CrisisWatch

Governance

Italian EU Presidency closes with sustainability deficit

The commitment for “smart, sustainable and inclusive growth” and “green economy”, which marked the launch of Italy’s Presidency of the EU in July 2014, was not honoured. According to WWF Italy, the semester of the Italian lead of the EU Council came to its conclusion having failed to come up with the promised innovative proposal that would carve the country’s way out of the crisis and boost the EU’s economy as a whole. More specific...
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2015 Commission Work Programme marks serious environmental rollback

Fears that the new European Commission plans to scrap important policy initiatives in the fields of air quality and waste management have come true: the 2015 Commission Work Programme (CWP 2015) includes the withdrawal of the proposed new directive on waste management and its replacement with a new one. It also fails to clarify the fate of the proposed revision of the National Emissions Directive. The work plan also includes “fitness checks...
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New Commission set to run on environmental deficit?

In anticipation of the 2015 Commission Work Programme (CWP 2015), which is expected to be approved in mid-December, concerns abound over its tendency towards environmental deregulation.  In a letter addressed by President Juncker and Vice-President Timmermans to the new Commissioners, the priorities of the Commission for 2015 are sorted under respective headings of the 10-priority plan for Europe. Given the absence of a clearly articulated envi...
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Will MEPs back environmental deregulation?

In a resolution adopted on 27 November, the European Parliament expresses concerns about the ongoing revision process of the Commission’s guidelines on “Impact Assessment” (IA) of its policy initiatives (legislative and non-legislative). According to the resolution, the Parliament “[i]s concerned, however, that the draft revised guidelines are much less specific than the existing guidelines in terms of the scope for IAs and that they leav...
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Business lobby group presses Commission to ax environmental laws 

In a 25 November statement addressed to Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans, Europe’s leading lobby group for industry and business calls for the withdrawal of legislative proposals which “impose unnecessary burdens or have a disproportionate impact on growth and jobs”. BUSINESSEUROPE targets a series of policy proposals relating to environment, sustainable development and labour rights. The proposals for a Clean Air Policy Package ...
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New Commission fuels concerns about the future of the EU’s green policies

On Wednesday 22 October, the European Parliament approved the new Commission under President Jean Claude Juncker by 423 votes in favour, 209 against and 67 abstentions.  During the hearing procedure, an unprecedented public outcry about the environmental deficit of the proposed Commission mainly focused on the absence of environmental policy priorities from Juncker’s mission letters to the environment and energy commissioners, the designation...
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Greece going into deep environmental recession

WWF Greece announced its tenth annual review of Greece’s environmental laws and policies. The period covered by this year's report (July 2013 -June 2014), documents the culmination of a systematic process of dismantling Greece’s already poor environmental acquis....
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New European Commission does not beam bright light for environment

Under President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker, Environment will not have its own Commissioner, for the first time in 25 years, whereas climate change policies now rank subordinate to energy market priorities. Worse still, the headline of the mission of the new Environment, Maritime and Fisheries Commissioner is deregulation, instead of providing full support to the sustainability pillar of the EU treaties and ensuing the implementation of the 7th Env...
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Will the new EU Commission aim for a brave green world?

The environmental failure of the outgoing Barroso Commission, most noticeably reflected in the “REFIT – fit for growth” initiative and the low ambition 2030 climate and energy package, has marred the EU’s profile as a global green leader. Will the Commission of 2014 show the necessary commitment to the sustainability pillar of the EU Treaty? That remains to be seen, as the newly appointed President, Jean Claude Juncker, lacks an environme...
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EC withdraws draft law on public access to environmental justice

Having for years remained in the Commission’s “freezer”, due to opposition by key member states such as the UK, the 2003 draft directive on access to environmental justice was officially withdrawn on May 21st. The Commission’s intention to withdraw the proposal was first announced in its October 2013 communication on the “REFIT – fit for Growth” plan to reduce regulatory burden and costly requirements on businesses. Another victim o...
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