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EU ministers approve new environment action programme to 2020

The Council of the European Union, containing ministers from each EU Member State, has approved the Seventh European Environment Action Programme (which will run until 2020). The plan is entitled "Living well, within the limits of our planet" and replaces the previous plan, which expired in July 2012. The plan was adopted with the support of all Member States except Hungary and Poland.

The Programme sets out nine priority objectives for EU environment policy in the period up to 2020:

  1. To protect, conserve and enhance the Union's natural capital;
  2. To turn the Union into a resource-efficient, green and competitive low-carbon economy;
  3. To safeguard the Union's citizens from environment-related pressures and risks to health and wellbeing;
  4. To maximise the benefits of the Union's environment legislation by improving implementation;
  5. To improve the knowledge and evidence base for environment policy;
  6. To secure investment for environment and climate policy and address environmental externalities;
  7. To improve environmental integration and policy coherence;
  8. To enhance the sustainability of the Union's cities;
  9. To increase the Union’s effectiveness in addressing international environmental and climate challenges.

The Council also called for the eighth programme to be proposed by the Commission in a timely manor to avoid a gap between the seventh and eight programmes.

Issue 29