The following document is T&E's response to the European Ombudsman's public consultation on transparency of legislative work within Council preparatory bodies (01/2/2017). It consists of the nine questions below.
An enforceable set of sustainable development requirements should be written into all free trade agreements that the EU concludes. That is the recommendation from a paper by T&E which draws on research conducted two years ago when discussions on the ‘TTIP’ EU-US trade deal were at their height.
Sustainable development has become one of the EU’s essential goals and is now a guiding principle for both its internal and external policies. As part of this ambition, the European Commission includes specific chapters on Trade and Sustainable Development in all free trade agreements (FTA) that it concludes with third country partners. Due to the controversy surrounding trade in recent years (for example, TTIP and CETA), the European Commission has started to recognise that there needs to be stronger coherence between trade and development policies. This paper looks at how the Trade and Sustainable Development chapters could play a crucial role in this.
The bodies that enforce the Aarhus Convention, which guarantees public access to information and justice in environmental matters, have ruled that the EU is not compliant with the convention and is showing a lack of respect for the rule of law on environmental justice.
The EU should make preferential access to the single market conditional on the UK agreeing to respect EU environmental standards and climate targets after Brexit, sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) has said. The UK government must not be allowed to engage in “environmental dumping” to give Britain an edge over its EU trade partners, the NGO’s report, Putting the Environment at the Heart of Brexit, has found.
The European Union and the United Kingdom are negotiating an agreement to ensure the UK’s orderly exit out of the Union and to agree on their future relationship. During the current Brexit negotiations, the European Commission has stated multiple times that its primary focus is on citizens and their rights and as negotiations proceed, the interests of business and market stability will be addressed. But where, then, does the environment feature? This report sets out the guiding principles for putting the environment at the heart of the Brexit talks.
The EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) determines how EU money is spent. The current €1 trillion budget runs from 2014 to 2020 with almost €100 billion earmarked for investment in the transport sector. The current MFF Regulation states that “the Commission should present a proposal for a new multiannual financial framework before 1 January 2018”. This budget would most likely start from 2021.
Transport is the largest source of EU emissions and accounts for around a quarter of EU GHG emissions. Meanwhile air pollution from road transport contributes to over 400.000 premature deaths per year, 26.000 people die in traffic annually and the EU economy loses €100 billion every year in congestion. A large portion of the EU’s budget is currently spent on expanding road infrastructure and building up fossil fuel infrastructure (e.g. LNG terminals). A future EU budget should invest tax payers money more carefully, and prioritize investment in infrastructure that reduces the environmental impact of transport and assists member states in reaching their climate goals. In this paper T&E outlines how part of the post-2020 budget should be allocated.
It is with a heavy heart that I write this last editorial for the T&E Bulletin, having led this wonderful organisation since 2004. The obvious question to ask now is ‘Have we made a difference?’