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Protecting pollinators in the EU

19-07-2021

Europe hosts a rich diversity of wild pollinators, including over 2 000 species of bees, more than 480 species of butterflies, almost 1 000 species of hoverflies and thousands of other insect species. In the European Union (EU), 78 % of native flora and 84 % of crops are either partially or fully dependent on insects for pollination. Significant pollinator loss has been documented over time across the EU. According to the European Red List of Bees, around 9 % of all bee species are threatened in ...

Europe hosts a rich diversity of wild pollinators, including over 2 000 species of bees, more than 480 species of butterflies, almost 1 000 species of hoverflies and thousands of other insect species. In the European Union (EU), 78 % of native flora and 84 % of crops are either partially or fully dependent on insects for pollination. Significant pollinator loss has been documented over time across the EU. According to the European Red List of Bees, around 9 % of all bee species are threatened in the EU. The EU grassland butterfly indicator has recorded a 39 % decline in grassland butterfly abundance since 1990. Studies in selected European countries have provided further examples of pollinator declines. Such loss entails risks for both societies and ecosystems. EU legislation relevant to pollinator protection includes the Habitats Directive; the regulatory framework on pesticides; and the common agricultural policy (CAP). The EU rules governing the approval of pesticides require consideration of pesticide effects on honeybees. The European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) is currently reviewing its 2013 guidance on the risk assessment of pesticides on bees, which was never formally adopted due to insufficient support from Member States. One key aspect of the review process is the setting of specific protection goals, defining the maximum acceptable level of harm to bees, on which EU ministers have recently agreed. Assessments of action at EU level identified gaps in the key EU policies addressing the main threats to wild pollinators. Although progress has been made in the implementation of the EU pollinators initiative (EPI), adopted in 2018 to tackle the decline of wild pollinators, more needs to be done, in particular to address the loss of habitats in farming landscapes and the impacts of pesticides. The EU Biodiversity and the Farm to Fork strategies set out specific targets that can help advance pollinator conservation. Integrating them into the new CAP however remains a major challenge. Pollinator protection is a key issue for the European Parliament, which made clear that the revision of the EFSA bee guidance document should ensure a level of protection at least equivalent to that laid down in 2013. Parliament also called for an urgent revision of the EU pollinators initiative, a ban on all neonicotinoid-based pesticides and the inclusion of EU-wide binding pesticide reduction targets in the upcoming revision of the directive on the sustainable use of pesticides.

New EU regulatory framework for batteries: Setting sustainability requirements

12-07-2021

Given the important role they play in the roll-out of zero-emission mobility and the storage of intermittent renewable energy, batteries are a crucial element in the EU's transition to a climate neutral economy. The proposal presented by the European Commission is designed to modernise the EU's regulatory framework for batteries in order to secure the sustainability and competitiveness of battery value chains. It would introduce mandatory requirements on sustainability (such as carbon footprint rules ...

Given the important role they play in the roll-out of zero-emission mobility and the storage of intermittent renewable energy, batteries are a crucial element in the EU's transition to a climate neutral economy. The proposal presented by the European Commission is designed to modernise the EU's regulatory framework for batteries in order to secure the sustainability and competitiveness of battery value chains. It would introduce mandatory requirements on sustainability (such as carbon footprint rules, minimum recycled content, performance and durability criteria), safety and labelling for the marketing and putting into service of batteries, and requirements for end-of-life management. The proposal also includes due diligence obligations for economic operators as regards the sourcing of raw materials. In Parliament, the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, responsible for the file, is expected to consider its rapporteur's draft report at a meeting in October 2021. In Council, ministers took stock of the progress made on the file at the June Environment Council. The Slovenian Presidency of the Council aims to reach agreement on a general approach.

Biodiversity protection: Where do we stand?

04-06-2021

Based on Member States' reporting under the Birds and Habitats Directives, the backbone of European Union (EU) nature conservation policy, the latest assessment on the state of nature by the European Environment Agency shows that despite some encouraging developments, the overall picture remains bleak. Only 15 % of habitats and around 27 % of species protected under EU legislation have a good conservation status. An EU-wide assessment of terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems found that, overall ...

