Issue 32

February/March 2014

At their joint evening debate ‘More Mobility for Engineers – A Contribution to Innovation and Growth in Europe’ on 19 March in Brussels, the Association of German Engineers (VDI) and the European Federation of National Engineering Associations (FEANI), discussed how mobility barriers for qualified personnel in Europe can be reduced and how this could benefit technological innovation and growth.

As part of the ongoing consultations and key feedback from members on the new Presidential strategy, Unite and Inspire, ENEP has initiated a meeting with Commissioner Potočnik to discuss the role of ENEP as a complimentary communication network that can contribute to the equal and effective application of EU environmental law as set out in the 7th Environment Action Programme (EAP), which will be guiding European environment policy until 2020 and aims, amongst others, “to maximise the benefits of Union environment legislation by improvin

Mike Barker, the Chair of the ENEP Biodiversity Working Group, represents ENEP at DG Environment’s Green Infrastructure Implementation and Restoration (GIIR) Working Group. The Commission has decided, after consultation of and in agreement with the Coordination Group on Nature and Biodiversity, to set up an Expert Working Group to support the implementation of the Green Infrastructure Strategy. The first meeting of the new working group took place in Brussels on 24 March 2014.

A new mobile phone application developed by the European Environment Agency is hoped to help tackle the problem of marine litter. As a result of our unsustainable consumption patterns, large amounts of waste, including plastic debris, are accumulating in Europe’s oceans and coastal areas and pose a serious danger to marine wildlife and human health.

With the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), adopted in 2008, the EU wants to ensure the protection of the whole marine environment and the achievement of ‘Good Environmental Status’ for Europe’s seas by 2020. As this year Member States are halfway through the timetable of the Directive, the Commission recently held the HOPE (Healthy Oceans – Productive Ecosystems) conference to reflect on the main challenges and potential solutions to protect the planet’s marine ecosystems.

In its latest report on the state of renewable energies in Europe, consortium EurObserv’ER has found that the various renewable energies taken together covered 14 per cent of gross energy consumption in the EU in 2012. This is a 1.1 per cent increase from the previous year, which means that the EU has closed in on its current renewables target of 20 per cent by 2020.

The European Parliament and Council of Ministers have worked out a provisional deal on the Commission’s proposal aimed at preventing and managing Invasive Alien Species (IAS) in Europe. During negotiations, the Greek Presidency rejected the call for national derogations included in the EP’s amendment. However, it agreed with Parliament’s suggestion to keep an uncapped list of IAS of Union concern instead of restricting it to 50 species.

INTERREG EUROPE, the interregional cooperation programme 2014-2020 intended to assist European regions in designing and implementing regional policies through best practices and knowledge exchange, is being further developed through the input of Partner State representatives and stakeholders. Focus areas of the programme are the EU Structural and Investment Funds programmes for Growth and Jobs and programmes under the European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) goal.

As the UK has not managed to cut its excessive levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a toxic gas which can cause respiratory illnesses and premature deaths, the European Commission has launched legal action. Under the Directive on ambient air quality and cleaner air in Europe the original deadline for Member States to comply with limit values for nitrogen dioxide was 1 January 2010.

The 16th European Forum on Eco-innovation will take place in Hannover, Germany between 7th and 8th April 2014 under the theme ‘Wasted Potential! Towards Circular Economy in Cities’. The event, which has been initiated by the European Commission (Directorate General for the Environment), will bring together a wide range of stakeholders, including finance, business and research, to discuss key issues, common objectives, challenges and opportunities regarding the transition to a circular economy in an urban context.