Tag Archives: Climate change

Strategy for cooperation with China

Strategy for cooperation with China

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Strategy for cooperation with China


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Relations with third countries > Asia

Strategy for cooperation with China (2007-2013)

Document or Iniciative

European Commission – China Strategy Paper 2007-2013 .


Relations between the European Union (EU) and China have progressed towards a strategic partnership. This cooperation, which developed on the basis of a Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement, now covers a large number of sectors thanks to the establishment of a stronger partnership.

This cooperation programme is an important element of that relationship.

Political dialogue

The partners are continuing to develop their ties through regular political dialogue, particularly in the areas of:

  • climate change and energy;
  • legal and illegal immigration;
  • human rights;
  • trade in goods and services, and market access;
  • the European arms embargo;
  • cooperation on foreign and security policy, with particular attention to conflict prevention and combating weapons of mass destruction;
  • justice, freedom and security, focusing on combating terrorism, organised crime, trafficking of human beings, drugs, and the trafficking of small arms and light weapons.

The political dialogue also serves as a framework for the negotiation of a Partnership and Co-operation Agreement (PCA).

Cooperation priorities

In the area of trade, the partnership supports trade liberalisation and China’s commitments in accordance with the rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). China’s significance in international trade is such that the country must demonstrate its ability to respect fair and equitable conditions of competition. Similarly, the EU supports the restructuring of the financial services sector in view of the increase in trade in services.

Cooperation in the area of civilian aviation should help to improve aviation safety and security, considering the rapid development of the aviation market and the country’s position as a transit hub within Asia. Action to provide regulatory technical assistance is in place, as are research projects, including for the development of green air transport.

China must reduce the negative social impact of its economic reforms in order to increase its social and territorial cohesion. This should be done through policies at regional level, employment and decent work, social security and health. The partners may therefore exchange experience in particular areas such as the labour market, social exclusion and pensions.

Similarly, cooperation must be increased in the education and training sector, for the development of student and professional exchange programmes, particularly in the field of science.

Finally, the partners must combine their efforts to combat climate change, to develop legal and economic instruments for environmental protection and to ensure the sustainable management of energy and water resources.

Aviation and climate change

Aviation and climate change

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Aviation and climate change


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Air pollution

Aviation and climate change

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 27 September 2005: “Reducing the Climate Change Impact of Aviation” [COM(2005) 459 – not published in the Official Journal].


The European Union (EU) is responsible for about half of the CO2 emissions generated by international air transport in developed countries. Air transport emissions are likely to increase rapidly in the future if there is no policy response in this area. This situation could compromise European objectives for combating climate change.

In this Communication, the Commission looks at new and existing means and instruments for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the air transport sector.

Tapping the potential of existing policies

The Commission proposes continuing and extending research in aeronautics, particularly under the Seventh Framework Programme for Research. Research will focus on analysing the impact the air transport sector has on climate change and reducing the adverse effects of air transport, in particular CO2 and NOx emissions.

The Commission also suggests improving air traffic management, particularly by implementing the ” Single European Sky ” and SESAME initiatives. More efficient air traffic management should, among other things, enable aviation fuel consumption to be reduced.

Furthermore, in the area of fuel taxation, the Commission takes the view that Member States should eventually remove the exemption traditionally applied to the aviation sector. It is common practice for aviation fuel to be exempted from taxes. Directive 2003/96/EC allows for a fuel tax to be levied on domestic flights within Member States, but it is often impossible to tax fuel for international flights (including between Member States), because of the legally binding commitments made in air service agreements concluded between Member States and third countries. A large number of air service agreements will have to be renegotiated before fuel can be taxed irrespective of the air carrier’s country of origin. The process is under way, but will take time to complete. This option can therefore only be seen as a long-term solution.

The Commission also suggests improving the competitiveness of other transport sectors and raising public awareness of the impact air travel has on climate change.

Developing cost-effective economic instruments: emissions trading

In the Commission’s opinion, of the various economic instruments looked at, the most effective option is to include the air transport sector in the greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme which the EU set up in 2003 (see “Related Acts” below).

The system is based on the following principle: the regulatory authority sets a quantity limit on polluting emissions and divides this quantity among the economic operators producing these emissions, in this case the airlines. The limited pollution rights available give the operators an incentive to reduce their emissions or buy emission rights from other participants if they exceed their allotted limit.

The desired result is a significant reduction in polluting emissions. The large number of participants would also minimise the costs for the economic operators. Furthermore, the system is compatible with the international legal framework for aviation, and could therefore feasibly be extended to operate at international level, if adapted appropriately.

Certain aspects of this instrument remain to be clarified:

  • its scope: in order for the system to be effective in environmental terms, the best option would be for all flights departing from Community airports to be included;
  • how to adapt the existing Community system, which is linked to the accounting system set up by the Kyoto Protocol (covering CO2 emissions produced by domestic flights but not those produced by international flights);
  • how to take other environmental factors (particularly NOx emissions) into account if the system applies only to CO2 emissions.

As part of the European Climate Change Programme, the Commission intends to set up a special working group of experts from Member States and key stakeholder organisations (industry, consumer and environmental organisations). Its purpose will be to look at ways of integrating air transport effectively and efficiently into the European greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme.

The Commission also considered other economic options (a tax on airline tickets and other charges linked to emissions), but these were rejected for a number of reasons, as stated in the impact assessment attached to the Communication.

The European Union and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions

In spring 2005, on the basis of the Communication entitled Winning the Battle Against Global Climate Change, the European Parliament and the European Council reaffirmed the EU’s objective of ensuring that global surface temperatures do not rise more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and therefore of cutting greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible.

As part of the Sixth Community Environment Action Programme, the EU undertook to take specific action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from aviation if no such action was agreed within the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the organisation responsible, by 2002. The ICAO has not adopted any such measures, but has endorsed the concept of emissions trading.

