Issue 49

May - June 2016

As British voters prepare for their in/out referendum on the UK’s continued membership of the EU.  What are the potential consequences for the environment and for environmental policy making in the UK should voters choose to leave the EU tomorrow?  All of ENEP’s UK professional bodies have been busy surveying and consulting their members on this question.  In a joint SocEnv and ENDS survey of 893 environmental professionals (attached below) across the UK, over 77% were declared for REMAIN in the EU.  Nevertheless, the survey asked what a UK Government should do following the referendum resu

The European Commission’s weekly workload on migration policy has seemingly taken its toll on a Dutch Presidency nature conference that had been scheduled to take place from 28th to 30th June in Amsterdam.  The conference had been set up to discuss a high profile set of European Commission conclusions on the REFIT to the Birds and Habitats directives.

The European Commission’s Green Week, the biggest annual occasion to discuss European environment policy, took place from Monday, 30 May to Friday, 3 June 2016. Under the banner "Investing for a greener future": Green Week focused on how investment should integrate economic opportunity with sustainable environment practice. To show how the investments of today can help a "greener future" become a reality, each day of the Green Week was given a different focus.

A high level Twitter chat took place under the banner of Green Week 2016 to discuss Green Skills with the European Commission services responsible for employment and social inclusion. The discussion discussed the recent green skills publication from the European Commission and the European training foundation CEDEFOP to find out more about what the EU doing to foster green skills, how funding is enabling the creation of green jobs. The discussion involved experts from various Commission departments including REGIO, EMPLOY, ENVIRONMENT, MARE, ECFIN, GROW and CEDEFOP.

Commissioner Vella announced the winners of the 2016 Natura 2000 Awards. The six winners include projects from Bulgaria, Latvia, Spain, the United Kingdom and cross-border projects from Belgium, France, Greece, Bulgaria, Hungary, Finland and Norway. The annual Natura 2000 Awards recognise conservation achievements across the EU and raise awareness about initiatives that protect nature across Europe, benefiting citizens' quality of life as well as the economy on which their prosperity depends.

The annual bathing water report published today proves the value of the legislation and the years of investment in waste water infrastructure and other pollution reduction measures. It shows that bathing water quality has improved continuously over time leading to 96 % of monitored bathing sites in the EU meeting the minimum standards for water quality in 2015.

During the EP environment committee on 15th June, MEPs dismissed the Commission’s over optimistic assessment that member states will meet the Waste Framework Directive (WFD) target of 50% for recycling of household waste for 2020   Going further, MEPs criticised the European Commission for failing to play its role in motivating member states to achieve the 50% household waste recycling target for 2020.  Speaking for the European Commission (DG ENV), Kestutis Sadauskas, responsible for the circular economy unit said he was optimistic that member states are broadly on track to reac

2100 participants, 9000 Award votes, 12 400 Tweets potentially reaching 18 million accounts, 270 000 page-views that was EU sustainable Energy Week 2016… The week brings together public authorities, private companies, NGOs and consumers to promote initiatives to save energy and move towards renewables for clean, secure and efficient power. It allows participants are setting out with new ideas, connections and motivation to build Europe’s sustainable energy future and empower energy consumers.

On the 22nd June, the Dutch city of Nijmegen, from the Netherlands won the 2018 European Green Capital in an awards ceremony this evening in Ljubljana beating off competition from ‘s-Hertogenbosch (NL) and Umeå, (Sweden).

The Commission info day took place on 17th June in Brussels to advise potential applicants on the 2016 funding opportunities under the EU's LIFE programme for the environment and climate action. In 2016, there is more than €330 million available in funding through the LIFE programme. Of this, EUR 273,936,184 is foreseen for the sub-programme for Environment and EUR 63,600,000 for the sub-programme for Climate Action.