The EU’s 27 environment ministers adopted a conclusion calling for “an ambitious and compelling 2050 vision for a green Europe” that decouples economic growth from environmental degradation, at the meantime arguing for a better implementation of existing environmental laws before creating new ones.
The conclusions will add to pressure for the European Commission to produce a follow up to its 6th Environmental Action Programme (EAP), which expires in July.
The Europea Parliament already urged the Commission to come up with a new programme, highlighting how the 6th EAP “has been compromised by a lack of implementation … in the areas of air pollution control, water and wastewater treatment, waste and nature conservation”.
On the other hand, the Commission has long been reluctant to refer to a 7th EAP, since environmental concerns were already addressed by its ‘Europe 2020′ strategy for growth.
However, the EU Executive will present its proposal for a 7th EAP by the end of 2012.
According to ministers, the new programme should aim first at strengthening and better implementing the existing environment policy and legislation. The objective, they argue, is to facilitate the “transition to a green economy.
A transition to a green economy could boost employement creating millions of new job, as said by a recent UN report.
In addition, efforts must be made to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation, in order to meet the Union’s greenhouse emissions targets.
The minister’s conclusions will feed into the discussion at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio.