• news.cision.com/
  • EU Green Week 2019/
  • Environmental Implementation Review: Commission helps Member States to better apply EU environment rules to protect citizens and enhance their quality of life

Environmental Implementation Review: Commission helps Member States to better apply EU environment rules to protect citizens and enhance their quality of life

Report this content

Brussels, 5 April 2019

An initiative to improve the application of EU policies and rules on the circular economy, nature and biodiversity, air quality, and water quality and management.


Today, the Commission published the second Environmental Implementation Review (EIR), part of its

initiative launched in 2016 to improve the implementation of European environmental policy and

commonly agreed rules in all EU Member States. Implementing EU environmental policy and law is not

only essential for a healthy environment, but also opens up new opportunities for sustainable economic

growth, innovation and jobs. Full implementation of EU environmental legislation could save the EU

economy around €55 billion every year in health costs and direct costs to the environment.


Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, said: "The Juncker

Commission is committed to building a Europe that protects. Making sure that the air, water and waste

management our citizens enjoy are of best quality and our natural capital is protected is our priority.

The Environmental Implementation Review is there to help Member States to make that happen by

providing them with the information and the tools they need."


The Review maps out the situation of environmental policies and rules implementation in each EU

country and identifies the causes of implementation gaps. It helps to find solutions before problems

become urgent and aims to assist national decision-makers by outlining the priorities requiring their

attention. All Member States have made use of the EIR P2P Peer-to-Peer programme established in

2017 which facilitates learning between environmental authorities.


The package includes: 28 country reports  showing the state of play in the implementation of EU

environmental law, as well as opportunities for improvement in each Member State; and a

Communication  drawing conclusions and defining common trends at EU level, as well as

recommendations for improvements to all Member States with key priority actions.


State of play in main policy areas

The Review shows that eighteen Member States continue to struggle with high levels of nitrogen oxide

(NOx) emissions and fifteen countries need to further reduce emissions of particulate matter (PM2.5

and PM10).Given the impact of air pollution on health, in line with its communication of May 2018 “A

Europe that protects: clean air for all”, the Commission has engaged in clean air dialogues with several

EU countries, in addition to more targeted enforcement actions.


While overall the policy framework for the circular economy has been strengthened waste prevention

remains an important challenge for all Member States. On waste management, nine countries are on

track and five have already reached the recycling targets, but fourteen are at risk of missing the 2020

municipal waste recycling target. Sound and efficient waste management systems are an essential

building block of our circular economy.


Where water  is concerned, much remains to be done to fully achieve the objectives of the water

directives, and in particular good status for our water bodies until 2027. Urban wastewater is still not

treated properly in two thirds of Member States. Increased investments are essential to meet these

objectives and EU funds will continue to back up implementation efforts.


When it comes to the protection of nature and biodiversity, the Natura 2000 network has continued

to expand on land and at sea. The EU has already surpassed the target of defining 10% of its coastal

and marine areas as Marine Protected Areas by 2020 as set by the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Nevertheless, most Member States need to speed up their efforts for the completion and management

of the Natura 2000 network.


Regarding climate change, Member States have made good progress in implementing EU climate

legislation and the 2020 targets are likely to be met. Nevertheless, efforts in each Member State and at

EU level need to be intensified to comply with our international commitments under the Paris

Agreement and prevent the worst consequences of climate change.


The Environmental Implementation Review put in place a new tool – the Peer-to-Peer programme -

to stimulate environmental authorities from different Member States to learn from each other's

experiences across borders. Since its launch, all Member States were involved in at least one event

covering circular economy, air quality, timber regulation, nature and biodiversity, and water quality



The Review also assesses some enabling factors that could drastically improve implementation, such as

environmental governance. The Commission calls upon Member States to improve the integration of

environmental objectives with other policy goals, to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of public

administration, and to be more transparent with environmentally relevant information. There is also

scope to further engage regional and local authorities and other stakeholders in tackling the main

implementation challenges.



The first Environmental Implementation Review (EIR) package was adopted in February 2017. The

Environmental Implementation Review works along the Commission's Better Regulation policy,

focusing on improving implementation of existing legislation and policies. Since its adoption, many

Member States have organised national Environmental Implementation Review dialogues on the

priority themes identified in their reports. In many cases, regional and local authorities and key

stakeholders have been involved. When commonly agreed rules are not properly implemented, the

Commission can take legal action. In order to avoid this route, the Commission works with Member

States to enable them to better apply environmental policies and rules, through the process of the

Environmental Implementation Review.


For More Information

Communication and Annex

28 Country reports and Factsheets

Policy background Staff Working Document

Environmental Implementation Review website


Press contacts:

Enrico BRIVIO (+32 2 295 61 72)

Stephan MEDER (+32 2 291 39 17)

General public inquiries: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 67 89 10 11 or by email

Federica Drobnitzky
+32 2 5 04 07 - 92


Documents & Links