On 14 October 2020, the European Commission the European Commission adopted a legislative proposal (COM(2020) 642 final) amending the Aarhus Regulation to allow for better public scrutiny of EU acts affecting the environment. The proposed amendments improve the possibilities particularly for environmental NGOs to request that the EU institutions review such acts to better ensure environmental protection. This will foster openness and accountability when it comes to environmental protection, contribute to greater transparency and a more effective pursuit of the EU environmental objectives and, thus, help achieve the systemic societal changes required by the European Green Deal.
Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment (NAT) - Related Opinions
The EU chemicals strategy aims to address the cumulative and combined effects of chemicals, including pesticides, stressing a need to accelerate work on methodologies that ensure existing provisions can be fully implemented.
The strategy is intended as a first step towards a zero pollution ambition for a toxic-free environment, as announced in the European Green Deal.
Information memo: Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability Towards a Toxic-Free Environment
The Atlantic maritime strategy was adopted in 2011 to support the sustainable development of blue economy in the EU Member States bordering the Atlantic. In 2013, the European Commission put forward an Atlantic action plan to implement the strategy.
To give a new boost to a sustainable maritime economy that can create jobs, the European Commission proposes to update the priorities for regional cooperation, following stakeholders’ consultation. The update is also a fresh contribution to Europe’s recovery from the unprecedented socio-economic crisis triggered by the current COVID-19 pandemic.
The Commission aims for more ambitious 2030 emissions reduction targets, both in the EU and internationally. President von der Leyen wants the EU to lead international negotiations to raise the ambition of other major emitters by 2021, and has pledged to put forward a comprehensive, responsible plan to increase the European Union's emissions reduction target for 2030, from 40 % towards 55 %. The plan should ensure a level playing field and stimulate innovation, competitiveness and jobs, based on social, economic and environmental impact assessments.
The 2030 climate plan Communication, adopted on 17th September 2020, sets out the proposed targets, as well as potential implications for the overall regulatory and enabling framework. It describes the overall architecture of policy measures to be put in place to achieve that target.
Information memo: Stepping up Europe's Climate Ambition (Communication)
The revamped Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM) is a tool through which the EU supports, coordinates and supplements actions of EU Member States in the field of civil protection in order to prevent, prepare and respond to natural and man-made disasters within and outside the EU. The new proposal aims to strengthen the UCPM to ensure that the EU and its Member States are better prepared to respond to large-scale emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
This opinion deals with three of four megatrends at the heart of the new Commission priorities: climate change, biodiversity loss and globalisation. While the European Green Deal will result in higher environmental standards with, for instance, stricter climate change targets, it is important that all Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) are not undermining these improvements by contributing to deforestation or biodiversity loss in other countries. As one of the world's largest importer of energy, agricultural goods and raw materials, the EU has contributed to deforestation and biodiversity loss in other countries.