• Brussels has published a report on European environmental policies that says “strong and weak points” in each country.
  • the report stresses that the incomes of environmental taxation in Spain are “among the lowest in the EU”.
  • the EU calls for more efforts in water, air and waste management.

 burning of agricultural residues in Almeria.

European Commission has asked Monday to Spain to increase ‘green’ taxes and reduce subsidies that hurt the environment so as to improve the management of water and waste, as part of the main “challenges” of the country in the implementation of the European environmental standards.

Brussels has published a report on the implementation in each Member State environmental European policies where he says “strong and weak points” in each country in categories such as air quality, waste management, the development of the circular economy, the quality of the water and the nature protection.

in the case of Spain, the EU Executive highlighted that the “main challenges” are increase environmental taxation and to reduce harmful subsidies to the environment, to improve the management of water (which includes complete urban wastewater treatment), improving waste management and develop the potential of the circular economy.

with regard to taxation, Brussels believes that there is a “range clear” to check the ‘green’ taxes, mainly in the transport and energy sectors, but also in the fields of pollution and use of resources . By way of example, the report notes that municipal taxes of circulation “does not always reflect the environmental performance of vehicles”.

in the same way, the EU Executive says that taxes on spills can be a support tool municipal waste treatment and proposes to revise policy on pricing of water and its approach, a “fundamental” issue for the improvement of the management of water in the country.

in this sense, the report underlines that the incomes of environmental taxation in Spain are “among the lowest in the EU” and says that a reform of the same “can play an important role in maintaining economic growth” to provide additional income “which replace the cuts in spending.”

subsidies to fossil fuels

with respect to subsidies to environmentally harmful activities, the European Commission says that their is another challenge “fundamental”, since Spain “still subsidizes fossil fuels, local coal, company cars, and the gasoloeo with respect to gasoline”.

“Spain does not have a comprehensive strategy to remove subsidies that are harmful to the environment, although its abandonment can offer economic, social and environmental benefits, allowing a greater competitiveness and contribute to budgetary consolidation “, underlines the study

as well, defends that develop a national strategy for phasing out these subsidies and aid “would be a positive for Spain criterion”.

opportunities for improvement and “points of excellence”

also highlights opportunities for Spain the European Commission to improve its environmental policies. In particular, seeks to use the potential of its “ natural capital of great value ” strengthen “eco-innovation” and the efficiency in the use of resources, disseminate best practices used in areas with water scarcity and promote reuse wastewater .

on the other hand, the study stresses other fields in which Spain is “leader” in the implementation of environmental policies that could serve as example for other EU partners. Within this Group emphasizes the “experience and performance” in the preparation and management of projects co-funded by the European LIFE.

also highlighted the implementation of the Spanish environmental authorities network the model urban sustainable cities such as Vitoria, the “meaningful use” of the Community system of environmental management and auditing and licensing the European eco-label and the portal of the Ministry of environment on evaluation of environmental impact and environmental assessment strategic plans and projects.

waste management and quality of water and air

as regards waste management, the report advocates to introduce a national tax on discharges or harmonize regional taxes, focus on improving the efficiency of selective waste collection to increase rates of recycling intensify cooperation between regions and complete regional waste management plans.

on the quality and management of water, Brussels urged Spain to continue to improve its policy in line with the logic of intervention of the European regulations, develop methods for assessing the State of the water and improve the extraction of water control, both surface and underground, among other actions.

Lastly, with respect to the quality of the air, Brussels encouraged to maintain the trend of air pollutants down oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and (NO2) nitrogen dioxide emissions, and cut the emission and concentration of PM10 .