Based on Member States' reporting under the Birds and Habitats Directives, the backbone of European Union (EU) nature conservation policy, the latest assessment on the state of nature by the European Environment Agency shows that despite some encouraging developments, the overall picture remains bleak. Only 15 % of habitats and around 27 % of species protected under EU legislation have a good conservation status. An EU-wide assessment of terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems found that, overall, the condition of ecosystems in the EU is unfavourable. Worldwide, most indicators of ecosystems and biodiversity show rapid decline. Targets set to tackle biodiversity loss by 2020, at both EU and global levels under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), have not been met. Under the EU biodiversity strategy for 2030, part of the European Green Deal, the EU has therefore set itself new targets for the next decade. These include enlarging the current network of legally protected areas to cover at least 30 % of the EU's land area and 30 % of the EU's seas; and setting legally binding EU nature restoration targets to restore degraded ecosystems. The recent zero-pollution action plan for air, water and soil proposes additional commitments relevant to biodiversity protection. Parties to the CBD, including the EU, are due to meet on 11-24 October 2021 in China to agree on a post-2020 global biodiversity framework. The EU intends to push for global 2030 targets in line with the commitments set out in its biodiversity strategy and for a much stronger implementation, monitoring and review process. The issue of resource mobilisation will be an important one, especially in the context of the coronavirus crisis, affecting the funding available for biodiversity. On 28 May 2021, Parliament's Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety adopted an own-initiative report with recommendations to strengthen the EU biodiversity strategy for 2030. The vote in plenary is scheduled for the June I plenary session.

Access to justice in environmental matters

12-05-2021

During the May plenary session, Parliament is due to vote on a report adopted by its Environment Committee, on a proposal aimed at ensuring EU compliance with its obligations as a party to the 1998 Aarhus Convention on access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters.

During the May plenary session, Parliament is due to vote on a report adopted by its Environment Committee, on a proposal aimed at ensuring EU compliance with its obligations as a party to the 1998 Aarhus Convention on access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters.

Access to justice in environmental matters: Amending the Aarhus Regulation

12-05-2021

The European Union is party to the Aarhus Convention on access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters. The Aarhus Regulation applies the Convention's provisions to EU institutions and bodies. In 2017, the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee, reviewing implementation by the parties, found that the EU fails to comply with its obligations under Article 9, paragraphs 3 and 4 of the convention concerning access to justice by members of ...

The European Union is party to the Aarhus Convention on access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters. The Aarhus Regulation applies the Convention's provisions to EU institutions and bodies. In 2017, the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee, reviewing implementation by the parties, found that the EU fails to comply with its obligations under Article 9, paragraphs 3 and 4 of the convention concerning access to justice by members of the public. To address this non-compliance issue, on 14 October 2020 the European Commission put forward a legislative proposal to amend the Aarhus Regulation, triggering mixed reactions from stakeholders. The Council reached a general approach on the file on 17 December 2020. Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety adopted its report on 23 April 2021. The report is now scheduled for a vote during the May 2021 plenary session. This vote would set Parliament’s position for negotiations with the Council. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Union Civil Protection Mechanism 2021-2027

21-04-2021

In June 2020, the European Commission presented a proposal to reinforce the Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM), the main instrument to coordinate the EU's response to disasters. At its April 2021 plenary session, Parliament is expected to debate and vote on the compromise text resulting from interinstitutional negotiations.

In June 2020, the European Commission presented a proposal to reinforce the Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM), the main instrument to coordinate the EU's response to disasters. At its April 2021 plenary session, Parliament is expected to debate and vote on the compromise text resulting from interinstitutional negotiations.

EU climate action policy: Responding to the global emergency

18-03-2021

The European Green Deal aims to make the European Union climate-neutral by 2050, a target supported by all EU institutions. With this objective, the EU takes a leading role in addressing the global climate emergency. Achieving the climate-neutrality goal requires massive investment and an unprecedented transformation of all sectors of the economy. This study explains the physical basis of climate change and highlights its expected impacts on the EU. To give an overview of EU and international climate ...

