On 5 April, the European Commission published its second Environmental Implementation Review (EIR). This follows up on the initiative launched in 2016, and the first EIR published in February 2017, with the aim of helping the Member States better apply EU environment rules.
The Review outlines the state of play in environmental policies and rules and their implementation in each Member State, as well as identifying causes for implementation gaps.

The EIR package includes 28 country reports and factsheets, a Commission Communication with conclusions and common trends at EU level and recommendations for improvements to Member States (and annex), and a Policy Background Staff Working Document (SWD).

On waste, the EIR found that overall, the policy framework for the circular economy has been strengthened. The Commission’s Communication welcomes the progress made in meeting EU requirements on waste management, particularly the increase of recycling rates to 46.4% in 2017 (from 43.7% in 2014) and the fall in volume of landfilled municipal waste by 20.6% between 2013 and 2017. Nevertheless, waste prevention remains a challenge for all Member States. Six Member States are found as producing at least twice as much municipal waste per inhabitant than the Member State with the lowest waste generation. Overall, the average generation of municipal waste has also increased since 2014 (only 9 Member States reduced their waste generation between 2014 and 2016).

On waste management, 9 Member States are on track and 5 Member States have already reached the recycling targets. However, as identified by the implementation report published in September 2018, 14 Member States are at risk of missing the 2020 municipal waste recycling target. According to the Communication, there is room to introduce/improve policies, including economic instruments, such as EPR, to strengthen the implementation if the waste hierarchy and to make reuse and recycling more economical. The documents also stresses the need to improve the effectiveness of separate waste collection in many Member States, and to implement new measures to shift away from incineration and landfilling in nearly all Member States. It lists Slovenia (a comprehensive strategy on circularity), Denmark (cooperation along value chains and innovation) and France (ambitious roadmap for circular economy, target of 100% plastic recycling by 2025) as successful cases.

For more information, please see the EIR website here.