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THE EU: Institutions, the Environment and the Citizen

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An overview of the key EU institutions, environmental law and the role of citizens and environmental NGOs

Published in: Environment
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THE EU: Institutions, the Environment and the Citizen

  1. 1. 1Niall Sargent – Communications Manager The European Union: The Institutions, the Environment and the Citizen
  2. 2. • Who is involved: EU institutions and their respective roles • What is Involved: EU Environment policy and law, and how it has evolved • What can you do: eNGOs, the citizen & influencing the debate 2 Overview
  3. 3. EU Institutions 3
  4. 4. 4 The European Commission
  5. 5. 5 • Represents the interests of the EU as a whole • Represents the EU on the international stage • Proposes laws • Manages EU policies and budgets • Enforces EU laws as guardian of the Treaties • The Directorate-General for Environment
  6. 6. 6 The European Parliament • Voice of the People – 751 MEPs • Democratic supervision of all the EU’s work • Decides EU law and budgets (with Council of Ministers) • Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI)
  7. 7. 7 Council of Ministers • Voice of the Member States – One Minister per State • Rotating Presidency – Malta • Decides EU law and budgets (with Parliament) • Manages the common foreign and security policy • Environmental Working Group
  8. 8. 8 European Court of Justice (ECJ) • Ensures EU legislation applied evenly • Place of last resort for non-compliance issues • European Court of Human Rights – Not the same thing Important Agencies • The European Environment Agency (EEA) • European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) • National Authorities
  9. 9. 9 How Legislation is Passed (or not) Citizens, interest groups, experts: discuss, consult Commission: makes formal proposal Parliament and Council of Ministers: decide jointly National or local authorities: implement Commission & Court of Justice: monitor implementation
  10. 10. 10 More than Just Making Law • Data collection, best practise and identifying problems • Papers and Impact Assessments • Regulation and Directives • Secondary Legislation • Monitoring implementation and enforcement
  11. 11. European Union environment policy • 1958 – Treaty of Rome – No specific mention of environment • 1973 – First Environmental Action Programme (EAP) – Polluter pays principle • 1992 - Maatricht – Article 174 – defined sustainable development as key policy and precautionary principle • 1997 – Amsterdam – Importance of sustainable development and environmental protection (art 6) • 2007 – Lisbon – Key policies reiterated 11
  12. 12. • "Living well, within the limits of our planet” • Covers the period 2013-2020 • 2020 timeframe, 2050 vision • Towards a resource-efficient, low-carbon economy • Commitment by EU and its Member States 12 The 7th EAP
  13. 13. EU Directives • Air Pollution (vehicle emissions, Emission Ceilings) • Water pollution (bathing water, urban waste water treatment, nitrates use, marine pollution) • Consumer and Health (noise pollution, chemicals) • Waste Management (hazardous waste, WEEE, landfill) • Biodiversity (habitats and wild birds) 13
  14. 14. Problems with System • Adopt V Implement • Ebb and Flow of Concern • National Priorities – Agriculture – Economic Growth 14
  15. 15. Influencing the Debate • eNGOs, Green Movement and Parties • European Economic and Social Committee • Petitions – Stop Toxic Power Plant Pollution • Public Consultation – Living Land on CAP Reform • European Citizens Initiative 15
  16. 16. European Citizens Initiative • An invitation to the European Commission to propose legislation on matters where the EU has competence to legislate. • Must be backed by at least one million EU citizens, from at least 7 member states. • A minimum number of signatories is required in each of those 7 member states. 16
  17. 17. http://environmentalpillar.ie/people4soil/ 17
  18. 18. Thank You www.environmentalpillar.ie 18

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