Environment Council configuration (ENV)

Council of the EU

The Environment Council is responsible for EU environment policy, including environmental protection, prudent use of resources and the protection of human health. It also deals with international environmental issues, especially in the area of climate change.

How does the Environment Council work?

The Environment Council is made up of ministers responsible for matters specifically relating to the environment. The European Commission is represented in meetings by both the Commissioner for the environment and the Commissioner for climate action.

There are about four Environment Council meetings a year.

About environment policy

In its role as a policy-maker, the Council is responsible for the adoption, together with the European Parliament, of ambitious environmental legislation that protects natural habitats, keeps air and water clean, ensures proper waste disposal, improves knowledge about toxic chemicals and helps businesses move towards a sustainable economy.

It also makes sure that environmental aspects are properly integrated into other EU policies, such as industry, agriculture, transport, energy and services.

At international level, the EU and its member states strive to ensure that the EU's environmental standards are reflected in international environmental and climate change agreements. In this regard, the Council is responsible for preparing EU positions for international conferences and climate change negotiations.

Priorities of the Environment Council during the Maltese presidency

The Environment Council agenda under the Maltese presidency will focus on initiatives under the framework of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. This includes advancing work on the proposal on the revision of the emission trading scheme (ETS) and also on sectors not covered by ETS such as the effort sharing regulation and the land use, land use change and forestry regulation. These tools will help to deliver on EU's commitments included in the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The presidency will also aim at advancing the negotiations on proposals included in the circular economy package.