Brussels bids to revive flagging environment programme

The EC is nowhere near meeting the objectives of its fifth Environment Action Programme, according to mid-term reviews by the European Commission and European Environment Agency. The Agency has called for "accelerated policies" to tackle urgent problems, but the Commission's Environment Directorate is not in a position to deliver because its hands have been tied by the subsidiarity and deregulation lobbies, and solutions will require genuine integration of environmental considerations into economic and sectoral policies. In a bid to breathe fresh life into the Programme, the Commission has proposed a new action plan which would bind the Council and the Commission, and give the European Parliament opportunities to strengthen its content. The plan also heralds action on voluntary agreements, product policies, green taxes and greater public access to justice.

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