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Europe's environmental future demands more action in key sectors

Press Release Published 11 Sep 2005 Last modified 13 Apr 2011, 09:55 PM
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Policy makers must better integrate environmental issues across EU policies


Copenhagen, 11 September 2005

Europe's environmental future demands more action in key sectors

Policy makers must better integrate environmental issues across EU policies

Existing policies alone will not be enough to save Europe's environment from extensive environmental change in the long term, according to a new report released today by the European Environment Agency in Copenhagen.

'The European Environment Outlook' report shows that, despite successes in some areas, the EU continues to face significant environmental challenges in terms of meeting its long term environmental commitments.

In particular, targets in respect of greenhouse gas emissions, climate change and the use of alternative sources of energy for electricity generation, heat and transport are in danger of being missed.

"Our environment is a complex system. The changes we will experience are also complex with many contributory factors. Climate change is the most obvious dramatic change but increased tourism and, urbanisation are also pressures that our environment has to deal with. However, we must also consider demographics. An ageing more wealthy society with changing consumption habits will continue to make a huge impact on our future environment," says Professor Jacqueline McGlade, executive director of the EEA.

For many environmental problems, legislation has successfully addressed the 'big polluters', but new concerns are likely to arise from individual consumption and diffuse sources of pollution associated with agriculture.

"Successful responses require policy-makers to continue to shift to more integrated approaches that provide a coherent response across key sectors. That means that policy makers in transport and agriculture, for example, must consider the combined environmental implications of their policies," says Professor Jacqueline McGlade.

According to the report the EU seems to be on track to meet the targets set for a number of other issues, particularly for air pollution and nutrient emissions. Positive developments are also expected in other areas, for example a reduction in agricultural nutrient surpluses, and a relative decoupling of transport demand from economic growth.

Background information

The European Environment Outlook report assesses the environmental consequences of key socio-economic developments in Europe, particularly with regard to climate change, air quality, water stress and water quality. The projected developments in the report are discussed in the light of Europe's current policy targets as adopted in the European Union's Sustainable Development Strategy and the Sixth Environment Action Programme.

Web Links

Link to the European Environment Outlook report:

For comprehensive background information on the report please visit the 'Environmental Scenarios - Information Web Portal':

To read the EU's Sustainable Development Strategy go to:

To read the EU's Sixth Environment Action Programme go to:

About the EEA

The European Environment Agency is the leading public body in Europe dedicated to providing sound, independent information on the environment to policy-makers and the public. Operational in Copenhagen since 1994, the EEA is the hub of the European environment information and observation network (Eionet), a network of around 300 bodies across Europe through which it collects and disseminates environment-related data and information. An EU body, the Agency is open to all nations that share its objectives. It currently has 31 member countries: the 25 EU Member States, three EU candidate countries -- Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey -- and Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. A membership agreement has been initialled with Switzerland. The West Balkan states -- Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Serbia and Montenegro -- have applied for membership of the Agency.

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