Implementation of EU environmental policy and law is essential for a healthy environment. Overcoming the gap between what has been decided and actually implemented is critical to ensure good environmental outcomes for citizens, as well as to preserve a level playing field for economic operators and to create opportunities for social and technological innovations and economic development. A new study estimates that the total costs for society of current environmental implementation gaps are around EUR 55 billion annually.
The Environmental Implementation Review aims at improving implementation in the field of EU environmental policy and legislation by identifying the causes of implementation gaps and addressing systemic obstacles to environmental integration across policy sectors. It maps the main challenges for each Member State, as well as existing good practices and points of excellence.
The first Environmental Implementation Review package was adopted in February 2017. Since its adoption, many Member States have organised national Environmental Implementation Review dialogues on the priority themes identified in their reports. In many cases, regional and local authorities and key stakeholders have been involved. In addition, several sector specific dialogues have been organised. Shortly after the adoption of the first package, a TAIEX-EIR Peer to Peer tool was launched to facilitate peer learning between Member States, regions and municipalities on improving their implementation practices.
The whole package includes the present Communication, an annex listing the key priority actions, a policy background document and 28 country reports outlining the state of play in the implementation of the main areas and objectives of the EU environmental rulebook, as well as the main challenges and opportunities for each Member State.
Infringement procedures remain an important tool to ensure the proper implementation of legal obligations and, therefore, the Environmental Implementation Review is without prejudice to enforcement actions by the Commission under the Treaties, under the control of the Court of Justice of the European Union. The Environmental Implementation Review makes it possible to enhance compliance with EU environmental laws by addressing the root causes of poor implementation and promoting more effective application, provided that Member States undertake swiftly and decisively at least the priority actions.
The package illustrates the status of environmental implementation as of January 2019 and aims to foster cooperation among public authorities and stakeholders to find tailor-made solutions to address implementation gaps more effectively. The 2019 country reports also cover several new themes compared to 2017, particularly in response to the feedback attained from Member States, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions and different stakeholders in the first cycle: climate change, invasive alien species, industrial emissions and chemicals, as well as new information.