The NAT Section President, Maurizio Reale, and the Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, exchanged views on the circular economy, the implementation of EU environmental legislation and the social dimension of fisheries during a meeting held on 12 July. On all of these topics, the Commissioner highlighted the important role of the EESC to facilitate and support the implementation of what is decided at EU level and to ensure civil society's involvement from the very early stage of the policy-making process.
On circular economy, the EESC and the Commission have already joined forces to create and promote the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform, providing a meeting place for stakeholders to share effective solutions and address specific challenges.
In a similar way, the EESC and the Commission should also work together to meet citizens' expectations by ensuring proper implementation of EU environmental laws. EU citizens feel that protecting the environment is very important, and yet the majority of Europeans think that both the EU and national governments are not doing enough to protect the environment. The ongoing EESC exploratory opinion on implementation of EU environmental legislation (requested by the European Parliament) and the Commission's 2019 Environmental Implementation Review represent concrete opportunities for cooperation on this front.
Last but not least, Mr Reale and Commissioner Vella converged on the need to urgently address the social dimension of fishery policy at EU level and agreed to cooperate more on this topic in the near future.