The air transport sector currently accounts for 3% of all greenhouse gas emissions. However, the rapid growth of this sector means that aviation could eventually become the main source of greenhouse gas emissions, despite improvements in aircraft energy efficiency. Between 1990 and 2003, greenhouse gas emissions from international air transport increased by 73% in the EU. If the sector continues to grow at the current rate, by 2012 emissions will have increased by 150% since 1990.

Related Acts

Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 amending Directive 2003/87/EC so as to include aviation activities in the scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Community [COM(2006) 818 final – not published in the Official Journal].
This proposal is designed to include aviation activities in the greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme, and is to apply to all flights arriving at or departing from Community airports from 1 January 2012 (2011 for flights between EU airports). Aircraft operators will be responsible for complying with the obligations imposed by the scheme. It is also suggested that the process for allocating allowances should be harmonised across the EU, and that each aircraft operator, including operators from third countries, should be administered by one Member State only.

Directive 2003/87/EC

of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 October 2003 establishing a scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Community and amending Council Directive 96/61/EC [Official Journal L 275 of 25 October 2003].

Council Decision 2002/358/EC

of 25 April 2002 concerning the approval, on behalf of the European Community, of the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the joint fulfilment of commitments thereunder [Official Journal L 130 of 15 May 2002].

Impact assessment

Commission Staff Working Document of 27 September 2005 – Annex to the Communication from the Commission “Reducing the Climate Change Impact of Aviation” – Impact Assessment [SEC(2005) 1184].

Tackling climate change

Tackling climate change

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Tackling climate change


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Tackling climate change

Tackling climate change

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing mankind in the coming years. Rising temperatures, melting glaciers and increasingly frequent droughts and flooding are all evidence that climate change is really happening. The risks for the whole planet and for future generations are colossal and we need to take urgent action.
For several years now the European Union has been committed to tackling climate change both internally and internationally and has placed it high on the EU agenda, as reflected in European climate change policy. Indeed, the EU is taking action to curb greenhouse gas emissions in all its areas of activity in a bid to achieve the following objectives: consuming less-polluting energy more efficiently, creating cleaner and more balanced transport options, making companies more environmentally responsible without compromising their competitiveness, ensuring environmentally friendly land-use planning and agriculture and creating conditions conducive to research and innovation.


A realistic long-term policy framework
Following on from work under the European Climate Change Programme (ECCP), the European Union has come up with a realistic climate change strategy, advocating practical action to prevent temperatures from increasing to more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

  • Strategy on climate change: foundations of the strategy
  • Strategy on climate change for 2020 and beyond
  • Launching the European Climate Change Programme (ECCP)

Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions as priority objective
Reducing greenhouse gases is a key component of European action. The EU has a monitoring mechanism in place to keep regular track of emissions and the absorption of these gases. With a view to gradually reducing emissions the EU has also established a system based on market rules, a greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme and specific rules on fluorinated greenhouse gases.

  • Reducing greenhouse gases by 2020
  • Greenhouse gas: reducing emissions by 20 % or more by 2020
  • Mechanism for monitoring greenhouse gas emissions
  • Greenhouse gas emission allowance trading scheme
  • Reduction in fluorinated greenhouse gases

Monitoring and adapting to the inevitable consequences of climate change
We are already feeling the effects of climate change. The extent of these effects can be measured thanks to the GMES monitoring system, while a number of European measures provide for an emergency response. These include, in particular, the Community Civil Protection Mechanism and specific measures concerning floods and droughts. In 2007, the Commission adopted a Green Paper on adapting to climate change in Europe.

  • European Earth monitoring programme (GMES)
  • Adapting to Climate Change
  • Civil Protection Mechanism
  • Flood management and evaluation
  • Combating deforestation
  • Fight against illegal logging

The Kyoto Protocol and the EU’s commitment in international negotiations
In the international arena, the EU is at the very forefront of the fight against climate change and takes an active part in negotiations on the subject. The EU signed up in 1998 to the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which deals with six greenhouse gases. Moreover, to help developing countries meet the challenge of climate change, the EU has adopted a strategy on climate change in the context of development cooperation.

  • Kyoto Protocol on climate change
  • Implementing the Kyoto Protocol
  • Global climate change alliance
  • Climate change in the context of development cooperation


Focusing the energy market on security and sustainability of supply
With a package of measures adopted in 2007, the EU laid the foundations for a genuine common energy policy. This series of measures also focuses the energy market more on sustainability, particularly by means of tax measures.

  • An Energy Policy for Europe
  • Community framework for the taxation of energy products and electricity
  • Sustainable power generation from fossil fuels
  • Demonstration of the capture and storage of CO2

Controlling and rationalising energy consumption thanks to energy efficiency
The EU has launched a large-scale consultation based on a Green Paper and has adopted an Action Plan for 2007-2010 to make energy efficiency and energy saving a key component of European energy policy. It has also adopted specific measures, in particular on energy efficiency and the labelling of energy-using products.

  • Energy efficiency for the 2020 goal
  • Action Plan for Energy Efficiency (2007-12)
  • Green Paper on energy efficiency
  • Towards a European Strategic Energy Technology Plan

Making renewable energy a genuine and affordable alternative
A total of 20% of European energy consumption to be met from renewable sources by 2020: this is the target the EU set itself in 2007. To achieve this objective the EU has adopted measures aimed at promoting renewable energy sources and developing the markets in the biomass and biofuel sectors, among others.

  • Promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources
  • Renewable Energy Road Map
  • Biomass Action Plan
  • EU strategy for biofuels


Achieving transport policy objectives
The ambitious revitalisation of EU transport policy, through the White Paper adopted in 2001, will make a significant contribution towards reducing the impact of transport on climate change. Achieving this objective will require, in particular, better management of freight transport and the harnessing of technology.

  • Freight transport logistics in Europe
  • White paper: European transport policy for 2010

Reconciling road and air transport with the environment
The EU has adopted a wide range of measures to reduce the impact of road and air transport, including measures reducing levels of polluting emissions, traffic management measures and tax measures.

