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” for the Ecolabel & EMAS Regulations (results expected in 2015) and the Natura 2000 Directives 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora and 2009/147/EEC on the conservation of wild birds (due by 2016).

In an open letter addressed to the European Commission’s Vice-President Frans Timmermans, the Green 10 condemn the Commission’s decision to withdraw and retable the proposal on waste management and to create confusion about the air quality package.

Ariel Brunner, Birdlife Europe’s Head of EU Policy and current chair of the Green 10, stated: “This exercise undermines the Commission’s credibility. In trying to tame some of its critics, the Commission seems to be faithfully executing the ‘kill list’ developed by powerful industry lobby group, BusinessEurope, and then saying it will retable the air quality and waste proposals at a later stage. For a body that prides itself on delivering ‘better regulation’, this is spectacularly inefficient.”

Read more: European Commission, WWF EUCrisisWatch




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 environmental priority, the plan includes under Priority 3 – A Resilient Energy Union with a Forward-Looking Climate Change Policy the “In depth evaluation of Birds and Habitats directives” and the “Reassessment of air and waste packages”. The list also includes a chapter on the REFIT programme, which mandates the review of pending policy packages on air, waste, energy taxation, eco-design and energy labeling and a compensation fund for oil pollution.


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 and a Financial Transactions Tax (FTT) feature at the top of the list for ditching. The lobby group also calls for the withdrawal of the Circular Economy Package, which should be “re-tabled as an economic piece of legislation”. According to the statement, “[f]or BUSINESSEUROPE, proposals which would impose unnecessary burdens or have a disproportionate impact on growth and jobs must be withdrawn or revised to remove these unnecessarily burdensome provisions.” 

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