Green Week, the largest annual event on environmental policies in Europe, has kicked off in Warsaw with Adam Struzik (PL/EPP) hosting the grand opening. This year, environmental implementation is under the spotlight. Largely responsible for implementing environmental policy in Europe, cities and regions will take the floor to deplore ongoing shortfalls on environmental compliance but also to show what successful implementation looks like. The President of the European Committee of the Regions, Karl-Heinz Lambertz, will be summarising the environmental achievements and challenges ahead at the Green Week 2019 closing session in Brussels next 17 May.
Today, environmental policy is one of the most solid achievements of the European integration process. Europe is home to the largest coordinated network of protected areas in the world, having largely succeeded in protecting endangered species and habitats, restoring ecosystems and achieving more sustainable agriculture, fisheries and forestry. Yet, natural capital is being degraded: air pollution is massively affecting citizen's health while a third of EU's land suffers from water stress and water scarcity is a concern in many Member States.
This year, Green Week puts the process of environmental implementation into the spotlight. President Karl-Heinz Lambertz and several members of the European Committee of the Regions will be talking the floor to share their experiences and concerns.
Adam Struzik (PL/EPP), President of the Mazovia region, hosted the 2019 Green Week opening ceremony in Warsaw on 13 May. President Struzik said: "We are all concerned by the degradation of the biodiversity and the negative impact that climate change has on the environment. As a global problem, we must collectively ensure better environmental protection in every corner of the planet. Yet, as local and regional leaders, we must act individually to ensure that environmental legislation is efficiently implemented in our territories as to deliver the healthiest possible environment to our citizens."
Roby Biwer (LU/PES), Member of Bettembourg Municipal Council, took the floor in Warsaw as CoR's rapporteur on biodiversity. Rapporteur Biwer said: "Biodiversity should be considered the foundation for our health and well-being. It underpins the functioning of the ecosystems on which we depend; and because it constitutes the environment in which we live, we have to protect biodiversity, learning to live in harmony with our ecosystems. Despite the challenges faced in implementing environmental law, we, local and regional authorities, remain at the forefront of environmental policies. We are therefore committed to contributing towards a more efficient and effective environmental compliance in our communities."
On 15 May, the CoR will host the European Week for Waste Reduction Awards ceremony in Brussels with the presence of Jury Member André Van de Nadort (NL/PES), Mayor of Weststellingwerf and CoR's rapporteur of the opinion 'European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy.'
The European Committee of the Regions recently adopted the opinion 'Towards an 8th Environment Action Programme'. Rapporteur Cor Lamers (NL/EPP), Mayor of Schiedam and Chair of the CoR's Commission for Environment, Climate Change and Energy (ENVE) will present its main proposals on 16 May in a Green Week event on 'The future of environment policy – better integration & implementation at local and regional level.' Read here a summary of CoR proposal for the future Environment Action Programme.
In April 2019, the European Commission published a set of reports on the state of implementation of environmental laws in Europe. The Environmental Implementation Review includes an overview of the progress of each Member State in implementing environmental legislation, identifies their main shortcomings and recommends priority actions.
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