  • Taxation of heavy goods vehicles: Eurovignette Directive
  • Passenger car related taxes
  • Aviation and climate change
  • Framework for creation of the Single European Sky (SES)
  • Single European Sky II
  • Clean Sky
  • Internalisation of external transport costs

Promoting transport by rail and waterways and intermodality
To improve the balance between transport modes and to promote less polluting means of transport, the EU supports the development of measures to promote rail, maritime and waterway transport and to join up different modes of transport (intermodality).

  • White Paper: A strategy for revitalising the Community’s railways
  • Promotion of inland waterway transport “NAIADES”
  • Programme for the promotion of short sea shipping
  • Strategy to reduce atmospheric emissions from seagoing ships
  • The Marco Polo II programme
  • Maritime Policy Green Paper

Companies are obliged to take into consideration – and reduce – the impact of their activities on the environment (according to the “polluter pays” principle). A number of environmental management instruments are available to assist them in this.

  • Environmental liability

Man-made greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced by proper land and land-use management, including, among other things, carbon storage and the promotion of low-emission activities.

  • Carbon dioxide capture and geological storage
  • Thematic strategy for soil protection
  • Landfill of waste
  • Production and labelling of organic products

The EU has set up a raft of direct and indirect financial assistance packages, particularly to support innovative projects and technological development.

  • SET-Plan for the development of low carbon technologies
  • Seventh Framework Programme (2007 to 2013)
  • Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) (2007-2013)
  • Action plan in favour of environmental technologies
  • Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan)

Carbon dioxide capture and geological storage

Carbon dioxide capture and geological storage

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Carbon dioxide capture and geological storage


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Soil protection

Carbon dioxide capture and geological storage

2). This new legislative framework aims at preventing or, and where that is not possible, minimising the harmful effects of CO2 emissions and all environmental and health risks.

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2009/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the geological storage of carbon dioxide and amending Council Directive 85/337/EEC, European Parliament and Council Directives 2000/60/EC, 2001/80/EC, 2004/35/EC, 2006/12/EC, 2008/1/EC and Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006.


The objective of this Directive is to establish a legal framework for environmentally safe geological storage of carbon dioxide in order to contribute to tackling climate change.

The Directive applies to the geological storage of CO2 within the territory of the Member States, in their exclusive economic zones and on their continental shelves.

This Directive does not apply to the geological storage of CO2 with a capacity of less than 100 kilo tonnes.

The storage of CO2 in a water column or in a storage site with a storage complex extending beyond the territory, in the exclusive economic zones or in the continental shelves of Member States is not permitted.

Selection and exploration of storage sites

A geological formation is selected as a storage site only if, under the proposed conditions of use, there is no significant risk of leakage and no significant environmental or health risks exist.

The suitability of a geological formation for use as a storage site is determined through a characterisation and assessment of the potential storage complex and surrounding area pursuant to the criteria specified in Annex I to this Directive. The characterisation of a site is carried out in three stages:

  • Step 1: data collection on the site (geology, hydrogeology, seismicity, etc.) and its surroundings (population, proximity to resources or protected sites, etc.);
  • Step 2: building computer models from the data collected in order to characterise the different aspects of the sites (geological structure, geomechanical and geochemical properties, available volume, etc.);
  • Step 3: characterisation of the storage dynamic behaviour, sensitivity characterisation and risk assessment.

The exploration required in order to obtain the information needed for selecting a storage site cannot be carried out without a permit. The permit is issued by the competent authority in each Member State for the period necessary to carry out the exploration of the site. However, an extension may be granted to complete the exploration concerned. The holder of an exploration permit has the sole right to explore the potential CO2 storage complex. Member States ensure that no conflicting uses of the complex are permitted during the period of validity of the permit.

Storage permits

No storage site may be used without a permit. Applications for storage permits must be sent to the competent authority of each Member State and must contain certain information on the operator, the characterisation of the storage site and storage complex and an assessment of the expected security of the storage, the total quantity of CO2 to be injected and the composition of CO2 streams, the preventative measures, a proposed monitoring plan, the corrective measures, a proposed provisional post-closure plan, proof of financial security, etc.

The competent authority must check that the requirements applicable to this Directive and other legislative provisions of EU law are met and that the management of the site is in the hands of a person who is technically competent and reliable. Member States must inform the Commission of all draft storage permits within one month after receipt. Within four months of receipt, the Commission may then issue a non-binding opinion on the draft permits within a period of six months. When taking its decision, the competent authority must consider this opinion and, if it deviates from it, must give reasons for its final decision to the Commission.

No substantial change may be made without a new or updated storage permit being issued pursuant to this Directive.

The competent authority reviews the situation and updates, or as a last resort, withdraws the storage permit:

  • in the case of leakages or significant irregularities;
  • in the case of non-compliance with permit conditions or risks of leakages or significant irregularities;
  • any failure by the operator to meet the permit conditions;
  • on the basis of the latest scientific findings and technological progress;
  • in any case, five years after issuing the permit and every 10 years thereafter.

Operation, closure and post-closure obligations

No waste or any other matter may be added to the CO2 stream with a view to disposing of it. Concentrations of incidental substances present in the stream must be below levels that could adversely affect the storage site and infrastructure or pose a risk to the environment. The operator must prove that the CO2 stream meets these criteria and keep a register of the CO2 streams delivered.

The operator must monitor the injection facilities, the storage complex and, where appropriate, the surrounding environment, in accordance with the monitoring plan approved by the competent authority. The monitoring serves to compare the actual and the modelled behaviour of CO2 and to detect significant irregularities, CO2 migration and CO2 leakages and the effects on the environment and the population. The monitoring plan is updated at least every 5 years.

At least once a year, the operator must communicate certain information to the competent authority, including the results of the monitoring of the storage site, the quantities and characteristics of the CO2 stream and proof of the maintenance of the financial security.

