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

  • How well has EU Cohesion Policy supported energy efficiency in buildings?

    IEEP, with Danish consultancy Ramboll, has evaluated the contributions of the 2007-2013 Cohesion Policy programmes to energy efficiency in public and residential buildings.

  • Tracking biodiversity expenditure in the EU budget

    The European Commission is in the process of developing a methodology to track biodiversity related expenditure in the EU budget. This effort is similar to the parallel process for tracking ...

  • 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.

  • 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 12 - Funding instruments

    This is a chapter of IEEP’s Manual of European Environmental Policy. This chapter sets out the EU's main funding instruments that have environmental implications, including the European Agriculture funds, the European Fisheries Fund and the Structural and Cohesion funds.

  • Whither the new Commission?

    IEEP’s David Baldock gives his take on the new Commission in the latest edition of our newsletter. Read about how IEEP is raising ambition for the next EU climate and energy package, plus: priorities and policy options for a circular economy, payments for farmland biodiversity achievements, biodiversity proofing EU spending, and more.

  • Guidelines for biodiversity proofing the EU budget

    This report provides a practical framework to ensure that spending under the EU budget has no negative impacts on biodiversity, and that spending under the EU budget is overall supportive to achieving the biodiversity targets.

  • 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.

  • Financing Europe 2020: What is required?

    This IEEP – CEPS study provides an assessment of the investment required to achieve the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy and assesses the relative importance of local and regional budgets in financing sectors such as energy, transport and research. Europe 2020, the EU’s core economic strategy, will succeed only if large scale resources can be deployed. Where will they come from?

  • 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.

  • Execution of EU budgets

    IEEP has authored a study for the Temporary Commission on the EU budget of the Committee of the Regions. The study analyses the execution of the EU budgets from 2007 onwards.

  • Execution of EU budgets - Presentation to the Committee of the Regions

    IEEP’s Axel Volkery presented a report on execution of annual EU budgets to the Committee of the Regions Ad-hoc Commission on the EU Budget, highlighting needs and implications for local and regional authorities.

  • 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.

  • Press release - Mixed news for the EU’s environment from the MFF deal

    8 February - 'There is mixed news for the EU’s environment and the green economy from today’s MFF deal’ says David Baldock, Director of IEEP.

  • Greener or greyer: what's next for the future EU budget?

    This Policy Brief analyses the outcomes of the Special Summit on the future EU budget, which took place on 22-23 November 2012.

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

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

  • Increasing regional prosperity by investing in nature: Guidance to mainstream biodiversity

    Investment in natural capital through the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems has a lot to offer for regional development. A new publication authored by IEEP provides guidance on integrating biodiversity into EU Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in 2014-2020.

  • 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.

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