(02 November 2015) – One year since the entry into office of the current European Commission headed by Jean-Claude Juncker, environmental groups have criticised the EU executive for a paralysis in policymaking on issues related to the environment.
CEE Bankwatch Network, Climate Action Network Europe, European Environmental Bureau, Friends of the Earth Europe, Greenpeace, and the Health & Environment Alliance said that this had been “a lost year” for environmental protection.
The environmental organisations said: “The dieselgate scandal shows that a lax approach to environmental protection comes at a high cost to our health, the economy and the environment we depend on. The Commission’s first vice-president, Frans Timmermans, has sustainable development in his job title, but this has not manifested itself in concrete policy action. This has largely been a lost year for environmental protection. Without a radical change of course, the corporate capture of EU policy-making will lead to more scandals like dieselgate and more irreversible damage.”
The Commission claims that its 2016 work programme – released last week – responds to citizens’ concerns. For these words to be translated into action, there needs to be a significant shift in priorities in the new year towards sustainable development, with benefits for the environment, health, employment and prosperity, warned the environmental groups.