The competent authority must organise routine inspections (at least every year) or non-routine inspections (for example, in the case of leakages, in the case of significant irregularities, in the case of non-compliance with the permit conditions, or in the case of serious environmental or health complaints) of the storage sites. The report resulting from each inspection is forwarded to the operator and made publicly available.

In the case of leakages or significant irregularities, the operator must notify the competent authority immediately and take the necessary corrective measures, as described in the corrective measures plan approved by the competent authority. The competent authority may impose additional measures and, if the operator takes no action, take corrective measures itself, at the operator’s expense.

The site is closed if the conditions stated in the permit have been met, at the request of the operator or if the competent authority so decides after the withdrawal of the permit. After closure, the operator remains responsible for the site, including sealing the site and removing the injection facilities. The operator is also subject to the same obligations as during operation, in accordance with a provisional post-closure plan approved by the competent authority. Responsibility is then transferred to the competent authority when all available evidence indicates that the stored CO2 will be completely and permanently contained, a minimum period has elapsed, the financial obligations have been fulfilled, the site has been sealed and the injection facilities have been removed. After the transfer of responsibility, routine inspections cease and monitoring is reduced to a level which allows for detection of leakages or significant irregularities. If the permit has been withdrawn, the competent authority assumes the obligations mentioned above and recovers all the costs incurred from the former operator until the conditions for a definitive transfer of responsibility to the competent authority have been met (when all available evidence indicates that the stored CO2 will be completely and permanently contained).

Other provisions

Financial security or any other equivalent must be provided by the operator before submitting an application for a storage permit to ensure that the obligations relating to the operation, closure and post-closure of the storage site are met.

Member States must ensure that potential users are able to obtain fair, open access to CO2 transport networks and to CO2 storage sites. They must also put in place dispute settlement arrangements, cooperate with one another in cross-border situations, maintain a register of closed storage sites and forward it to the Commission and submit a report on the application of the Directive to the Commission, for the first time by 30 June 2011 and then every 3 years.


This Directive is part of the “energy and climate change” package launched by the Commission at the beginning of 2008.


Proposal Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 2009/31/EC



OJ L 140 of 5.6.2009

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 23 January 2008 entitled “20 20 by 2020 – Europe’s climate change opportunity” [COM(2008) 30 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
In January 2008, the Commission adopted a series of coherent, comprehensive measures to achieve the objectives set by the EU in spring 2007 for 2020 in respect of climate change and renewable energies.

2009 Employment in Europe Report

2009 Employment in Europe Report

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about 2009 Employment in Europe Report


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Social and employment situation in europe

2009 “Employment in Europe” Report

Document or Iniciative

Commission Report “Employment in Europe 2009” [Not published in the Official Journal].


The year 2009 has been marked by the international financial crisis, which hugely affected the labour markets, after many years of growth in employment in Europe.

Although European Union (EU) countries may have been affected in different ways, they have all experienced a decrease in job offers. The Commission observes that certain population groups are more affected by the job losses: lower-skilled young people, temporary workers and older workers.

Through the internal flexibility of companies (shorter working hours, temporary partial unemployment, etc.) and wage concessions by workers, certain countries were able to limit the job losses. However, in 2010, the unemployment rate was expected to reach 11% in the EU.

In this context, European policies have a particular role to play. They must help to preserve jobs, help people into employment and support the most vulnerable. In addition, the Lisbon Strategy cycle comes to an end in 2010, and the EU must also develop new policy priorities in order to prepare for the transition to a low-carbon “green” economy.

Analysis of labour markets

European labour markets are relatively dynamic, which indicates that job offers correspond to demand. In fact in all the EU countries, workers can change job (22% per year), return to work or leave unemployment with relative ease.

However, long-term unemployment persists for certain population groups; it continues for more than a year for 45% of people affected. The most vulnerable people are women, older and low-skilled workers. To tackle this type of unemployment, the Commission recommends recourse to appropriate employment policies, based on the principles of flexicurity.

Climate change and the development of labour markets

The EU must adopt policies aimed at developing a competitive low-carbon economy. This transition towards a green economy must have a positive impact on the labour market, specifically through:

  • the construction of new infrastructures;
  • the development of new technologies;
  • direct employment in the renewable energy sector (production, installation and maintenance);
  • the development of new service sectors.

Forecasts indicate that the sustainable development sector could create between 2.3 and 2.8 million jobs between now and 2020.

Initially, high-skilled workers will benefit from the jobs created. Education and training actions should then help to increase the general skills level in the labour markets.

The Commission also recommends the introduction of policies based on the principles of flexicurity, a respect for workers’ rights and an increase in social spending.

Finally, the Commission highlights the need to reinforce social dialogue and the assessment of labour markets.

European Union forest action plan

European Union forest action plan

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European Union forest action plan


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Agriculture > Environment

European Union forest action plan

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 15 June 2006 on an EU Forest Action Plan [COM(2006) 302 final – not published in the Official Journal].


Forests are an important sphere for the European Union (EU): they cover 37.8 % of European territory and provide a living for 3.4 million people (forestry and forest-based industries). Moreover, the EU is the second-largest producer of industrial round timber after the United States and produces approximately 80 % of the world’s cork. In the context of climate change, forests also play an important role – not only as regards trapping carbon, but also through the production of biomass *, and their potential in terms of renewable forms of energy. Lastly, forests are socially and culturally important: attractive to city dwellers, they provide opportunities for recreational and healthy activities and represent a not inconsiderable cultural heritage.

The European Commission has therefore set four main objectives to be implemented in order to optimise the sustainable management and multifunctional role of the EU’s forests:

  • improving long-term competitiveness;
  • improving and protecting the environment;
  • contributing to a better quality of life;
  • fostering communication and coordination in order to increase consistency and cooperation at various levels.

