The assessment is critical of Bulgaria’s failure to push for ‘effective implementation of the Nature Directives’ as well as its controversial decision to approve the construction of a motorway through the protected European nature site Kresna Gorge.
Published today by the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), the assessment is based on the ‘Ten Green Tests’ laid out at the start of the Bulgarian Presidency.
The EEB is the largest network of environmental citizens’ organisations in Europe with more than 140 members in over 30 countries.
The assessment acknowledges Bulgaria’s efforts in the areas of energy, where new renewable and energy efficiency targets were agreed, and chemicals. The assessment also notes a positive outcome in relation to the circular economy, including support for a new EU Plastics Strategy.
Commenting on the assessment, EEB Secretary General Jeremy Wates said:
“The Presidency succeeded in bringing the negotiations on the energy efficiency and renewable energy files to a conclusion, even if the targets that were agreed fall short of what is needed for Europe to play its part in limiting global warming in accordance with the Paris climate agreement. Last week’s Council conclusions on the circular economy and on chemicals also represent a useful contribution towards a more sustainable, resource-efficient, healthy society.”
“On the other hand, the Bulgarian Presidency has been let down by its lack of commitment to nature protection or to ensuring sustainable fisheries. New evidence has emerged showing that the natural environment in Europe is degrading ever further. The Bulgarian Presidency needed to work hard to build support for full and effective implementation of the Nature Directives and it simply failed to do that. We are calling on the Austrian Presidency to scale up efforts in this area.”
Key finding of the assessment are:
Every six months at the rotation of the EU Presidency, the EEB publishes an assessment of the outgoing presidency and Ten Green Tests for the incoming presidency, prepared in cooperation with BirdLife Europe and Seas at Risk. The assessment distinguishes between effort and outcome, and also takes account of what is within the power of a Presidency to achieve.