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2008 Environment policy review. Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament. COM (2009) 304 final, 24 June 2009

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ENV-2009-00333-00-00-EN-REV-00 EN 1 EN COMMISSION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES Brussels, 24.6.2009 COM(2009) 304 final COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE COUNCIL AND THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT 2008 Environment Policy Review {SEC(2009)842} EN 2 EN 2008 ENVIRONMENT POLICY REVIEW Introduction The EU faces growing challenges from fluctuating commodity, food and energy prices, increasing environmental pressures and an unprecedented economic crisis. These challenges underline the need and opportunities for Europe to move faster towards a resource-efficient, low-carbon economy. This last Environment Policy Review under the current Commission highlights the achievements made in 2008 that prepare for this change. It identifies major policy initiatives underway and the challenges that will require greater effort. New opportunities and challenges in 2008 and beyond Environment policy at top of policy agenda Environment policy has left the sidelines and is now one of the most important policy issues. 96% of Europeans say protecting the environment is important to them1 and they are very concerned about issues such as climate change and pollution. Environment policy considerations increasingly spill over into transport, energy, agricultural, cohesion, industrial and research and development policies. Energy policy aims, among others, to move us to a low-carbon economy. Issues of sustainable development underpin decisions on the use of structural funds. Agriculture policy increasingly promotes sustainable land and resource management. The “Health Check” of the Common Agricultural Policy2 in November 2008 proposed a further shift of EU funding towards rural development, away from direct payments. Member States are required to spend these Community funds to address among others the challenges of biodiversity and nature protection, renewable energy, waste and water management, clean transport and climate change. Yet man

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