To follow up, amongst others, on the recommendations that the CoR issued in 2010 and 2012 on the 7th Environment Action Programme (CdR 164/2010 fin; CdR 1119/2012 fin).
The new EAP must ensure that the environmental choices are sufficiently clear and predictable, in particular for local and regional administrations.
It is necessary to overcome certain shortcomings, reduce the differences between Member States and push for full compliance with environmental legislation, at all levels of government, with a view to improving the environment and public health, ensuring a level playing field and regulatory certainty, and preventing market distortions - numerous concrete actions are to be included in the 7th EAP in this regard.
Aligning the ambition level of EU source-based policy with sectoral environmental objectives and for synchronising time-frames of source-based measures and immission targets.
Maintain the 'priority objective' on the sustainable cities among the objectives of the 7th EAP, with minimum sustainability criteria to be fulfilled by a majority of cities in the EU, with the set of indicators to assess the environmental performance of cities to be developed in close cooperation with local authorities.
The Council adopted on 15/11/2013 the decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on a General Union Environment Action Programme to 2020 (= 7th Environment Action Programme, 7th EAP), http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/en/envir/139603.pdf,).
The 7th EAP refers on several occasions explicitly to local and regional authorities, including their responsibility for decision on use of land and marine areas (point 83a) and reflects some key recommendations of the Opinion, namely it:
• includes a specific priority objective 8 on sustainable cities ;
• includes a separate priority objective on better implementation of EU environment law;
• encourages Member States to liaise with "implementation administrations" (=local and regional authorities) in the policy development and implementation phase, thereby reflecting the CoR's support to cross-governmental dossier teams; and calls for "systematically involving regional and local authorities in the planning, formulation and development of policies impacting on the urban environment";
• foresees a general EU binding framework on environmental inspections and surveillance; and stresses the need to reinforce IMPEL;
• places emphasis on the new instrument of "Partnership Implementation Agreements", including the possible involvement of concerned local and regional authorities, on more efficient, transparent and pro-active information systems;
• it stresses the need for good impact assessments which take into account experiences at Member States level, and of territorial impacts;
• concerning the CoR's call for aligning EU calls for aligning EU sectoral environmental legislative policies (EU limit values) with the EU emissions policy (EU measures at source), stresses the need of other policies to develop the necessary measures in a timely fashion in order to ensure that relevant targets are met, and the need for tackling air and noise pollution at source;
• requests sustainability criteria for cities to be informed by consultation with relevant stakeholders (which would include local and regional authorities as called for by the CoR);
• it calls upon the EU to further promote, and where appropriate, to expand existing initiatives that support innovation and best practices in cities and to encourage cities to showcase their leadership, referring as example to the European Green Capital Award (this overall covers the CoR's calls for extending the Covenant of Mayors to resource efficiency and further developing the European Green Capitals Award)
In particular, the CoR/EC Joint Technical Platform for Cooperation on the Environment, co-launched by the CoR and DG Environment of the European Commission in December 2012, has now been placed on a sound and long-term basis – the platform is explicitly referred to in the 7th Environment Action Programme.
This reference results from continuous insistence in several ENVE/CoR Opinions since 2010, and good contacts established with the rapporteur from the European Parliament, Mr Gaston Franco, who also attended the ENVE Commission and introduced the reference to the Platform in his draft report.
Point 57 of the 7th EAP states: "The Technical Platform for Cooperation on the Environment set up by the Committee of the Regions and the European Commission will facilitate dialogue and information pooling, with a view to improving the implementation of legislation at local level."
THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- underlines that this new EAP must ensure that the environmental choices are sufficiently clear and predictable, in particular for local and regional administrations;
- stresses that it is necessary to overcome certain shortcomings, reduce the differences between Member States and push for full compliance with environmental legislation, at all levels of government, with a view to improving the environment and public health, ensuring a level playing field and regulatory certainty, and preventing market distortions; recommends in the Opinion numerous concrete actions to be included in the 7th EAP in this regard;
- highlights the need for good impact assessments when revising or developing new EU environmental legislation and urges the European Commission to take into account of the practical experience of Member States in a demonstrable and verifiable way;
- calls for aligning EU sectoral environmental legislative policies (EU limit values) with the EU emissions policy (EU measures at source), adopting a holistic approach that enables a coordination between these measures, their level of ambition and calendars;
- welcomes the inclusion of a "priority objective" on the sustainability of cities among the objectives of the 7th EAP and calls for minimum sustainability criteria to be fulfilled by a majority of cities in the EU; with the indicators to be developed in close cooperation with local authorities and with environmental and statistical authorities;
- calls for the programme to be more ambitious at local level, extending initiatives such as the Covenant of Mayors to other areas of the Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe, and further developing the European Green Capital Award.