Environment report shows benefits of EU action

Environment report shows that a coordinated EU environment policy has delivered substantial benefits for citizens over the past five years. Europeans enjoy cleaner air and water, send less waste to landfill and recycle more; while environmental policies drive jobs and growth. But the report warns that Europe’s long-term goal of “living well, within the limits of our planet” – the aim of the General Union Environment Action Programme (7th EAP)– cannot be achieved with the current level of ambition of environment and related policies.

The European Environment — State and Outlook 2015 Report (SOER 2015) prepared by the European Environment Agency is an integrated assessment of Europe’s environment that includes data at global, regional and country levels, as well as cross country comparisons. It also looks at the next five years and beyond and sends a clear warning of the risks of environmentaldeterioration, in turn affecting human well-being and prosperity. The analysis calls for more integrated policy making – a call the Commission is responding to with a series of environmental initiatives for 2015, including a new, broader package on the Circular Economy, a review of the EU Biodiversity Strategy, an action plan on Ocean Governance and a modified Air Quality package.

The Report makes clear that protecting the environment is a solid economic investment. Between 2000 and 2011, green industries grew by more than 50% in the EU, making them one of the few sectors to have consistently flourished despite the crisis.The Report also shows that waste management is improving, although the European economy remains far from circular, with too much waste buried underground and an untapped potential for recycling and energy recovery.

The Commission is aiming to redress the balance in 2015 with an ambitious circular economy package—to transform Europe into a more competitive resource-efficient economy, and address a range of economic sectors in addition to waste. Getting most value from resources requires looking at all stages of the life cycle of products, from the extraction of raw materials through to product design, production, distribution and consumption; repair and re-use schemes; and waste management and increasing the use of secondary raw materials.

The European Environment — State and Outlook 2015 Report provides a comprehensive assessment of the state, trends and prospects of the European environment, placing it in a global context. It informs European environmental policy implementation and analyses the opportunities to modify existing policies in order to achieve the EU’s 2050 vision of living well within the limits of theplanet. It has been prepared by the European Environment Agency as a joint undertaking in close collaboration with the European environment information and observation network (Eionet), as well as European Commission services.

Information from source: European Commission