840

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Air quality: Pollution sources and impacts, EU legislation and international agreements

10-07-2018

Outdoor air pollution is caused by the emission of harmful substances from natural sources and human activities. It has a number of adverse effects on human health and the environment, and subsequently on society and the economy. Air pollution can be transported or formed over long distances and can affect large areas. Effective air quality policies require action and cooperation beyond the local and national levels, on a European and global scale. This publication presents key air pollutants, lists ...

Outdoor air pollution is caused by the emission of harmful substances from natural sources and human activities. It has a number of adverse effects on human health and the environment, and subsequently on society and the economy. Air pollution can be transported or formed over long distances and can affect large areas. Effective air quality policies require action and cooperation beyond the local and national levels, on a European and global scale. This publication presents key air pollutants, lists natural sources of air pollution, and details emissions from human activities by sector. It describes adverse effects on human health, the environment and the climate, as well as socio-economic impacts. In addition, it provides an overview of international agreements and European Union legislation setting air quality standards, lowering national emissions of pollutants, and reducing emissions of pollutants at specific sources. Furthermore, this publication briefly describes the state of implementation of key EU legislation related to air quality. Finally, it reflects the position of the European Parliament and stakeholders on the policy area.

Marine litter: single-use plastics and fishing gear

09-07-2018

The Commission proposal aims to reduce the environmental harm from single-use plastics and fishing gear. The supporting impact assessment (IA) does not discuss the impacts on innovation, research and development or the feasibility for businesses to invest into alternative materials. The IA only briefly touches upon the implications for SMEs and does not explain why the open public consultation ran for 8 weeks instead of the 12 weeks. Finally, the proposal misses certain measures foreseen under the ...

The Commission proposal aims to reduce the environmental harm from single-use plastics and fishing gear. The supporting impact assessment (IA) does not discuss the impacts on innovation, research and development or the feasibility for businesses to invest into alternative materials. The IA only briefly touches upon the implications for SMEs and does not explain why the open public consultation ran for 8 weeks instead of the 12 weeks. Finally, the proposal misses certain measures foreseen under the preferred option and contains measures not foreseen in the IA.

Single-use plastics and fishing gear: Reducing marine litter

09-07-2018

Most of the plastic in our oceans originates from land-based sources. On European beaches, plastics make up 80-85 % of marine litter, which is considered a major threat to marine and coastal biodiversity. Marine litter also costs the European Union economy an estimated €259 million to €695 million per year. In May 2018, the European Commission put forward a legislative proposal seeking to address the issue of marine litter from plastics. The proposal would introduce a series of measures regarding ...

Most of the plastic in our oceans originates from land-based sources. On European beaches, plastics make up 80-85 % of marine litter, which is considered a major threat to marine and coastal biodiversity. Marine litter also costs the European Union economy an estimated €259 million to €695 million per year. In May 2018, the European Commission put forward a legislative proposal seeking to address the issue of marine litter from plastics. The proposal would introduce a series of measures regarding the top 10 single-use plastics found on European beaches, as well as fishing gear, with a view to reducing their impact on the environment and ensuring a functional internal market. In the European Parliament, the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) is considering the proposal. The Environment Council discussed the proposal on 25 June 2018. First edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Circular economy package: Four legislative proposals on waste

04-07-2018

Although waste management in the EU has improved considerably in recent decades, over a quarter of municipal waste is still landfilled and less than half is recycled or composted, with wide variations between Member States. Improving waste manage¬ment could deliver positive effects for the environment, climate, human health and the economy. As part of a shift towards a circular economy, the European Commission made four legislative proposals introducing new waste-management targets regarding reuse ...

Although waste management in the EU has improved considerably in recent decades, over a quarter of municipal waste is still landfilled and less than half is recycled or composted, with wide variations between Member States. Improving waste manage¬ment could deliver positive effects for the environment, climate, human health and the economy. As part of a shift towards a circular economy, the European Commission made four legislative proposals introducing new waste-management targets regarding reuse, recycling and landfilling, strengthening provisions on waste prevention and extended producer responsibility, and streamlining definitions, reporting obligations and calculation methods for targets. After completion of the legislative procedure, the final acts were signed on 30 May 2018. Member States are required to transpose the directives into national law by 5 July 2020. This updates an earlier edition, of March 2018: PE 614.766.

