One of the things the EU does best is coordinating policies that do not respect national boundaries. A report released March 3 by the EU’s European Environment Agency says that over the past five years, EU citizens have benefited from cleaner air and water, sent less waste to landfills, and recycled more, thanks to a coordinated EU environment policy.
However, the report warns that the EU still faces risks of environmental deterioration in the next five years and beyond that could negatively impact Europeans’ quality of life.
The European Environment—State and Outlook 2015 Report, prepared by the European Environment Agency, presents an integrated assessment of Europe’s environment that includes data at global, regional, and Member State levels, as well as cross-country comparisons. The report also makes clear that pursuing environmental protection is a solid economic investment—between 2000 and 2011, green industries grew by more than 50 percent in the EU, making them one of the few sectors to have consistently flourished despite the crisis.
“I see the State of the Environment Report 2015 as the ‘starting line’ of my mandate,” said Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs, and Fisheries. “The report clearly shows that EU environmental policies are delivering benefits….[and] also delivering jobs. The rapid growth of the green economy even during the worst years of the recession bodes well for Europe’s competitiveness,” he said.