A table at the top of the page sets out the key technical legal information related to a particular policy measure.
Purpose of the measure
The purpose is not always easy to understand from the text and is therefore explained.
Summary of the measure
A summary of the legislation is given. Ease of comprehension has sometimes had to be sacrificed for completeness, where a passage proves to be contentious or particularly significant for the subsequent discussion. As any summary of legislation will not, by definition, be comprehensive, an internet link for the reader wishing to see the full text of the legislation is provided.
Development of the measure
The development of each item is described to the extent that this is possible. This has been done by reference to a number of sources, such as the following:
- The original proposal from the Commission, usually in the form of a document bearing a ‘COM’ number, for example (COM(89)544).
- The report of the relevant committee of the European Parliament.
- The debates in the European Parliament and its formal opinions.
- The opinion of the Environment Council.
- The recorded position of some of the key stakeholders.
Implementation of the measure
A summary of the state of implementation of a measure across the different Member States is provided. The following issues may be considered: formal compliance deadlines; the extent to which Member States have delivered on requirements; and trends within the sector that may indicate improvements, for example reducing emissions and key challenges encountered during implementation. The text is based largely on implementation reports produced by the Commission – where they exist. If there are numerous implementation issues arising from an implementation report, they are listed in a table organized by issue of relevance.
Enforcement and court cases
Any enforcement issues and court cases in the European Court of Justice (ECJ) related to the measure are described. This information offers insights both in relation to implementation of the measure (see above) and in interpretation of the measure. Only the key relevant ECJ judgments of importance to these two aspects are outlined.
When there are any relevant further developments taking place or likely to take place in the near future these are briefly outlined. Typical developments include upcoming reviews, and proposals to amend or replace the legislation. The section aims to provide the reader with an understanding of where the debate is going. It should be noted that this is an optional sub-section and for new measures may not be relevant.
In many cases, the measure in question relates to other environmental measures covered in the Manual and these are listed with a brief description of the nature of the relationship between them, as well as a link to the relevant sections of the Manual.
Supporting Policy sets out a number of general horizontal measures, which help to ensure effective and transparent environmental policy making and implementation such as the Directive on Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment as well as EU measures on environmental crime and public participation.
Funding Instruments describes the most relevant EU funding instruments for supporting environmental policy in Europe. Since environmental spending is ‘mainstreamed’ throughout the main EU funding instruments, this covers both funding instruments with dedicated resources for the environment as well as those which have wider application.
Sectoral Policies explores EU policy in a number of other sectors, which impact on the environment such as agriculture, fisheries and trade. Each Section introduces the main impacts and interaction between a particular policy area and EU environmental policy.
Forthcoming Policy contains two sections: A section on ‘Proposed Policy’ briefly summarises items of potential legislation formally proposed by the European Commission and awaiting adoption by the Council and Parliament. If adopted, these measures will be covered in more detail in the relevant sections of the Manual. ‘Anticipated Policy’ contains proposals not yet formally presented by the Commission but noted as being under development in, for example Environmental Action Programmes, the annual Programmes of the Commission, or in Declarations of the Council, or replies to questions in Parliament.
Index of EU Environmental Legislation
Individual items of existing or past EU environmental legislation contained in the Manual can be located by using the Index of EU Environmental Legislation.