Review Clauses in EU Legislation: A Rolling Check-List (6th edition)

29-06-2018

This study provides an overview of review clauses (reviews, evaluations, implementation reports) contained in EU legislation during the sixth, seventh and the current, eighth parliamentary term. Drawing on information publicly available across several sources, it provides in a single, comprehensive repository an analytical overview of acts that contain a review clause. The study puts a special focus on (and the analysis of) review clauses in EU legislative acts adopted during the current parliamentary ...

This study provides an overview of review clauses (reviews, evaluations, implementation reports) contained in EU legislation during the sixth, seventh and the current, eighth parliamentary term. Drawing on information publicly available across several sources, it provides in a single, comprehensive repository an analytical overview of acts that contain a review clause. The study puts a special focus on (and the analysis of) review clauses in EU legislative acts adopted during the current parliamentary term (with a total of 147 legislative acts with a review clause adopted through the ordinary legislative procedure up until end of December 2017).

What if law shaped technologies?

28-06-2018

Existing legal structures may prove a poor match for new types of disputes raised by disruptive technologies. Can the legal system overcome the temporal gap between the emergence of a technology and the subsequent need for controlling its possible effects and retain both flexibility and responsiveness? What regulation is justified by a particular technology? How should a particular technology be regulated? How can law regulate uncertain and unknown futures in the face of limited knowledge?

Existing legal structures may prove a poor match for new types of disputes raised by disruptive technologies. Can the legal system overcome the temporal gap between the emergence of a technology and the subsequent need for controlling its possible effects and retain both flexibility and responsiveness? What regulation is justified by a particular technology? How should a particular technology be regulated? How can law regulate uncertain and unknown futures in the face of limited knowledge?

European Union Solidarity Fund

28-06-2018

Established in 2002 to support disaster-stricken regions, the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) complements the efforts of public authorities by helping to fund vital emergency and recovery operations in areas affected by catastrophes such as flooding, earthquakes or forest fires. With an annual budget of €500 million, EUSF funding is granted following an application from a Member State or candidate country, and may be used to finance measures including restoring infrastructure to working order ...

Established in 2002 to support disaster-stricken regions, the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) complements the efforts of public authorities by helping to fund vital emergency and recovery operations in areas affected by catastrophes such as flooding, earthquakes or forest fires. With an annual budget of €500 million, EUSF funding is granted following an application from a Member State or candidate country, and may be used to finance measures including restoring infrastructure to working order, providing temporary accommodation or cleaning up disaster areas. Although a revision of the EUSF Regulation took place in 2014, simplifying rules and clarifying eligibility criteria, several problems still remain. European Commission reports on the EUSF have drawn attention to the long waiting time countries still face before receiving EUSF funding, while industry experts also point to the risk that the EUSF could run out of funding in the event of several large disasters taking place within a short space of time. With a number of major natural disasters occurring over the past years, the EUSF has attracted renewed attention, leading the European Commission to put forward new proposals addressing the issue of post-disaster support. Parliament was also actively involved in these discussions, adopting a resolution on the EUSF in December 2016 which included several measures aimed at improving its operations, also calling on Member States to use ESI funds to invest in disaster prevention. Recent developments, such as new rules that allow reconstruction operations to be financed under the European Regional Development Fund and the proposal for a reinforced Civil Protection Mechanism, have helped create greater coherence between the EUSF and other EU measures. Perhaps most importantly, by complementing the work of the EUSF, these measures have the potential to improve the effectiveness of the EU's disaster prevention and response operations. The planned increase in the EUSF budget outlined under the recent MFF proposal can also help contribute to this process by strengthening the EUSF's response capacity, yet these plans will be subject to tough negotiations in the Council and Parliament. The next few months will arguably be of critical importance for ensuring the continued strength of the EU's disaster response capabilities and, in particular, the EUSF's role within this process. This is an updated edition of a Briefing published in January 2017, PE 595.896.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the UN High Level Political Forum (HLPF), New York, 16 - 18 July 2018

28-06-2018

The SDGs framework has the potential to provide a useful overarching framework to further the debate on Europe's political priorities, with a view to pursuing social, economic and environmental sustainability both within the Union and globally. However, this requires increasing the political buy-in across sectors. There is a need to translate the SDGs into concrete sectoral political priorities, targets and actions for the EU, and to agree on a legitimate framework for delivering these priorities ...

