Thursday

20th Sep 2018

Scrapping of environmental plans 'alarming'

  • The European Commission plans to scrap a proposal aimed at reducing waste (Photo: United Nations Photo)

A group of 10 environmental NGOs are “deeply concerned” by draft European Commission plans to scrap proposals aimed at improving air quality and reducing waste.

The commission is due to present its so-called working programme next week, but a draft of the 2015 legislative programme was leaked on Thursday (11 December).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The same day, the regional director of BirdLife Europe wrote an open letter on behalf of 10 environmental groups to commission vice-president Frans Timmermans, who is in charge of “better regulation”.

“It is alarming that, despite all the public reassurances of President Juncker and yourself … you seem to have immediately singled out key proposals for environment and health protection as your prime target”, the letter said.

The letter, dated 11 December, was signed by groups such as Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and WWF.

According to the draft plans, a bill aimed at reducing pollutants will be “modified as part of the legislative follow-up to the 2030 Energy and Climate package”, a legislative framework which was agreed by EU leaders in October.

A plan to update EU rules on reducing waste, known as the circular economy package, will be scrapped because there is “no foreseeable agreement”.

“By withdrawing the air quality proposal the European Commission would miss the opportunity to prevent as many as 58,000 premature deaths per year that result from air pollution, when the current toll is 400,000 premature deaths per year”, the NGOs' letter states.

Withdrawal of the circular economy package would lead to a missed opportunity “to create as many as 180,000 new jobs”.

The environmentalists say that the proposed binning of the rules show the commission holds business interests above “the health and quality of life of its citizens”, and points to opinion polls showing support from EU citizens for rules protecting the environment and combating air pollution.

“This will have the effect of alienating precisely those citizens who have been among the EU’s strongest supporters.”

Another NGO, not one of the 10 signatories, told this website that the scrapping of the air quality plan “makes absolutely no sense”.

Alan Andrews of Client Earth believes that making the proposal part of the 2030 package will delay its implementation.

“Whoever decides to scrap this proposal will have that on their conscience”, Andrews said.

The original proposal “would probably have been agreed in 2016 or 2017 and come into force in 2018”, Andrews said, but including it in the 2030 package “is a cynical attempt to kick this into the long grass”.

Opinion

Europe’s Kodak moment and the circular economy

If I were a business leader, I would be on high alert to ensure my company not become the cassette tape, correction fluid, or photographic film manufacturer of our time.

Opinion

2016: The year of sustainable development?

The European Commission's work programme for 2016 shows glimmers of hope that the environment is no longer the Commission blindspot that it was a year ago.

News in Brief

  1. Austria ex-chancellor hints at running for Juncker's job
  2. Greece to move asylum-seekers from overcrowded Lesbos camp
  3. Transatlantic soya trade soars due to trade wars
  4. EU tables strategy for connecting Europe and Asia
  5. Bulgaria backs Hungary in dispute with EU
  6. Trump urged Spain to build Sahara wall to stop migrants
  7. EU-Arab League summit proposed for February in Egypt
  8. Stop 'migration blame-game', Tusk tells EU leaders

Focus

EU-China cooperation on CO2 storage lost in limbo

A long-standing cooperation between the EU and China on carbon capture and storage has fallen off the political agenda – with the European Commission not having any comment available when asked for an update.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  4. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  5. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  6. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  7. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  8. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  9. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  10. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  12. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want

Latest News

  1. EU divisions on menu at Salzburg dinner
  2. EU mulls action to prevent cattle suffering at Turkish border
  3. Safeguarding Schengen at Salzburg
  4. Denmark's image 'damaged' by bank scandal
  5. Real Brexit progress needed by October, Barnier says
  6. Poland to face EU top court on rule of law
  7. Austria's EU presidency: a bridge over troubled water?
  8. EU promotes 'Egypt model' to reduce migrant numbers

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us