EEB position on the 6th EAP review based on IEEP study (May 5th, revised 01 June 2006)

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Courtesy of European Environmental Bureau

The EEB was very critical when the Commission published its draft 6EAP in 2001. It considered the broad absence of concrete targets and timetables as a serious weakness, and was concerned about the emphasis on the production of thematic strategies rather than concrete measures, fearing that the coming years would be spent on discussion rather than action.

In the political adoption process in 2001-2002, substantial improvements were made in the text of the 6EAP Decision. These reinforced the importance of the basic principles of EU environmental policy, as laid down in the EC Treaty, referred to as “polluter pays principle, the precautionary principle and preventive action, and the principle of rectification of pollution at source”. The substitution principle for dangerous chemicals was also reinforced. Some key ecological objectives, such as halting the decline of biodiversity by 2010, and the aim of respecting critical loads in relation to air pollution, and phasing out hazardous chemicals by 2020, were also introduced. And the Decision set a deadline for the production of Thematic Strategies.

The 6EAP is meant to guide EU environmental policy-making till 2012. So, in 2006, when only four of the ten years have elapsed, we cannot make a final judgement over whether the EU is keeping to its commitments. But we can already see some major trends, and we can be quite precise where the 6EAP states commitments that expired in, before or just after 2006.

The EEB commissioned the IEEP to carry out a progress assessment in implementing the 6EAP in order to be prepared for and contribute to the review of the 6EAP this year. This report is attached to this EEB position.

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