New way to help Member States apply EU rules benefits citizens, administrations and economy

New way to help Member States apply EU rules benefits citizens, administrations and economy

Environmental Implementation Review of February 2017: new way to help Member States apply EU rules benefits citizens, administrations and economy

Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, said: "Patchy and uneven implementation of environmental rules helps no one. Improving how environmental laws are applied benefits citizens, public administrations and the economy. This is where the Environmental Implementation Review (EIR) comes in. The European Commission is committed to helping Member States make sure that the quality of their citizens' air, water and waste management is of the highest standard. This Review provides the information, the tools and the timetable to do this."

In water quality and management, most Member States struggle to reach full compliance on collection and treatment of urban wastewater, and 13 face EU legal action. Nitrates concentrations and eutrophication levels remain a serious issue in nearly all Member States.

Root causes include ineffective control measures, a lack of coordination between water management authorities at different regional or local levels, a lack of cooperation between water and nature governance bodies, but also with authorities competent for other sectors, and lack of access to data. Another common challenge in the water sector concerns inadequate water pricing policies.

Two examples of successful practices:
A. Good practices can among others be found in Cyprus in relation to water inspection within the enforcement programme on agricultural abstractions using satellite photography and onsite inspections. This is noted as a model for possible future enforcement work.
B. Finland is implementing a large scale LIFE integrated demonstration project (FRESHABIT), involving different sectors, to develop new methodology and indicators for assessing the conservation status of freshwater habitats and to improve the ecological status, management and sustainable use of freshwater Natura 2000 sites. The project will enhance capacity building inter alia by setting up coordination structures and also develop new model frameworks to facilitate long-lasting results.
- Note that several EIP Water Action Groups are working with concrete solutions in the mentioned areas of the two examples. 

Overall, the EIP Water focuses with all Action Groups and all other means at the mentioned root causes. 

Link: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/eir/pdf/comm_en.pdf