EU Green Week 2018 took place from 21 till 25 May 2018 and explored ways in which the EU is helping cities to become better places to live and work. Through events across Europe, and a major policy conference in Brussels, the organisers showcased policy developments on air quality, noise, nature and biodiversity, waste and water management. It also promoted participatory approaches to urban development, networking schemes, and tools for sharing best practices, engaging local authorities and citizens.

Examples of tools that were presented during the event:

  1. Green City Tool is a self-assessment and benchmarking tool for cities, and a source of information and advice on how to make cities greener and more sustainable.
  2. Zero Waste Europe presented a new tool which can help cities springboard into a sustainable, circular economy.
  3. The European Environment Agency’s European Air Quality Index allows users to understand more about air quality where they live by displaying up-to-the-minute data for the air quality of individual countries, regions and cities.
  4. The Green Benefit Planner, presented by National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Province of Utrecht, the Netherlands is an innovative tool that through monetary assessment of the benefits of trees, parks and waterways, supports policy-makers, urban designers and planners in incorporating these benefits into plans and decisions.

In his concluding speech Commissioner Karmenu Vella highlighted the next steps to be taken by the EC to address pressing environmental challenges. Specifically, he mentioned the proposal for EU-wide rules announced on 28 May that aim to tackle single-use plastics such as bottles, coffee cups, etc. To reduce air pollution from traffic the EC will further strengthen its work with national, regional and local authorities on a common integrated approach for urban vehicle access regulations, under the EU Urban Agenda. The importance of sharing of knowledge and good practice in environmental policies was highlighted and the benefits of using TAIEX-EIR peer-to-peer tools for expert missions, study visits and workshops in areas such as air pollution, public procurement and waste management were mentioned. Finally, it was emphasized that in the European Commission’s proposal for the next programming period the budget for LIFE, has been substantially increased to €5.450 billion, and will continue to support many urban projects. “Every week should be a green week and every day should be a green day!” was the final message of Commissioner Karmenu Vella at EU Green Week 2018.

Next year EU Green Week starting on 13 May 2019 will be about putting the European green laws and policies into practice.

Interreg Europe Policy Learning Platform

Environment and Resource Efficiency

Thematic expert: Venelina Varbova