The 8th Environment Action Programme (EAP) is a strategic document that will guide the EU environmental policy until 2030. The EU treaties foresee its approval by Ordinary Legislative Procedure with consultation of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR).
The CoR has already published a study and has approved an Own-initiative opinion on the 8th EAP that could provide inputs for the new legislative opinion.
The general objective of the opinion is to assess the proposed EAP and try to amend it, especially on aspects for which there is a particular importance of the local and regional dimension.
An element of particular importance is the cooperation between the European Commission and the CoR. The 7th EAP included a reference to the Technical Platform for Cooperation on the Environment, an initiative for cooperation between the CoR and the Directorate General for Environment of the European Commission.
Since this opinion is of strategic general nature, it offers the possibility to provide CoR positions on the EU environmental policy in general, also in connection with the European Green Deal and on how local and regional authorities can contribute to its implementation.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- welcomes the 8th Environment Action Programme (EAP), which defines a strategic approach for environment and climate policies to 2030 and keeps a long-term vision for 2050 for living well within the planetary boundaries with a focus on better implementation and monitoring; calls for the EAP to have a strong complementary role to the European Green Deal and to support the EU's green recovery;
- argues that the EAP should aim to increase the connection between environment policy and health. A healthy living approach needs to be at the basis of all EU policies promoting human health, a healthy planet, a healthy economy and a healthy society with opportunities for all;
- considers that the "do not harm" principle, as well as being a healthy living approach, should guide the recovery and resilience plans to ensure policy integration and coherence;
- calls for strengthening the cooperation between the European Commission and the Committee of the Regions (CoR), in the framework of the Technical Platform for Cooperation on the Environment and calls for the inclusion of the platform in the EAP;
- supports creating a new monitoring framework with due regard towards existing ones. Advocates the involvement of the CoR and Local and Regional Authorities in the consultation process to define the key indicators to ensure that the local and regional dimension is adequately taken into account;
- calls for the EU to promote a holistic place-based and area-oriented approach taking into account the specific challenges and strengths of all typologies of communities such as urban and rural, but also coastal, mountain, island, archipelagic and outermost areas and considering the interactions between communities and their surrounding areas, in particular hinterlands of urban areas;
- urges that no precedent be set for future EAPs by the fact that the 8th EAP includes no measures; underlines that the Green Deal provides measures only till 2024 and calls for a mid-term clarification;
- calls for a well-functioning multi-level governance framework and encourages all the levels of governance to promote cross-administrative, interregional, intermunicipal and cross-border cooperation to implement the 8th EAP;
- calls for the full integration of environment and climate policies, and policies that enable a circular economy, into the budgetary, economic and social actions of the EU and reminds that the green recovery efforts should take into consideration territorial disparities and challenges and ensure that no community is left behind.