A more consistent and effective EU environmental legislation

EU environmental legislation has developed gradually over multiple decades. In some cases it is inconsistent or incoherent. In order to achieve a more consistent and effective implementation of EU environmental legislation the Make it Work project has been set up.

Need to improve the implementation of environmental legislation

One of the issues raised in the 7th Environment Action Programme (EAP) is the need to improve the implementation of environmental legislation. This action is needed in order to achieve the agreed policy goals.

Inconsistencies and incoherences in EU-environmental legislation

The current body of EU environmental law has come into being over an extended period of time. It covers many important challenges facing the environment in Europe today. Because it has gradually come into being, the body of legislation contains inconsistencies and incoherences. They do not necessarily interfere with the effectiveness of individual legislative acts, but they can lead to:

  • lack of clarity at the operational level;
  • unnecessary burdens in the implementation of EU policy.

Furthermore, inconsistency and incoherence hinders the development of integrated national policy, whereby the various parts of EU legislation are brought under one national policy framework.

Improving the consistency and coherence of EU environmental policy can contribute to better implementation of this legislation within the Member States. And thus to the attainment of the collective environmental EU objectives.

Make it Work project

The EU environmental acquis is an extensive collection of very diverse environmental rules. It is complex and sometimes inconsistent or incoherent. This can lead to lack of clarity at the operational level, to unnecessary burdens in its implementation and a failure to achieve the desired environmental outcomes. Make it Work brings together law and policy makers and practioners in the Member States. It uses their expertise to make concrete recommendations for simpler rules and more effective application of these rules. These are the so called Make it Work drafting principles.

Make it Work drafting principles aim at delivering environmental outcomes more efficiently and effectively. Without lowering existing environmental protection standards. The Make it Work Project is an initiative led by The Netherlands (Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment), the UK (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs), Sweden (Ministry of Environment and Energy) and the Czech Republic (Ministry of the Environment).

In 2015 drafting principles were published on compliance assurance (environmental inspections). In 2016 drafting principles were finalised on environmental reporting by Member States to the Commission and the European Environment Agency.
In 2017-2018 Make it Work aims to produce drafting principles describing how eco-innovations can best be facilitated under EU environmental legislation. Make it Work will for that reason look at concrete eco-innovation cases from practice. And will assess what issues authorities have encountered when applying and enforcing current EU environmental legislation.

Further information

Infographics explaining Make it Work and its products, Make it Work workshop and conference documents and Make it Work drafting principles can be found at the Make it Work web pages.

A short video on Make it Work is available on YouTube.