These objectives translate into a series of 18 key actions, which the European Commission and the Member States will implement jointly. The action plan also provides for additional measures, which the Member States can implement depending on their specific characteristics and their priorities, in some cases with the aid of existing Community instruments.

Improving long-term competitiveness

The competitiveness of forestry is essential. The sector has great potential to develop new products and services of high quality in response to growing demand as a source of renewable raw material. The Commission proposes five key actions for this objective:

  • Key action 1: The Commission will carry out a study on the effects of globalisation on the competitiveness of EU forestry in order to identify the main factors influencing developments in the EU forest sector and to underpin discussions on further action to be taken to enhance the competitiveness and economic viability of the sector;
  • Key action 2: Encourage research and technological development to enhance the competitiveness of the forest sector (including through the 7th Research Framework Programme);
  • Key action 3: Exchange and assess experiences on the valuation and marketing of non-wood forest goods and services: the aim is to quantify the total value of forests and their functions, in order to introduce instruments to compensate for non-marketed goods and services;
  • Key action 4: Promote the use of forest biomass for energy generation;
  • Key action 5: Foster cooperation between forest owners and enhance education and training in forestry.

Improving and protecting the environment

The overall objective is to maintain and appropriately enhance biodiversity, carbon sequestration, integrity, health and resilience of forest ecosystems at various geographical scales. In this regard, the Commission proposes the following key actions:

  • Key action 6: Facilitate EU Member States’ compliance with the obligations on climate change mitigation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol and encourage adaptation to the effects of climate change;
  • Key action 7: Contribute towards achieving the revised Community biodiversity objectives for 2010 and beyond;
  • Key action 8: Work towards a European Forest Monitoring System, following completion of the Forest Focus monitoring scheme;
  • Key action 9: Enhance the protection of EU forests.

In addition, Member States may – with the support of the EAFRD and the instrument Life+ – promote measures in favour of forests (Natura 2000), agri-forestry systems, support restoration of forests damaged by natural disasters and fire, support studies on the causes of forest fires, awareness-raising campaigns.

Contributing to a better quality of life

The Commission considers it important to preserve and support the cultural and social dimension of forests. To do so, it has identified the following key actions:

  • Key action 10: Encourage environmental education and information;
  • Key action 11: Maintain and enhance the protective functions of forests;
  • Key action 12: Explore the potential of urban and peri-urban forests.

In addition, Member States may – with support from the ERDF – enhance investment and sustainable management of forests for better prevention of natural disasters.

Fostering coordination and communication

While forest policy is a matter for the Member States, many initiatives with an impact on forest management are carried out at European level. This therefore requires improved coherence and cross-sectoral cooperation in order to balance economic, environmental and socio-cultural objectives at different organisational and institutional levels.

  • Key action 13: Strengthen the role of the Standing Forestry Committee *;
  • Key action 14: Strengthen coordination between policy areas in forest-related matters;
  • Key action 15: Apply the open method of coordination to national forest programmes;
  • Key action 16: Strengthen the EU profile in international forest-related processes;
  • Key action 17: Encourage the use of wood and other forest products from sustainably managed forests;
  • Key action 18: Improve information exchange and communication. Inter alia, the European Commission will develop a website devoted to forest management at the Europa Internet site.

In addition, the Member States are encouraged to organise visibility events, such as a “Forest Week” or “Forest Day”, to raise awareness of the benefits of sustainable forest management.

The Commission will carry out a mid-term evaluation of the action plan in 2009 and an overall evaluation in 2012.


In December 1998 the Council adopted a resolution on a forestry strategy for the European Union. The Commission then submitted a report on the implementation of this strategy over five years and proposed inter alia launching an EU action plan on sustainable forest management. In May 2005 the Council meeting on agriculture and fisheries asked the Commission to draw up that action plan.

Key terms of the act
  • Biomass: all the organic plant and animal products used for energy (or agronomic) purposes.
  • Standing Forestry Committee (SFC): set up in 1989, it represents the EU Member States’ forestry authorities. It has 27 members (designated by the governments of the Member States) and is chaired by the European Commission. Its role is threefold: consultation and management in respect of specific forestry measures, ad hoc consultation forum providing an expert opinion when forestry measures are being devised within the framework of various Community policies, a place for the exchange of information between the Member States and the Commission. The SFC will be the body for coordination between the Commission and the Member States to enable implementation of the action plan.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 10 March 2005 – Reporting on the implementation of the EU Forestry Strategy [COM(2005) 84 final – not published in the Official Journal].

Strategy to strengthen global governance of seas and oceans

Strategy to strengthen global governance of seas and oceans

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Strategy to strengthen global governance of seas and oceans


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Maritime Affairs And Fisheries > Maritime affairs

Strategy to strengthen global governance of seas and oceans

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 15 October 2009 – Developing the international dimension of the Integrated Maritime Policy of the European Union [COM(2009) 536 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


In this Communication, the Commission describes its strategy to strengthen its authority in multilateral and bilateral relations in the domain of maritime affairs. This strategy should allow the European Union (EU) to exercise greater influence over international debate on marine issues in order to safeguard its economic and social interests and increase protection of the environment. It should also contribute to sustainable maritime governance at global level.

This strategy covers a number of domains (for example the protection of marine biodiversity, climate change, maritime safety and security, working conditions on board ships and research into the marine environment) which necessitate international and integrated solutions.

