Sustainable development was on the agenda but virtually absent from a long-awaited declaration during Romania’s six-month Presidency of the EU, which ended this week. Citizens’ groups have described a ‘mixed picture’ for Europe’s environment during the country’s first-ever EU Presidency.
An assessment published today by the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) provides a detailed analysis of the Romanian Presidency’s performance on environmental issues.
The EEB is Europe’s largest network of citizens’ environmental organisations with more than 150 members in over 30 countries.
Every six months, the EEB publishes an assessment of the outgoing presidency and Ten Green Tests for the incoming presidency. The assessment of the Romanian Presidency was prepared in cooperation with Seas at Risk. It distinguishes between effort and outcome, and also takes account of what is within the power of a presidency to achieve.
EEB Secretary General Jeremy Wates said:
“During the Romanian Presidency progress was made on crucial environmental issues like water quality and chemicals policy. However, much work remains to be done and important opportunities were missed on agriculture and circular economy.”
Some key findings of the assessment are:
The Romanian government made efforts to place sustainable development on the agenda by hosting a high-level conference on the 2030 Agenda in April. However, just a month later, the long-awaited Sibiu Declaration virtually ignored sustainability and treated the environment as an afterthought.
Following the European election, the environment was given more prominence in the Strategic Agenda for 2019-2024 but failed to place this within an overarching sustainable development framework – raising concerns about its coherence.
Romania was congratulated for its work on water and chemicals, and the achievement of positive and helpful Council conclusions in June.
However, outcomes on agriculture and circular economy were unsatisfactory and opportunities for progress were missed.
You can read the detailed results on all Ten Green Tests across a range of policy areas in the full assessment.