Environment action programme: Living well, within the limits of our planet

11-12-2018

The European Union (EU) has been protecting the environment since the early 1970s, under the premise that economic prosperity and environmental protection are interdependent. Successive environment action programmes have set the framework for EU environmental policy. The seventh environment action programme, a binding decision adopted by the European Parliament and Council in 2013, covers the period from 2014 to 2020. Bearing the title 'Living well, within the limits of our planet', it seeks to achieve a 2050 vision for sustainability. The seventh environment action programme sets nine priority objectives: three 'thematic' objectives (on natural capital; on a resource-efficient, green and competitive low-carbon economy; and on health and well-being), four 'enabling' objectives (on implementation of EU law; on the knowledge and evidence base; on investments and externalities; and on policy coherence), and two 'horizontal' objectives (on cities; and on the international dimension). The three thematic objectives are linked to a large number of initiatives, legislative acts and international agreements. A 2017 report by the European Environment Agency sums up progress towards meeting the three thematic objectives as follows: on natural capital, the EU is not on track to meet the 2020 objectives; on a resource-efficient, green and competitive low-carbon economy, and on health and well-being, the 2020 outlook is mixed. The European Parliament is supportive of the action programme. In 2018, it urged the Commission and the Member States to step up its implementation. The European Commission is expected to publish its evaluation of the seventh environment action programme by mid-2019, and could subsequently put forward a proposal for an eighth environment action programme.

The European Union (EU) has been protecting the environment since the early 1970s, under the premise that economic prosperity and environmental protection are interdependent. Successive environment action programmes have set the framework for EU environmental policy. The seventh environment action programme, a binding decision adopted by the European Parliament and Council in 2013, covers the period from 2014 to 2020. Bearing the title 'Living well, within the limits of our planet', it seeks to achieve a 2050 vision for sustainability. The seventh environment action programme sets nine priority objectives: three 'thematic' objectives (on natural capital; on a resource-efficient, green and competitive low-carbon economy; and on health and well-being), four 'enabling' objectives (on implementation of EU law; on the knowledge and evidence base; on investments and externalities; and on policy coherence), and two 'horizontal' objectives (on cities; and on the international dimension). The three thematic objectives are linked to a large number of initiatives, legislative acts and international agreements. A 2017 report by the European Environment Agency sums up progress towards meeting the three thematic objectives as follows: on natural capital, the EU is not on track to meet the 2020 objectives; on a resource-efficient, green and competitive low-carbon economy, and on health and well-being, the 2020 outlook is mixed. The European Parliament is supportive of the action programme. In 2018, it urged the Commission and the Member States to step up its implementation. The European Commission is expected to publish its evaluation of the seventh environment action programme by mid-2019, and could subsequently put forward a proposal for an eighth environment action programme.