European Union strategy

In order to improve global governance of seas and oceans, the EU must in particular:

  • strengthen its role as a global player through greater and more unified participation in multilateral fora;
  • promote membership of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) at global level;
  • establish high-level dialogues on maritime affairs with key partners, ensuring synergies with existing sectoral dialogues in other policy areas;
  • pursue dialogue on Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP) bilaterally through both European Neighbourhood Policy instruments and multilateral dialogue. Dialogue on IMP may be based on the frameworks put in place at sea-basin-level (e.g. Union for the Mediterranean, Northern Dimension, Black Sea Synergy). It can be supplemented by sharing best practices concerning the implementation of IMP instruments with countries neighbouring the EU and by encouraging these countries to use the instruments;
  • continue to work on moving oceans and coasts higher up the climate change agenda and provide assistance to developing coastal and island states in this field, in line with the EU development cooperation strategies and initiatives;
  • continue to support an integrated approach to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity, particularly in areas beyond national jurisdiction, including for the establishment of marine protected areas;
  • pursue its cooperation with the ILO to encourage decent working conditions in the maritime sector;
  • pursue its actions to ensure freedom, safety and security of navigation, including actions against piracy;
  • continue and strengthen cooperation in research activities with third countries in order to enhance participation in large-scale international research programmes and with countries neighbouring the EU in order to define common regional marine research strategies;
  • ensure coherence between the activities of various organisations, notably in the fisheries, environment and transport fields;
  • encourage the OECD to develop a structure for exchange of best practices on integrated approaches to maritime affairs;
  • develop strategies for all relevant shared sea basins.


The EU must pursue its efforts to improve dialogue with its neighbours, at both bilateral and regional level, including by concluding Regional Seas Conventions.

Regional approaches have already been launched for the Arctic, the Baltic, and the Mediterranean. The preparation of similar approaches for other sea basins is now of paramount importance. The EU can thus contribute to extending Integrated Maritime Policy at global level.

CO2 emission limits on new vehicles

CO2 emission limits on new vehicles

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about CO2 emission limits on new vehicles


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Air pollution

CO2 emission limits on new vehicles


Proposal of 19 December 2007 for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council setting emission performance standards for new passenger cars as part of the Community’s integrated approach to reduce CO2 emissions from light-duty vehicles.


This proposal fixes an average CO2 emission limit applicable to automotive manufacturers aimed at ensuring that average emissions of new passenger cars registered in the European Union (EU) do not exceed 130 g CO2/km from 2012 onwards.

This emission limit applies to new passenger cars (M1 category vehicles) from all manufacturers and is calculated as a function of their mass. The CO2 emission level is measured in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 715/2007 on the approval of vehicles in view of their pollutant emissions. The emission limit value does not apply to each vehicle individually but to the average of all vehicles built by a manufacturer registered in the EU in one calendar year.

Manufacturers may form a pool in order to meet their targets. Where two or more manufacturers form a pool, the pool will be treated as if it is one manufacturer for the purposes of determining its compliance with the targets. To avoid adversely affecting competition, the information exchanged within the context of such pools must be limited to CO2 emissions and related objectives, and the number of vehicles registered.

From 2010, the Member States will be obliged to collect data on the number of new passenger cars registered, the average CO2 emissions of these vehicles, and their average mass and footprint, along with a breakdown of these data per model of car. This information must be sent to the Commission as from 2011. Based on this information, the Commission will keep a register from 2011 onwards showing all these data plus the average CO2 emissions from the previous year. This register will be publicly available.

From 2012 onwards, manufacturers who do not meet their targets must pay an “excess emissions premium” calculated according to:

  • the positive number of grams per kilometre by which the manufacturer’s average specific emissions exceeded its specific emissions target,
  • the number of new passenger cars produced by that manufacturer and registered in that year,
  • the penalty amount for the year in question (20 for 2012, 35 for 2013, 60 for 2014 and 95 from 2015 onwards).

From 31 October 2011 onwards, the Commission shall publish a list indicating the performance for each manufacturer.

Derogations are allowed, for a maximum of five calendar years, for manufacturers who produce less than 10 000 cars per year and who are not connected to another manufacturer. Such manufacturers must propose a target consistent with their reduction potential, including the technological potential to reduce their specific emissions of CO2. The Commission will assess this proposal before deciding whether or not to grant a derogation.

In 2010, the Commission is to submit a report on the progress of the strategy to reduce CO2 emissions from light vehicles. It will also assess whether there has been a change in the mass of new passenger cars between 2006 and 2009 and, if applicable, amend the criteria for calculating emission limits.

From 1 January 2010, manufacturers must ensure that materials of the type referred to in Directive 1999/94/EC concerning consumer information relative to passenger cars indicate the extent to which the specific emissions of CO2 of the passenger car offered for sale differ from the specific emissions target for that passenger car.

With a view to simplification, the proposal intends to repeal Decision No 1753/2000/EC on monitoring emissions of CO2 from new passenger cars with effect from 1 January 2010.


The Commission’s aim is to reduce average emissions from new passenger cars in the EU to 120 g of CO2/km. This proposal should enable a reduction to 130 g of CO2/km and complementary measures yet to be adopted by the EU should deliver a further reduction of 10 g/km.

The Commission first adopted a Community Strategy to reduce CO2 emissions from cars in 1995. This strategy was based on three pillars: voluntary commitments from the car industry to cut emissions, improvements in consumer information and the promotion of fuel-efficient cars via fiscal measures.

In a Communication of February 2007, the Commission stated that the voluntary approach from car manufacturers was insufficient to meet the Community objective of average emissions from the new car fleet of 120 g of CO2/km and proposed a mandatory approach; this was endorsed by the European Parliament and the Council.

References And Procedure


Official Journal


COM(2007) 856 Codecision COD/2007/0297

Related Acts

Communication of 7 February 2007 from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament entitled: “Results of the review of the Community Strategy to reduce CO2 emissions from passenger cars and light-commercial vehicles” [COM(2007) 19 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Proposal of 5 July 2005 for a Council Directive on

passenger car-related taxes

[COM(2005) 261 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Towards a strategy for the Arctic

Towards a strategy for the Arctic

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Towards a strategy for the Arctic


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Industrialised countries

Towards a strategy for the Arctic

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council – The European Union and the arctic region [COM(2008) 763 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The European Union (EU) wishes to develop a new policy for the Arctic, in cooperation with the different States and territories of that region.

The EU is closely linked to the Arctic region because some Member States have territories there. In addition, some of the States in the region are members of the European Economic Area (EEA), and some are strategic partners of the EU (Canada, United States, Russia).