The European Green Deal aims to make the European Union climate-neutral by 2050, a target supported by all EU institutions. With this objective, the EU takes a leading role in addressing the global climate emergency. Achieving the climate-neutrality goal requires massive investment and an unprecedented transformation of all sectors of the economy. This study explains the physical basis of climate change and highlights its expected impacts on the EU. To give an overview of EU and international climate policies, it outlines international climate agreements, EU climate action and the climate policies of major economies. It assesses the coherence of EU climate policy with other policy areas, and presents the financing of EU climate action through the EU budget and other instruments. To assess the implications of the climate neutrality objective, the study analysis the challenges and opportunities for the EU economy and its impacts on issues such as international relations, migration, trade, consumers and health . The final chapter addresses the issues facing European decision-makers and the outlook for European and global climate action in the context of the coronavirus pandemic.

New circular economy action plan

04-02-2021

Moving to a circular economy is key for achieving EU climate action, nature protection and sustainability ambitions, and also delivering benefits for innovation, growth and jobs. During the February session, Parliament is expected to vote on an own-initiative report on the Commission's proposed plan for more circularity.

Moving to a circular economy is key for achieving EU climate action, nature protection and sustainability ambitions, and also delivering benefits for innovation, growth and jobs. During the February session, Parliament is expected to vote on an own-initiative report on the Commission's proposed plan for more circularity.

Forest fires: Environmental stakes

19-11-2020

Covering nearly one third of the land surface of the globe, forests make a wide range of direct and indirect contributions to human well-being. Home to most of the world's terrestrial biodiversity, they also play an essential role in climate change mitigation, removing about a quarter of the CO2 that human activities add to the atmosphere. Worldwide, millions of hectares (ha) of forests and other types of vegetation burn every year. Fire dynamics are shaped by a complex set of factors, including ...

Covering nearly one third of the land surface of the globe, forests make a wide range of direct and indirect contributions to human well-being. Home to most of the world's terrestrial biodiversity, they also play an essential role in climate change mitigation, removing about a quarter of the CO2 that human activities add to the atmosphere. Worldwide, millions of hectares (ha) of forests and other types of vegetation burn every year. Fire dynamics are shaped by a complex set of factors, including human activity and climate. While a warming and drying climate increases the risk of fires, fires, by releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, contribute in turn to global warming. Forest fires that are not balanced by vegetation regrowth, i.e. fires used in the deforestation process, and fires burning on carbon-rich peatlands are of particular concern. Fires also emit air pollutants, including particulate matter, with adverse impacts on human health. Beyond emissions of particles and gases, forest fires can also affect biodiversity and ecosystem conditions, and damage soils. The European Union (EU) has committed to protecting the world's forests under several international agreements and initiatives, including the United Nations (UN) Convention on Biological Diversity and the Paris Agreement on climate change. At EU level, funding is available to support forest fire prevention and restorative measures, as well as research into fire risk management. The Union civil protection mechanism can be called upon for help by any country in the world when national response capacities to fight fires are overwhelmed. Under the European Green Deal, legislative and non-legislative measures are expected in the near future to strengthen forest protection within and outside the EU. The European Parliament recently asked the European Commission to propose an EU legal framework to tackle EU-driven global deforestation, based on mandatory due diligence for companies placing forest- and ecosystem-risk commodities and derived products on the EU market, with penalties in the event of non-compliance.

An EU legal framework to halt and reverse EU driven global deforestation

14-10-2020

EU consumption plays a significant part in global deforestation, which continues unabated and contributes considerably to climate change and biodiversity loss. During the October II session, Parliament is due to vote on a legislative-initiative report calling on the Commission to take regulatory action on this matter, and propose an EU legal framework based on mandatory due diligence for companies placing products on the EU market.

EU consumption plays a significant part in global deforestation, which continues unabated and contributes considerably to climate change and biodiversity loss. During the October II session, Parliament is due to vote on a legislative-initiative report calling on the Commission to take regulatory action on this matter, and propose an EU legal framework based on mandatory due diligence for companies placing products on the EU market.

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