Europe’s Environment Agency throws down green gauntlet to Juncker Commission

Posted on 03 March 2015    
Natural capital needs to be a foundamental part of Europe's economy
Natural capital needs to be a foundamental part of Europe's economy
© © iStockphoto.com/Bart Coenders

Brussels, Belgium: Today the European Environment Agency launched its once every five year report on the State of Europe’s Environment. The Agency delivered a shot across the bows to the new European Commission – ignore environmental policy at your peril.


Commenting on the report, Tony Long, Director of WWF European Policy Office, said:

This is a wakeup call for the Commission. The 2015 State of Europe’s Environment is just the latest in a line of warnings that if the Commission wants to be “big on the big things”, as President Juncker says, then it has got to start giving environmental policy much greater importance in its priorities. It can start by turning off its simplistic and false rhetoric that environmental policy equals administrative burden. The Environmental Agency’s report shows the opposite is the case – green policies promote innovation, jobs and growth.

The Agency’s report identifies areas of patchy environmental progress. There are gains on air quality and chemical pollution and significant and welcome shifts in a green economy direction with more and more green jobs. But still much more is needed. The report underlines that Europe is still losing biodiversity at dramatic rate with only 23% of animal and plant species and 16% of habitat types considered to be in a favourable conservation status. Europe has big challenges ahead on protecting biodiversity, managing our oceans, cleaning the air we breathe and moving towards more resource- efficient and less wasteful, circular economies.

In its reply to the Agency’s report, Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, has said that he will take the State of the Environment report as the “starting line” of his mandate. He has identified four areas where the Commission will make progress in 2015: circular economy, nature and biodiversity, ocean governance and air qualityWWF welcomes these commitments, despite the fact that the environment did not get a mention in the 10 Commission priorities announced by President Juncker last year, and hardly figured in the Commission’s 2015 work programme.

In line with the Agency’s focus on “Natural Capital”, on the 10th of March WWF will launch a comprehensive analysis showing the policy, fiscal, and financial actions the EU has to take to move to sustainable economies, and the enormous benefits it will gain.

For further information: Stefania Campogianni, Senior Media and Communications Officer, +32 499 539736

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Natural capital needs to be a foundamental part of Europe's economy
Natural capital needs to be a foundamental part of Europe's economy
© © iStockphoto.com/Bart Coenders Enlarge