EEB says Portuguese Presidency could do better, in environmental end-of-term report
As the Presidency of the EU from Portugal came to an end, the European Environmental Bureau, gave a very lukewarm assessment of the environmental performance during its six-month term of office.
The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) is the largest non-governmental environmental grouping in Europe, representing 130 NGOs from 24 countries, including all 15 EU Member States. At the beginning of the year the EEB published ‘10 Green Tests’ for the Presidency.
According to EEB, one of the few successes of the Presidency was in maintaining the strong Council position on the End-of-Life for Vehicles Directive, against the European Parliament wish to water it down. The EEB feels that the resulting Directive will positively influence recycling and re-use of materials in Europe.
However, disappointing areas highlighted by the EEB include the Water Framework Directive. Although the Portuguese Presidency managed to achieve an outcome at the very last conciliation meeting, the EEB feels that the final result is unacceptable, particularly because of the lack of enforceability and the fact that it is a step back from current legislation. The EEB is calling on the European Parliament to reject this Directive.
Another disappointment is the refusal of the Intergovernmental Conference to include in the European Treaty access to justice at European level for NGOs and the general public in environmental cases.
In two areas related to air pollution the EEB has mixed feelings. While pleased that Council finally achieved a common position on the National Emission Ceilings (NEC) dossier in June, the common position does not even meet halfway the European Commission ambitions in addressing eutrophication and ozone exposure to humans or ecosystems, or acidification.
On the Large Combustion Plants Directive, the EEB acknowledges that discussions were difficult and welcomes the common position agreed in Environment Council on June 22. Allowing member states to adopt either a ‘bubble approach’ or apply minimum emission limit values for individual existing plants is seen as a flexible compromise.
The Presidency for the next six months was taken over by the French on July 1st
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