The European Commission has proposed a new Environment Action Programme for the EU. Entitled "Living well, within the limits of our planet", it will guide environment policy up to 2020. The proposal aims to enhance Europe's ecological resilience and transform the EU into an inclusive and sustainable green economy.
Despite progress in some areas, Europe continues to face significant environmental challenges, as well as opportunities to make the environment more resilient to risks and change.
Protecting natural capital, encouraging more resource efficiency and accelerating the transition to the low-carbon economy are key features of the programme, which also seeks to tackle environmental causes of disease. The results should help stimulate sustainable growth and create new jobs to set the Union on a path to becoming a better and healthier place to live.
Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "The new Action Programme sets out the path for Europe to become a place where people live in a safe and healthy natural environment, where economic progress is based on a sustainable, green economy and where ecological resilience has been achieved."
Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said: "We cannot wait until the economic crisis is over before we tackle the resources, environmental and climate crises. We must address all these at the same time and so include climate and environmental concerns into all our policies. This strategy gives businesses and politicians the long-term view we very much need for making the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon society in Europe."
The Commission's proposal will be considered through the ordinary legislative procedure by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union. Once agreed, the new EAP will become EU law.