The EU Environment Action Programme
ABOUT THE ISSUE
The current framework for EU environment policy is the 6th Environment Action Programme (EAP), which has guided the EU since 2002. The programme allowed the consolidation of EU environment policy in most areas, but a lot remains to be done with regards to the implementation of this legislation and integration with other policies, such as agriculture and fisheries, to ensure that they do not impact negatively on the environment.
The 6th environment action programme includes animal protection related objectives such as the need to replace animal experiments with alternatives, the promotion of sustainable farming and of sustainable consumption and production, and wildlife protection.
WHAT IS THE CURRENT SITUATION
The European Commission is drafting its proposals for the future EAP and carrying out an impact assessment (IA). As part of the IA a public consultation took place from 12 March to 1 June 2012.
The Parliament adopted a report on 20 April 2012, calling for better implementation of existing EU environmental legislation, integration of environment policy in all other EU policy areas and improved coherence among policies, as well as more attention to be given to the international dimension. The Parliament agrees that, when looking at sustainable production and consumption, animal welfare friendly methods of production have to be used. They also agree that there is a need to reduce the number of animals used for safety testing of chemicals and other products. The Council also supports the preparation of the future 7th EAP.
The Commission is planning to publish its proposals by the end of the year, then the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers will give their opinion and adopt the legislation.
WHAT ARE WE CALLING FOR
- The animal welfare objectives of the EU Sustainable Development Strategy to be integrated in the future Environment Action Programme
- The protection of animals to be integrated in all EU environment related policies.
- The implementation of EU environmental legislation and of international agreements at EU level needs to be improved.
- Biodiversity conservation and related animal welfare issues to be integrated in trade agreements.
- Tools to help implement priorities: an inspectorate and a mechanism to better control implementation; research to gather data; a civil society dialogue to better involve stakeholders; improved transparency and access to information.
- Priority areas for action to include an EU-wide strategy for the use of alternatives to animal testing, marine issues (including fishing methods and aquaculture), climate changes and environment protection to be an objective of the future EU research programme.
- Proposal for a new EU Environment Action Programme to 2020
- Results of the Public Consultation on the EU environment policy priorities for 2020