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The European Commission’s Green Week is the biggest annual event on environment in Europe. This year the EU Green Week is built around a simple truth: a law is only useful when it is actually put into practice. Thus, from 21 to 25 May, the Green Week explores the state of implementation of environmental laws in Europe by asking questions such as:
What benefits do EU environmental laws bring for citizens?
What does successful implementation look like?
Where are the problem areas?
How can stakeholders take ownership of these laws?
How the EU can facilitate the process, making sure that the voices of citizens are heard?
Implementation is key to achieving EU and national environmental objectives. However, implementation of environmental rules is still insufficient and current gaps cost EU citizens around 55 billion euro each year (COWI and Eunomia, 2019). The reasons for inadequate implementation of EU environmental legislation are manyfold and differ not only from one Member State to another but also between sectors. This is the background against which the EU Commission launched in 2016 the Environmental Implementation Review (EIR), a tool to improve implementation of EU environmental law and policy.
In April 2019 the European Commission published the second EIR package, consisting of 28 country reports that map the progress made since 2017 and contain priority actions for each Member State and a Communication identifying common challenges across countries. In particular, the national reports prepare the ground for high-level bilateral country dialogues between the Commission and the Member States, while the Communication sets the framework for a comprehensive view of EU achievements and challenges, and for the definition of the scale and range of priorities requiring political attention.
The Green Week 2019 will be built around the findings of the 2019 EIR and will foster cooperation between public authorities and stakeholders to find tailor-made solutions to address implementation gaps more effectively. In addition, it will motivate all actors to take the initiative, including citizens.
The Green Week is in line with the current EU approach to environmental issues: inclusive, participative, flexible, and multi-level.
For more info on EU Green Week’s events: www.eugreenweek.eu/en/week-overview
|PhD in Law and Economics (University of Siena), Mariachiara is Senior Researcher in Environmental Law at the Institute for Comparative Federalism, Eurac Research. Her research focuses on multilevel governance of the environment, water law, and public participation in environmental decision-making, climate change, renewable energies and sustainable development.