The SDGs framework has the potential to provide a useful overarching framework to further the debate on Europe's political priorities, with a view to pursuing social, economic and environmental sustainability both within the Union and globally. However, this requires increasing the political buy-in across sectors. There is a need to translate the SDGs into concrete sectoral political priorities, targets and actions for the EU, and to agree on a legitimate framework for delivering these priorities across Member States. The July 2018 HLPF meeting constitutes a window of opportunity to assert influence on the implementation of SDGs in the EU, providing an opportunity to use a range of key current EU initiatives (e.g. the EU circular economy package, post-2020 biodiversity objectives and 2021 – 2027 EU budget) to advance the SDGs debate. In the global context, it will be important to promote linkages between the outcomes of the 2018 HLPF, the forthcoming Global Sustainable Development Report, and other global process of relevance to the environment, including the UNFCCC, the CBD, UNEA, as well as the newly launched negotiations for a global Pact for the Environment. There is a need to set the stage for environment to become more at the heart for the following HLPF, especially in terms of the 4-year stocktake in 2019.

Autor externo

Kettunen M, Charveriat C, Farmer A, Gionfra S, Schweitzer JP & Stainforth T, Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP)

Overcoming barriers – management of large carnivores in the Alps

27-06-2018

After centuries of intensive hunting large carnivores like brown bears, Eurasian lynx and wolves are now recovering in many areas of Europe. This work deals with large carnivore populations in the French Alps focusing on wolf and gives information on the recent population status, management, legal frameworks and recommendations for habitat protection and coexistence of humans and large carnivores. The occurrence of wolves in France is limited to the Western Central Alps. In 2017 52 packs (360 individuals ...

After centuries of intensive hunting large carnivores like brown bears, Eurasian lynx and wolves are now recovering in many areas of Europe. This work deals with large carnivore populations in the French Alps focusing on wolf and gives information on the recent population status, management, legal frameworks and recommendations for habitat protection and coexistence of humans and large carnivores. The occurrence of wolves in France is limited to the Western Central Alps. In 2017 52 packs (360 individuals) were monitored. The Western Alpine population is of Italian origin, and migration moving from the Apennines to the Alpine population is still underway. Wolf populations are still far from being accepted by local farmers and livestock breeders, and conflicts with hunters are also reported. A French wolf plan exists. The actions listed in the wolf plan are based on livestock protection and compensations. The principles of “tir de défense” (removal of stock raiding individuals) and “tir de prélèvement” (a yearly defined number of individuals are removed) are applied. The goal is to reduce predation and keep or increase wolf populations and maintain them at favourable conservation status. Lynx is present in France in the Jura, the Vosges-Palatinian region and in the Alps. The alpine population originates from the Carpathians, where the nearest autochthonous population can be found. In 2016 100 individuals lived in France, and a small population of around 30 individuals has settled in the North of the French Alps (Savoie). For the lynx no management plan exists. In France the occurrence of bears is limited to the Pyrenees with an estimated population of 19 bears. There is no Alpine bear population in France. For the management of the brown bear a French bear plan exists. Bears, wolves and lynx are strictly protected by international and national laws, but for their practical management, almost all countries with substantial populations of these carnivores have some regulations allowing for the targeted removal of problem animals. For large carnivores interregional wildlife habitat planning on the European level is important. It would clearly be desirable to have more transnational cooperation to develop more flexible management practices beyond national borders. The Habitat Directive with its focus on the favourable conservation status (FCS), combined with the Bonn and the Bern conventions, provides a good basis to achieve this.

Autor externo

Katrin Sedy

Combined transport directive review: Getting more goods off EU roads

21-06-2018

The European Union's efforts to reduce the negative impacts of transport include promoting a shift from road freight transport to lower-emission transport modes. This also includes combined transport operations, which consist of at least one road leg for initial or final haulage and one non road leg on rail or water. The 1992 Combined Transport Directive set out measures that were meant to increase the competitiveness of combined transport against road-only transport. In 2017, 25 years after the ...

The European Union's efforts to reduce the negative impacts of transport include promoting a shift from road freight transport to lower-emission transport modes. This also includes combined transport operations, which consist of at least one road leg for initial or final haulage and one non road leg on rail or water. The 1992 Combined Transport Directive set out measures that were meant to increase the competitiveness of combined transport against road-only transport. In 2017, 25 years after the directive entered into force, the Commission conducted a legislative review and proposed to simplify the existing rules and make combined transport more attractive by means of economic incentives. The initiative is part of the 'mobility package', a set of legislative proposals presented by the Commission to make EU transport safer, greener and more modern. In the European Parliament, the TRAN committee is due to vote on its report in July, while the Council has found solutions to several issues, and published a progress report on 18 May 2018. First edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

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