlying root and often cross-sectoral causes of these gaps; and
  • stimulate exchanges of good practice.

Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, said: “Patchy and uneven implementation of environmental rules helps no one. Improving how environmental laws are applied benefits citizens, public administrations and the economy.  This is where the Environmental Implementation Review (EIR) comes in. The European Commission is committed to helping Member States make sure that the quality of their citizens’ air, water and waste management is of the highest standard. This Review provides the information, the tools and the timetable to do this“.

The EIR shows that in the area of nature and biodiversity, the implementation of EU nature legislation needs to be stepped up, as confirmed by the EU Fitness Check of the Birds and Habitats Directives. Otherwise biodiversity loss will continue in the EU, compromising the capacity of ecosystems to provide for human needs in the future.

Read the full press release or watch the video of Commissioner Vella’s opening remarks at the press conference.

Photo: Georges Boulougouris, © European Union, 2017