EU legislation must be flexible enough to be relevant and workable across all Member States; as a result, the legislation is not always very prescriptive, and implementation can be complex and challenging for authorities and stakeholders. To address these issues, the EU frequently adopts guidance documents. Guidance documents can be interpretive, and take the form of official communications or notices, as well as more practical, building on advice and proven approaches from different Member States. The preparation of guidance documents requires in-depth understanding of the legislation in question, as well as practical familiarity with different implementation approaches across the EU. Significant research is also required to identify and describe good practices, success factors, and lessons learned. EU-wide guidance must be comprehensive enough to be relevant across different Member States contexts, but also specific enough to be of actual use to the target audience. Milieu supports the European institutions to prepare guidance documents that aim at ensuring proper and better implementation of EU legislation. These can be formal support documents, as well as more interactive approaches using online tools.
Some examples are:
The EIA Directive has been a cornerstone of EU environmental policy since its initial adoption in 1985. The Directive requires assessment of the environmental impacts of all public and private projects that can be expected to impact the environment – this includes roads, railway lines, waste disposal infrastructure, urban development projects, flood-relief works and many others. Since 1985, the Directive has been amended three times, to cover transboundary provisions, public participation requirements and additional project types; in 2011 it was recast to codify the amendments and in 2014 it was amended again to further stipulate the roles and responsibilities of developers and authorities. The European Commission issued guidance on the Directive in 2001, consisting mainly of checklists to be taken into account during the preparation of the environmental impact statement and at other stages of the process. In 2017 the Commission decided it was time to update these guidance documents to reflect the evolution of both the legislation itself, as well as the practice of preparing EIAs. The guidance covers three key steps in the EIA process: Screening of projects to determine whether an EIA is required; Scoping to determine the data needs, main types of impacts and required level of detail; and the preparation of the EIA Report. The guidance documents combine assessment of the requirements and what has changed in recent years with more practical advice based on good practices from around the EU. They can be found at https://ec.europa.eu/environment/eia/eia-support.htm.
The overall objective of the project was to develop an interactive, engaging and innovative online ‘e-guide’ that provides workplaces of all sizes with information and support for OSH management in the context of an ageing workforce. The e-guide raised awareness and provided evidence-based information (at EU and national level) related to the ageing of the workforce, the ageing process and its implications at the workplace. Moreover, it stressed the benefits of prevention for all, throughout the whole working life and provides practical guidance, instruments, tools and examples for the target groups on how to deal with challenges and common concerns related to the ageing of the workforce.
The e-guide targeted employers, HR managers, OSH professionals and workers, and its content was tailored to the needs and characteristics of each of these groups. The English master version of the e-guide was launched in April 2016 by EU-OSHA as part of their wider 2016-17 campaign on ‘Healthy Workplaces for All Ages’. The full e-guide, containing 31 national-language versions is available at: http://eguides.osha.europa.eu/.
Cohesion Policy funds offer important opportunities for Member States and regions to support biodiversity and nature protection, and also to ensure that these issues are considered across different types of investments. There is, however, a tendency to use these important EU public investment funds for large-scale infrastructural investments, overlooking opportunities to work with nature to provide development solutions. To support authorities and stakeholders in better identifying, initiating and deploying investments in nature and green infrastructure, the European Commission DG Regional Policy commissioned a guidance document. The guide underscores the relevance of investments in nature, biodiversity and green infrastructure in the context of regional development policies as well as the potential contribution of those investments to policy objectives in other areas (i.e. multi-benefits), with special attention to socioeconomic development. It also provides competent authorities and stakeholders with recommendations to improve the delivery of co-funded programmes and projects in the aforementioned areas. It serves as a valuable tool for competent authorities willing to adopt an integrated approach to interventions under the 2014-2020 programming cycle, and thus to realise the full potential of Cohesion Policy investments in nature protection, biodiversity and green infrastructure.