Environmental Governance

Our Work

The environmental governance team covers strategic questions and examines the mechanics and processes behind the formulation and implementation of environmental policies. Our work is spread across a wide, often cross-cutting, range of issues. Key tasks include monitoring current developments in EU environmental policy, including the role of the budget, assessing environmental policy integration and policy coherence, conducting impact assessment and policy evaluation studies, evaluating policy implementation and enforcement, and looking at the global dimension of European environmental policy.

At its founding in 1957, the then European Economic Community (EEC) did not have an environmental dimension. Today the EU has some of the most progressive environmental policies in the world. EU legislation has played a vital role in improving habitat and species protection and river management, and has contributed to dramatic improvements in air and water quality and waste management. Although significant challenges remain, it is widely acknowledged that EU policy has successfully reduced a number of pressures on the environment and stimulated investment in more sustainable economic growth.

The EU has developed a ‘tool box’ of policy instruments, approaches and strategies with which to pursue its environmental objectives. It has also adopted a number of cross-cutting strategies and approaches to policy making to provide the overarching context for environmental decision-making. These are seen to be increasingly significant to the environmental debate in Europe.

Over the years the EU has taken on a growing leadership role in the global context.

Latest in Environmental Governance

  • Towards sustainability: Future policies for European livestock

    The CAP is failing to reward adequately those livestock farmers who produce public goods. Brexit and CAP reform are opportunities to do better.

  • Looking beyond Paris

    The latest edition of IEEP's newsletter is now available. David Baldock argues that in the next six months the EU has a substantive role in contributing to agreement on an ambitious but credible set of SDGs and more stretching climate targets. Also: energy efficiency and security; bioeconomy; and circular economy.

  • Evidence before ideology

    The latest edition of IEEP's newsletter is now available. David Baldock argues that in 2015 solid evidence rather than political fashion will be required in scrutinising EU policy and economic performance. Also: fossil fuel subsidies; allocating fishing quota; and the launch of our new training programme.

  • Access IEEP’s definitive guide to European environmental policy

    The award-winning Manual of European Environmental Policy is now available on IEEP’s website. This archive provides free access to the definitive guide to the development of European environmental policy.

  • Getting delivery right: the EU 2030 climate and energy targets and the challenge of governance

    The EU’s commitment to GHG reductions of “at least” 40% by 2030 are a useful contribution to international climate negotiations. But does the package of energy targets offered by the European Council at the same time put us on the right track to long-term decarbonisation goals? IEEP’s Martin Nesbit offers a personal perspective on what needs to be done, and how the governance arrangements need to be tightened.

  • The Manual: Chapter 3 - Climate change

    This is a chapter of IEEP’s Manual of European Environmental Policy. This chapter on EU climate change policy outlines the initial EU programme to stabilise CO2 emissions in the EU with explanations of the directives, decisions and legislation that were employed to improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions.

  • The Manual: Front pages

    This is a chapter of IEEP’s Manual of European Environmental Policy. This chapter provides information on the authors, editors and editorial board involved in the Manual, as well as guidance on how to use it, and a brief outline of its content.

  • The Manual: Chapter 13 - Sectoral policies

    This is a chapter of IEEP’s Manual of European Environmental Policy. This chapter sets out the development of some of the most important links between EU environmental policy and other policy areas, such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries, transport, trade, and so on.

  • The EU’s 2030 climate and energy targets – a triumph of short-termism?

    European leaders have raised the stakes for the Paris talks by agreeing a set of climate and energy targets for 2030. The challenge will be to implement the tortuous detail on energy policy in a way which matches with longer term decarbonisation ambitions.

  • Environmental policy and the UK’s review of the EU Balance of Competences

    The UK Government’s Balance of Competences review has now taken evidence on 25 subject areas, including the 6 with the most relevance for the Environment. We take stock of the IEEP’s contributions, and consider what a possible UK renegotiation might mean for the environment.

  • Tracking climate related expenditure in the post-2013 EU budget

    This study led by IEEP in collaboration with ICF GHK and CPI, examines how the emerging approach to tracking climate related expenditure in the EU budget could be further elaborated and refined over the period of the 2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework.

  • How ‘green’ is the European Semester process?

    IEEP presented its recent study on Greening the European Semester at the Green New Deal working group of the Greens/EFA in the European Parliament.

  • Environmental policy in the European Semester: Assessing progress to date

    New IEEP study for the European Parliament finds limited mainstreaming of environmental issues in the European Semester process to date.

  • Evaluating international experiences with environmental tax reform

    Today, there is close to 25 years of experience with environmental tax reforms (ETR), with a growing number of countries engaging in ETR for various reasons. International experiences provide important insights on the design and implementation of ETR to facilitate more effective use of such instruments in the wider policy mix.

  • Does the EU benefit the UK environment?

    This report considers how environmental policy in the EU effects the UK and looks at some alternatives. Overall the impact within the environmental domain can be judged to be strongly positive to the UK. The action taken has been well balanced, with benefits for human health and welfare and the sustainability of the economy as well as the environment itself.

  • IEEP at the conference ‘Next MFF: incentives and safeguards for climate friendly investments’

    Axel Volkery, Head of the Environmental Governance Programme, presented the final results of the European Commission study ‘Optimal use of EU grants and financial instruments in the next Multiannual Financial Framework to achieve the climate objective’ at a high level conference organised in the European Parliament.

  • IEEP presentation on EU budget and green economy

    Axel Volkery, Head of the Environmental Governance Programme, gave a presentation on the role of the 2014-2020 EU Multi-annual Financial Framework to kick start the transition towards a green and low carbon economy at a public hearing in the European Economic and Social Committee.

  • A greener EU budget in the balance: the 2014-2020 MFF deal

    What are the implications of the EU budget deal for policies which shape the sustainability of European society? Many of them have been severely challenged or cut disproportionately. At the same time some important commitments have been made, like devoting 20 per cent of spending to climate activities.

  • Running out of time? Stepping up action for Europe's environment

    New report by IEEP launched at high-level conference in Brussels.

  • EU budget debate: Some one trillion euro questions and answers

    Keti Medarova-Bergstrom, Senior Policy Analyst at IEEP, and Pawel Swidlicki, Research Analyst at Open Europe, put their heads together to identify why and where EU budgetary spending has got it wrong in the past and propose how roughly one trillion euros can better serve Europe's environment, economy and people in the next funding period.

Related

Highlights

  • Evaluating international experiences with environmental tax reform

    Today, there is close to 25 years of experience with environmental tax reforms (ETR), with a growing number of countries engaging in ETR for various reasons. International experiences provide important insights on the design and implementation of ETR to facilitate more effective use of such instruments in the wider policy mix.

  • Does the EU benefit the UK environment?

    This report considers how environmental policy in the EU effects the UK and looks at some alternatives. Overall the impact within the environmental domain can be judged to be strongly positive to the UK. The action taken has been well balanced, with benefits for human health and welfare and the sustainability of the economy as well as the environment itself.

  • Mainstreaming climate in EU funds - the progress to date