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Analysing and Developing Environmental Policies - Best Practice in Europe

Analysing and Developing Environmental Policies - Best Practice in Europe

Better regulation, lean governance and impact assessment are generally regarded as necessary for effective and cost-efficient administration and policy making. This applies in particular to environmental policies, which are often criticised as being overly bureaucratic, thereby hampering growth and endangering competitiveness. Against this background, the European Commission, DG Environment, has commissioned a project team lead by IVM and IEEP to organise a workshop for policy makers, academic experts and consultants, in order to examine how Member States conduct the transposition and implementation of EU environmental legislation. Ecologic contributes an analysis of national impact assessment systems in Germany and Austria, focusing on the implementation of three EU environmental Directives.

A number of initiatives by the Member States and the European Commission seek to simplify and streamline environmental legislation. The Commission in particular is pushing for improved analysis of policies through its commitment to Better Regulation, and the use of tools such as stakeholder consultation, market based instruments and impact assessment.

In EU environmental policy making, there is often flexibility as to the choice of policy instrument or level of ambition. One of the ways in which Member States can exploit flexibility is through detailed ex-ante analysis of different implementation options. The more effective policy assessment is at the Member State level, the more efficient implementation of European policy can be expected. In this way, negative impacts on competitiveness can be minimised.

Currently, however, there is considerable variability between Member States in the rigour of ex-ante policy assessment. This occurs both across policy fields (water, air, soil etc) and between different levels of government (cities, regions, country level). This is despite a number of efforts at the European level to promote better policy assessment (EIA, SEA, voluntary actions to promote urban planning, Water Framework Directive requirements for river basin planning etc).

Against this background, the European Commission, DG Environment, has commissioned a project team lead by IVM and IEEP to organise a policy exchange workshop bringing together environmental policy makers, better regulation experts, analysts (consultants or academics) experienced in environmental policy assessment. The aim is to examine how Member States analyse EU environmental legislation before transposition and implementation and how they analyse environmental problems that are in their own remit. The focus would therefore be on ex-ante policy assessment and not on implementation in practice. This would be done to identify best practice in ways of designing policies to be more cost-efficient, inter alia, by reducing gold plating and minimising burdens on business.
Ecologic contributes to the background paper that will support the workshop.

To this end, Ecologic analysed the national procedures for ex-ante policy assessments in Germany and Austria and summarised the state of discussion. In-depth case studies were conducted for the implementation of the National Emissions Ceilings (NEC) Directive, the Natura 2000 programme and the Packaging Waste Directive.

In the course of the project, a Workshop on "Analysing and Developing Environmental Policies - Best Practice in Europe" was held in Brussels on 15 November 2005. The written documentatin of this workshop is now available for download:

The undertaking is the second project under the Framework contract with the European Commission, DG Environment on economic analysis in the context of environmental policies and sustainable development.


Funding
European Commission, Directorate-General Environment (DG Environment)
Partner
VU University Amsterdam, Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), Netherlands
Partner
BIO Intelligence Service (BIO IS), France
Duration
May 2005 to December 2005
Project ID
1750-02
Keywords
Impact Assessment, Regulatory impact assessment, environmental impact assessment, strategic environmental assessment, RIA, IA, EIA, SEA, assessment, evaluation, ex-ante, ex-post, Europe