The report, which is published every five years, has exposed “serious gaps between the state of the environment and existing EU near – and long-term policy targets”. Brussels has been urged to rethink its entire environmental strategy in everything from chemical pollution targets, overfishing to a decline in animal species. The EEA report was published ahead of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s presentation of her plans for a so-called “Green Deal” for the Continent.
Hans Bruyninckx, director of the EEA, said: “Marginal efficiency gains are clearly not delivering. The goal should be a fundamental shift in the economy towards sustainability.
“We are hardly reaching any of our goals for 2020.”
The “European environment – state and outlook” report warned “Europe faces environmental challenges of unprecedented scale and urgency”.
“Although EU environmental and climate policies have delivered substantial benefits over recent decades, Europe faces persistent problems in areas such as bio diversity loss, resource use, climate change impacts and environmental risks to health and well-being,” it added.
According to the report, less than a quarter of observed species and habitats across the bloc are in good health, and the Continent is on track to miss its target of preventing bioviebsity loss by 2020.
Brussels failure to implement credible environmental controls is starting to wreak havoc on the food supplies.
The EEA warns rising temperatures will lead to permanent crop losses of up to 50 percent in the Mediterranean regions over the next decades.
The bloc has also failed to control waste production, which is on the rise, while the use of recycled materials has flatlined at around 12 percent.
Mr Bruyninckx said: “Not only are we producing more, but the facilities to keep up with the actual recycling and then doing things with materials have not kept up.”
The EU is making some progress on air pollution, with premature deaths due to “exposure to fine particulate matter” expected to drop from 418,000 in 2005 to 194,000 in 2020.
But the report warns: “Almost 20 percent of the EU’s urban population lives in areas with concentrations of air pollutants above at lease one EU air quality standard”.
In total, the EEA considers Brussels to be “largely not on track” to reach its goals in 17 out of 32 areas tested as part of its 2020 report.
Alexandr Vondra, a Czech MEP from the European Conservative and Reformist group, said: “It’s important that MEPs get their own house in order and end the monthly travelling circus to Strasbourg.”
“We need to lead the way and show that we are playing out part,” he added.
His ECR group have forced the EU Parliament’s environmental committee to launch an investigation into the institution’s own carbon footprint contributions, focused on the monthly Strasbourg sessions.