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

  • Access to Nature Reduces Health Inequalities: An IEEP Briefing

    Improving access to nature can help address health and social challenges across Europe and reduce health inequalities.

  • European Policy Framework for SDGs

    The European Commission has launched a Communication on how to embed the SDGs in the European policy framework. Read IEEP’s thinking on the ways forward.

  • Beyond GDP Newsletter – March 2016 edition out now

    The March 2016 Beyond GDP newsletter sheds light on the creation of indicators for the Sustainable Development Goals and relates this process to the Europe 2020 and EU Sustainable Development Strategies.

  • The importance of tackling environmental crime

    IEEP supported the final conference of the EU EFFACE project, focusing on the importance of adopting improved measures to tackle environmental crime.

  • Protecting the interests of future generations

    Do future generations get a fair deal from the policy decisions we make now? A new IEEP report for the World Future Council launched today suggests not.

  • Beyond GDP Newsletter – August 2015 Edition Available Now

    This edition of the Beyond GDP Newsletter explores the Social Progress Index and discusses approaches to using social indicators in the context of EU economic governance.

  • 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 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • Commissioner Potočnik opens IEEP conference in Brussels

    IEEP organised a high-level conference on ‘Stepping up action for Europe’s environment’ on 4 December. The conference brought together a number of prominent speakers and participants from policy, business, academia and NGOs to reflect on the challenges and opportunities currently facing the EU and key priorities for the future.

  • 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.

  • Exploring key priorities and actions for the 7th EAP

    This policy paper examines how the forthcoming 7EAP can contribute to protecting natural systems and improving the way in which we use natural resources. It also examines a number of cross-cutting actions needed to support the priorities of the 7EAP and ensure better delivery of EU environment policy.

  • The future of EU environmental policy: challenges & opportunities

    IEEP has produced a special report for the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPEG) on ‘The future of EU environmental policy: challenges and opportunities’. The report provides a brief review of key environmental challenges facing the EU, the main policy and strategic discussions currently underway and assesses some of the prospects and challenges for the future.

  • IEEP report launched in the House of Commons

    A new IEEP report on ‘The future of EU environmental policy: challenges and opportunities’ is launched on 24 January.

  • Towards a 7th Environment Action Programme: potential options and priorities

    As a contribution to the on-going discussion on the future strategic framework of EU environmental policy, IEEP has produced a policy paper on the options and priorities for a 7th Environment Action Programme (7EAP).