How European Environmental Authorities Engage in Influencing European Environmental Policy
Ecologic Institute produced case studies on environmental authorities in Germany and Austria. Information was collected on: size; geographical coverage; responsibilities; and constitutional set-up, e.g.independence from other administrative bodies. The objective was to assess the organisations’ involvement in influencing European activities, their efficiency, restrictions to and preconditions for influencing European environmental policy.
The Environment Agency of England and Wales is a competent authority for implementing many items of EU legislation. For this reason, the Agency is sometimes involved in discussions in the preparation of new EU environmental policy measures. Against this background, the Agency is considering how it might develop its ability to influence EU policy affecting the environment. It is considering moving from a relatively reactive mode of operation in this regard to something more strategic, proactive and programmed. To this end, the Agency is seeking to have a better understanding of how similar environmental authorities in other EU countries have approached this topic, and how effective they have been.
In order to gain such an understanding, the Agency commissioned IEEP which itself commissioned Ecologic to undertake a series of case studies of environmental authorities in selected EU countries to identify how each influences the development of European environmental policy. For each of these authorities, the following information was collected:
- brief details of the organisation’s size, geographical coverage and main responsibilities.
- brief details of the organisation’s constitutional set-up – eg Are they an authority set up by law to be independent from the Government, like the Agency? Are they part of a Government department? Or are they something else? What are their statutory responsibilities?
- details of the organisation’s involvement in European influencing activities – eg What areas do they get involved in, how are the topics for influencing selected, how do they operate, where have they been effective/ineffective and why? Are there any restrictions on how they can arrange their influencing activities?
- information on how the organisation has structured itself to undertake European influencing work – eg Have they established a specific unit to coordinate EU policy work (and if so, of what size)?
The environmental authorities to be analysed are as follows:
- Danish Environmental Protection Agency;
- German Environment Agency;
- Spanish Ministry of the Environment;
- French Water Agencies;
- Dutch Ministry of the Environment;
- Austrian Environment Agency;
- Finnish Environment Institute; and
- Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.