Environment Action Programmes provide a general policy framework for the European Union’s environment policy in which the most important medium- and long-term goals are defined and set out in a basic strategy, if applicable, including concrete measures to be taken. Environment Action Programmes date back to a Conference of Heads of State and Government held in October 1972, where States agreed that a common Community environmental policy was essential and called on the Commission to develop an Environment Action Programme. The 1992 Treaty of Maastricht created a contractual basis for the adoption of Environment Action Programmes. When the Treaty of Lisbon entered into force, this contractual basis was set out in Article 192 (3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Under this provision, Environment Action Programmes are issued based on a proposal from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council in accordance with an ordinary legislative procedure, and are thus formal legislative acts.
The 7th Environment Action Programme (EAP) will be guiding European environment policy until 2020.
To realise this vision, priority objectives to be achieved by 2020 have been identified for nine areas.
Three are sectoral: 1) Natural capital; 2) Energetic resource efficiency (green and competitive low-carbon economy); 3) Environment and health. Four are horizontal measures: 4) Implementation; 5) Knowledge base; 6) Environmental externalities; 7) Coherence. And two have a spatial dimension: 8) Sustainable cities; 9) International environmental protection.
The programme entered into force in January 2014. It is now up to the EU institutions and the Member States to ensure it is implemented, and that priority objectives set out are met by 2020.
Ecolinfa is working of some of the areas and measures of the EAP. Particularly: Natural Capital, Sustainable cities and International environmental protection.