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European Environment Bureau sets out its 10 Green tests for the Latvian Presidency

1. Defend and develop EU Environmental Policies - insist on full and ambitious implementation of the 7th Environmental Action Programme which was agreed between the three institutions, including by standing up to the Juncker Commission’s anti-environment and deregulation agenda;

2. Reform trade policies - The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada that was finalised in May 2014, that sets the context for the future Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) is contains the controversial Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism, could expose the EU and national governments to expensive lawsuits for passing environmental legislation;

3. Clean air - Insist that negotiations will continue on the entire proposed air package with a view to strengthening to attain "levels of air quality that do not give rise to significant negative impacts on and risks to human health and environment" by 2030, including EU measures to reduce air pollution, with particular attention to medium scale combustion plants, as well as domestic heating, shipping, non-road mobile machinery, and the agriculture sector; In the case of medium scale combustion plants (MCPs), foreseen as part of the clean air package, ensure that emission limit values are aligned with what is achievable by the use of Best Available Techniques (BAT);

4. Fight climate change - Ensure that the EU takes global leadership to secure progress in the negotiations towards an international agreement in Paris in December 2015 that will ensure that emission reduction pathways to 2050 are equitable and based upon the latest scientific information on keeping well below a 2°C rise.

5. Reform energy policy - Ensure that the upcoming Communication on Energy Union as well as the legal proposal to implement the Commission’s Investment Package and the Council discussions on this will give a central role to energy savings and sustainable renewable sources; · Support an ambitious legislative proposal to revise the EU Energy Labelling Directive; Continued implementation of the Ecodesign Directive; Ensure that a political agreement on biofuels and ILUC is reached;

6. Biodiversity - Support a debate in Council that will underline the importance of the EU to double its efforts towards meeting the 2020 Biodiversity Targets as set out in the Biodiversity Strategy; In particular, send a strong signal to the European Commission that the planned fitness check of the Birds and Habitats Directive must be carried out objectively, be evidence based and that t its conclusions should not be pre-judged as in the mandate letter of Commissioner Vella.

7. Circular Economy - Insist that discussion in the Council will continue on the basis of the Commission proposal for a Circular Economy Package to ensure alignment of the EU product and waste policies with the 7th EAP and the Resource Efficiency Roadmap; Ensure that a 40% resource efficiency target for 2030, calculated as raw material consumption per GDP, is complemented by a more detailed resource efficiency dashboard at European, national and priority sector level;

Make sure that the “Zero Waste Programme for Europe ” part of the circular economy package is not restricted to eliminating waste to landfill, but also addresses the waste to energy question and integrates provisions to avoid waste incineration that is not compatible with the material reuse and recycling.

8. Waste policies – Insist that Presidency supports a new waste framework that is aligned with the waste treatment hierarchy, notably the introduction of a binding waste prevention target on food waste – something that Member States have side stepped up until now – with specific objectives for reuse and preparation for reuse activities, and a minimum 70% recycling target for municipal solid waste by 2030, calculated on a unique harmonised methodology at European level;

Ensure the systematic introduction of economic instruments in all waste management plans to be notified to the Commission to support a proper implementation of the waste policy, such as reinforced extended producer responsibility, pay-as-you-throw schemes and the taxation of landfill and incineration of untreated waste;

Support an update of the packaging and packaging waste Directive targets, making the best of this integrated product and waste legislation, boosting the overall level of recycling to over 80% by 2030 and revising the old-fashioned essential requirements set in 1994 to enhance prevention of over-packaging and incentivise reusable solutions;

Support a ban on landfilling and incinerating of all the recyclable and compostable waste by 2020, and set a staged target on the maximum amount of residual waste per capita per year to be landfilled or incinerated.

9. Protect the public from hazardous chemicals

Encourage the Commission to step up its work towards achieving the 7EAP’s goals in relation to chemicals by developing new EU tools to achieve the non-toxic environment goal, for nano materials, endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) package,  carcinogens, mutagens and reproductive toxicants regardless of their production volume; Insist that Presidency adopts the Environment Council’s view of REACH reforms and not the Competitiveness Council’s view! Mercury is also a focus of attention under this heading.

10. Sustainable Development

To maintain the pressure on the Commission to develop a new Sustainable Development Strategy, with a long term vision and as guiding framework for the EU2020; Strengthen the environmental component of the European Semester, including by adopting progressive conclusions in the Environment Council in advance of the forthcoming Annual Growth Survey and ensure that environmental sustainability is central to all external dimension policies funded by the EU budget.

Issue 38