CrisisWatch

Crisis

Public outcry stops Greek Parliament from voting anti-forest bill 

As environmental rollback on the pretence of economic development has become political routine in Greece, a new bill submitted to Parliament in early December aimed to sanction a new set of illegal land uses and buildings, declassify burnt forest lands from special reforestation status and essentially abolish the forest maps (currently most important forest protection legal tool).  The bill titled “Acts for contribution in land and cash –...
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Environment minister defoliates Greece’s forests of vital legal protection

Four months after the voting of the controversial Law 4280/2014 on housing development in forests and woodlands, Greece’s Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change submitted to the Parliament a new bill, which further undermines the conservation value and clarity of forest legislation. Titled “Acts for contribution in land and cash – Land expropriation and other provisions” and submitted by Alternate Environment Minister Nikos Ta...
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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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EU crisis results in increase of organised environmental crime

Stronger penalties and an inter-disciplinary approach will be vital in effectively dealing with the organised environmental crime in the EU. According to an alarming report produced by EUROJUST, the EU’s Judicial Cooperation Unit, illegal trafficking of waste has grown during the crisis, but remains practically ignored, despite the fact that Europol has highlighted its importance in its 2013 Threat Assessment of environmental crime. Water poll...
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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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Will the Spanish Parliament weaken the conservation of national parks?

A proposed amendment to the Law on National Parks has caused public outcry in Spain. The legislative initiative was submitted by the Popular Party to the Congress of Deputies on October 20th and threatens to institute an unprecedented blow to the conservation status of the country’s 15 natural treasures, which include unique areas such as Doñana, Sierra Nevada and Guarajonay.  Amendment 278 states that public authorities will pursue voluntar...
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EU leaders fail climate stress tests

The EU’s Heads of State and Government finally decided on a climate and energy package for 2030 which lacks ambition and fails to respond to the unfolding climate crisis. The package adopted by the EU Council on October 24th sets a target of at least 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and at least 27% for renewables and energy savings.  The negotiations for the European Union’s headline policies on climate change have undergone sever...
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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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