Implementing EU green legislation must become a priority

Poor, fragmented and uneven implementation of EU environmental legislation in the Member States is undermining people's trust in its effectiveness. Ensuring that proper implementation must become a priority for the EU and the Member States.

In its report Implementation of EU environmental legislation: air quality, water and waste, prepared for the European Parliament, the EESC provides recommendations for overcoming shortcomings on the ground as well as gaps in legislation that may lead to implementation issues.

The EESC considers that the Commission should not only propose legislation, but also facilitate and support its application, as well as address the reasons for non-compliance with the rules, such as opportunism or lack of political will. "Soft measures alone cannot be the sole strategy for improving environmental compliance," emphasised the rapporteur, Arnaud Schwartz. "Stronger enforcement mechanisms are also necessary".

Furthermore, the EU must systematically ensure that imported products also comply with its social and environmental legislation. "Only if the EU itself keeps high standards and demands the same from its trading partners will it increase and continue to foster the trust of its citizens, be they producers or consumers," Mr Schwartz concluded.

Mr Schwartz will present the report at a meeting of the European Parliament committee on environment, public health and food safety on 22 January 2019. (sma)