The priority objective of this policy must be to preserve the environment, whilst ensuring the sustainable use of resources.

Preserving the Arctic region

The fight against climate change represents a challenge of paramount importance for the future of the region. Appropriate strategies should allow ecosystems and human activities to be managed in a sustainable way, as well as international processes (the transport of pollutants, etc.). Crisis management should also be improved in view of the fragility of the environment, the low demographic density and the lack of existing infrastructure.

The Commission proposes, in particular, to:

  • assess the effectiveness of policies and international agreements on the environment;
  • maintain permanent dialogue with associations;
  • promote high environmental standards and coordinate the management of sea areas;
  • cooperate at international level as regards disaster management;
  • cooperate on energy efficiency and primary energy savings.

The living conditions of indigenous peoples and the local population may be particularly affected by climate change and globalisation. The Commission therefore proposes to:

  • engage the population in regular political dialogue;
  • support self-driven development and lifestyle protection;
  • protect marine mammals whilst authorising their regulated hunting for the subsistence needs of the population.

The Arctic region must be a priority area for research, but also for the monitoring and assessment of environmental processes. In this regard, the Commission proposes to:

  • better assess the melting of ice and its effects on ecosystems;
  • develop infrastructures;
  • coordinate activities at international level;
  • develop surveillance from space (GMES system), and create an Arctic component in the Global Earth Observing System of Systems.

Sustainable use of resources

There are untapped hydrocarbon reserves in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Arctic States. However, their exploitation is subject to risks due to climate conditions and the fragility of the environment. The EU possesses sustainable exploitation technologies, and the Commission proposes, in particular, to:

  • cooperate on exploitation and the sustainable transport of resources, particularly with Norway and Russia;
  • comply with strict environmental standards with a binding international dimension;
  • promote research and development;
  • create groups associating universities, research centres and enterprises, in order to foster innovation.

Fisheries may be modified by climate change. Some sea areas are not covered by an international conservation and sustainable exploitation regime. The Commission therefore proposes to regulate the Arctic high seas area and extend the mandate of the organisations managing marine resources.

Concerning transport, the melting of ice opens up new opportunities for navigation. Such waterways would allow energy savings to made, emissions to be reduced, and congestion in current channels to be alleviated. The Commission encourages the gradual introduction of commercial navigation in the Arctic, whilst complying with:

  • mandatory international navigation rules on maritime safety, the environment and labour legislation;
  • the prohibition of discrimination by Arctic States as regards merchant vessels from third countries;
  • competition law.

Furthermore, in view of developments in tourism in the Arctic, the Commission supports improvements in passenger safety, and respect for the environment and the local population.

International governance

The North Pole and the Arctic Ocean are subject to an international legal framework. This framework comprises mainly the provisions of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and general provisions on the exploitation of resources and protection of the environment. High seas areas are managed by the International Seabed Authority.

Countries participating in the Arctic Council and the Nordic Council cooperate at regional level. Similarly, the EU is applying the Northern Dimension policy to develop its cooperation with Norway, Iceland and Russia.

The EU wishes to uphold the development of a cooperative Arctic governance system at global level, by improving existing legal instruments. In this context, the Commission proposes to:

  • assess international agreements and maritime delimitation processes;
  • improve ecosystem management, and create a Marine Protected Area Network;
  • increase the EU’s contribution to the Arctic Council;
  • promote cross-border and regional cooperation;
  • apply the European strategy for the marine environment in the EEA and part of the Arctic Ocean.

This summary is provided for information purposes only. It does not aim to interpret or replace the reference document, which shall remain the only legally binding instrument.

Sixth Environment Action Programme

Sixth Environment Action Programme

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Sixth Environment Action Programme


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Agriculture > Environment

Sixth Environment Action Programme

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the Sixth Environment Action Programme of the European Community, “Environment 2010: Our future, Our choice” [COM (2001) 31 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The Sixth Environment Action Programme of the European Community entitled “Environment 2010: Our Future, Our Choice” covers the period from 22 July 2002 to 21 July 2012. The programme is based on the Fifth Environment Action Programme, which covered the period 1992-2000, and on the decision regarding its review.

A strategic approach

This Communication makes it clear that meeting the challenges of today’s environmental problems means looking beyond a strictly legislative approach and taking a strategic approach. This approach requires the use of a whole range of instruments and measures to influence the decisions made by business, consumers, policy actors and citizens.

The Communication proposes five main avenues for strategic action:

  • improving the implementation of existing legislation;
  • integrating environmental concerns into other policies;
  • working in partnership with business;
  • empowering citizens and changing their behaviour;
  • taking account of the environment in land-use planning and management.

Specific actions are proposed for each of these avenues.

To improve the implementation of the legislation, the following specific actions are outlined:

  • support for the IMPEL network and its extension to the candidate countries;
  • reporting on the implementation of environmental law;
  • a “name, shame and fame” strategy on the implementation of environmental law;
  • the improvement of standards for environmental inspection;
  • initiatives to combat environmental crimes;
  • pursuing action in the European Court to ensure implementation.

To integrate environmental concerns into other policies, the Communication proposes:

  • establishing additional integration mechanisms;
  • implementing the Treaty provisions on integration;
  • the further development of indicators to monitor the integration process.

Working in partnership with business could involve:

  • encouraging a wider uptake of the Community’s Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS);
  • encouraging companies to publish their performance and to comply with environmental requirements;
  • introducing company environmental performance reward schemes;
  • encouraging voluntary commitments;
  • establishing an integrated product policy;
  • promoting the use and evaluating the effectiveness of the eco-label scheme;
  • the promotion of green procurement;
  • the adoption of legislation on environmental liability.

To empower citizens and change behaviour, the following actions are suggested:

  • helping citizens to benchmark and to improve their environmental performance;
  • improving the quality of information on the environment.

