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European Commission Daily News 12th May

COLLEGE MEETING: Green Deal for Europe: the Commission aims for “zero pollution” in air, water and soil

The European Commission today adopted the EU action plan: “Towards zero pollution for air, water and soil” – a key objective of the European Green Deal and the main theme of the EU Week green this year. It sets out an integrated vision for 2050: a world where pollution is reduced to levels that are no longer harmful to human health and natural ecosystems, and the steps to get there. Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice President of the European Green Deal, said: “The Green Deal aims to build a healthy planet for all. To provide a toxic-free environment for everyone and the planet, we must act now. This plan will set out the steps to get there. New green technologies already present can help reduce pollution and provide new business opportunities. Europe’s efforts to rebuild a cleaner, fairer and more sustainable economy must also help achieve the zero pollution ambition. “Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius said:” Environmental pollution has negative effects on our health, in particular that of the most vulnerable and socially disadvantaged groups, and also constitutes one of the main drivers of biodiversity loss. The arguments for the EU to lead the global fight against pollution are now stronger than ever. With the “Zero Pollution” action plan, we will create a healthy living environment for Europeans, we will contribute to a resilient recovery and we will stimulate the transition to a clean, circular and climate neutral economy. The plan brings together all relevant EU policies to tackle and prevent pollution, with particular emphasis on the use of digital solutions to tackle pollution. A review of the relevant EU legislation is planned in order to identify remaining gaps and areas where better implementation is needed to meet these legal obligations. With the aim of guiding the EU towards the 2050 goal of a healthy planet for healthy people, the action plan sets key targets for 2030 to reduce pollution at source, compared to the current situation. The plan also describes a number of flagship initiatives and actions. More information can be found in the press release, the Q&A and the fact sheet.

Spring 2021 Economic Forecast: Rolling up sleeves

The Spring 2021 Economic Forecast projects that the EU economy will expand by 4.2% in 2021 and by 4.4% in 2022. The euro area economy is forecast to grow by 4.3% this year and 4.4% next year. This represents a significant upgrade of the growth outlook compared to the Winter 2021 Economic Forecast which the Commission presented in February. Growth rates will continue to vary across the EU, but all Member States should see their economies return to pre-crisis levels by the end of 2022. The rebound in Europe’s economy that began last summer stalled in the fourth quarter of 2020 and in the first quarter of 2021, as fresh public health measures were introduced to contain the rise in the number of COVID-19 cases. However, the EU and euro area economies are expected to rebound strongly as vaccination rates increase and restrictions are eased. This growth will be driven by private consumption, investment, and a rising demand for EU exports from a strengthening global economy. Public investment, as a proportion of GDP, is set to reach its highest level in more than a decade in 2022. This will be driven by the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), the key instrument at the heart of NextGenerationEU. A press release in all languages and the Spring 2021 Economic Forecast are available online. 

Read the European Commission Daily News in full here.

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