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Irish Presidency secures agreement on 7th Environment Action Programme to 2020

19.06.2013, 21:12 GMT


Key Presidency priority achieved – a great day for a better European environment, for greener and more sustainable economic growth, and for the delivery of associated quality jobs.

Ireland’s Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan TD, has today (19th June) welcomed the agreement on a new Environment Action Programme (EAP), the flagship legislative priority for the Irish Presidency. The new EAP sets out the priority objectives for EU environment policy to 2020, grounded in an ambitious longer-term vision for an inclusive, green and competitive European economy that safeguards the environment. The agreement will guide and drive actions in advancing resource efficiency, the green economy and the environmental agenda generally in the period to 2020 and beyond.

The 7th Environment Action Programme: ‘Living well, within the limits of our planet’, builds on the achievements of previous programmes which have been a key vehicle for advancing environmental improvements in the European Union.  Agreement was reached with the European Parliament on a programme to transition Europe towards a resource-efficient, low-carbon and environmentally-friendly economy in which natural capital is protected and enhanced, and citizens’ health and well-being are safeguarded.

The Programme sets out a framework to support the achievement of nine priority objectives through development and better implementation of EU environment law, state of the art science, securing the necessary investments in support of environment and climate change policy, and improving the way that environmental concerns and requirements are reflected in other policies. The Programme aims to boost efforts to help EU cities become more sustainable, and improve the EU's capacity to meet regional and global environment and climate challenges.

The Programme gives citizens, businesses and policymakers the long-term view needed to make the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon society in Europe.

The main benefits of the agreement are:

  • The limitation of landfilling to non-recyclable and non-recoverable waste by 2020, an important step towards a more fully-fledged resource management approach to waste.
  • On climate and energy policy, recognition of the need for a legally binding framework beyond 2020 to enable Member States and industry to make the necessary investments in emissions reduction, energy efficiency and renewable energy, taking into account the indicative milestones set out in the Low Carbon Economy Roadmap to 2050.
  • Agreement on the need to address EU soil quality issues including consideration of  a binding legal framework.
  • Agreement on the establishment of a more coherent policy and legislative framework for sustainable consumption and production.
  • Agreement on the need to establish an EU-wide quantitative reduction headline target for marine litter.
  • Agreement that the combination effects of chemicals and safety concerns related to endocrine disruptors and nanomaterials must be effectively addressed across all relevant EU legislation.
  • Agreement on the need to further develop inspection support capacity at EU level, in order to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of inspections. This will also contribute to a more level playing field within the EU.     
  • Agreement on the need to phase-out environmentally harmful subsidies at Member State and EU level.
  • The integration of environmental considerations including water protection and biodiversity conservation into land use planning decisions, with a view to making progress towards the objective of no net land take by 2050.

In welcoming the agreement, Minister for Environment Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan TD, said:

“The 7th Environment Action Programme will bring obvious benefits for citizens through a cleaner and more resilient environment, greener and more sustainable economic growth and the creation of associated quality jobs"

"The Programme will also benefit consumers through the availability of expanded ranges of green products and clearer, more informative labelling on products. As the EAP proposal was only published in late November last year, bringing it over the line during our Presidency was always going to be a formidable challenge. I am delighted that we were able to accomplish this in such as a short time frame and I would like to acknowledge the cooperation and assistance from Member States, the Commission and the European Parliament in helping to make this agreement possible.”

The Minister also paid tribute to the work undertaken by the two previous Presidencies (Denmark and Cyprus) before the Irish Presidency took on the responsibility of securing agreement.

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