To take account of the environment in land-use planning and management, the following actions are proposed:

  • publishing a communication on the importance of integrating the environment into land-use planning and management;
  • improving the implementation of the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive;
  • spreading best practice and fostering the exchange of experience on sustainable development, including urban development;
  • including sustainable development in Community regional policy;
  • boosting agri-environmental measures within the Common Agricultural Policy;
  • developing a partnership for the sustainable management of tourism.

The Sixth Environment Action Programme focuses on four priority areas for action: climate change; biodiversity; environment and health; and sustainable management of resources and wastes.

Climate change

The Sixth Environment Action Programme recognises the fact that climate change poses the main challenge for the next ten years. The objective in this area is to reduce greenhouse gases to a level that will not cause unnatural variations of the earth’s climate.

In the short term, the European Union’s aim is to achieve the objectives of the Kyoto Protocol, i.e. to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 8 % by 2008-2012 compared with 1990 levels. In the longer term, by 2020 it will be necessary to reduce these emissions by 20 to 40 % by means of an effective international agreement.

Community efforts to meet the challenges of climate change will be varied:

  • the integration of climate change objectives into various Community policies, in particular energy policy and transport policy;
  • the reduction of greenhouse gases by means of specific measures to improve energy efficiency, to make increased use of renewable energy sources, to promote agreements with industry and to make energy savings;
  • the establishment of an EU-wide emissions trading scheme;
  • improved research on climate change;
  • the improvement of the information provided to citizens on climate change;
  • a review of energy subsidies and their compatibility with climate change objectives;
  • preparing society for the impact of climate change.

Nature and biodiversity

The objective given in the Communication in this area is to protect and restore the structure and functioning of natural systems and halt the loss of biodiversity both in the European Union and on a global scale.

The actions proposed to achieve this objective are as follows:

  • the implementation of environmental legislation, in particular in the areas of water and air;
  • extension of the scope of the Seveso II Directive;
  • coordination of Community Member States’ actions in the case of accidents and natural disasters;
  • examination of the need to protect plants and animals from ionising radiation;
  • protection, conservation and restoration of landscapes;
  • protection and promotion of the sustainable development of forests;
  • establishment of a Community strategy for the protection of the soil;
  • the protection and restoration of marine habitats and the coast, and extension of the Natura 2000 network to include them;
  • reinforcement of controls on labelling, monitoring and traceability of GMOs;
  • the integration of nature conservation and biodiversity into commercial and development cooperation policies;
  • the creation of programmes for gathering information on nature conservation and biodiversity;
  • support for research in the field of nature conservation.

Environment and health

The objective described in the Communication in this field is to achieve a quality of the environment which does not give rise to significant impacts on, or risks to, human health.

The Communication proposes:

  • identifying the risks to human health, including that of children and the elderly, and setting standards accordingly;
  • introducing environment and health priorities into other policies and standards on water, air, waste and soil;
  • intensifying research on health and the environment;
  • developing a new system for the evaluation and the risk management of chemicals;
  • banning or limiting the use of the most hazardous pesticides and ensuring that best practice is applied;
  • ensuring the implementation of legislation on water;
  • ensuring the application of air quality standards and defining a strategy on air pollution;
  • adopting and implementing the Directive on Noise.

Management of natural resources and waste

The objective is to ensure that the consumption of renewable and non-renewable resources does not exceed the carrying capacity of the environment and to achieve a decoupling of resource use from economic growth through significantly improved resource efficiency and the reduction of waste. With regard to waste, the specific target is to reduce the quantity going to final disposal by 20 % by 2010 and 50 % by 2050.

The actions to be undertaken are as follows:

  • the development of a strategy for the sustainable management of resources by laying down priorities and reducing consumption;
  • the taxation of resource use;
  • the removal of subsidies that encourage the overuse of resources;
  • the integration of resource efficiency considerations into integrated product policy, eco-labelling schemes, environmental assessment schemes, etc.;
  • establishing a strategy for the recycling of waste;
  • the improvement of existing waste management schemes and investment in quantitative and qualitative prevention;
  • the integration of waste prevention into the integrated product policy and the Community strategy on chemicals.

Thematic strategies

The action programme envisages the adoption of seven thematic strategies covering air pollution, the marine environment, sustainable use of resources, prevention and recycling of waste, sustainable use of pesticides, soil protection and urban environment.

These strategies are based on a global approach, by theme, rather than on certain pollutants or types of economic activity, as has been the case in the past. They set long-term objectives, based on the assessment of environmental problems and on the search for a synergy between the various strategies and with the Lisbon strategy’s growth and employment objectives. They also provide an opportunity to simplify and clarify existing legislation.

The international context

The integration of environmental concerns into all aspects of the European Union’s external relations is one of the Sixth Environment Action Programme’s objectives. This objective takes account of the prospect of European Union enlargement and suggests there should be an extended dialogue with the administrations in the candidate countries on sustainable development, and the establishment of close cooperation with the NGOs and business in these countries. The application of international agreements on the environment is strongly encouraged.

A solid scientific basis

The Sixth Programme proposes a new approach to the development of environmental measures so that the parties concerned and the general public are more involved in their application. This approach includes a broad dialogue and the participation of industry, NGOs and the public authorities.

The programme will be increasingly based on scientific and economic analyses and on environmental indicators. For this purpose, the Commission will work in close cooperation with the European Environment Agency (EEA).


Decision No 1600/2002/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 July 2002 laying down the Sixth Community Environment Action Programme [Official Journal L 242, 10.9.2002].
This Decision establishes the Sixth Community Environment Action Programme. It lays down the objectives, timetables and priorities, the main avenues of the strategic approach and the four areas of action as described by the Communication on the Sixth Environmental Action Programme of the European Community, “Environment 2010: Our Future, Our Choice”. No more than four years after the adoption of this Decision, initiatives must be taken in each area of action.
During the fourth year of operation of the Programme and upon its completion, the Commission is to submit assessment reports to the European Parliament and the Council.