In purely political terms, 2013 was due to have focused on the 7th Environmental Action Programme (EAP), which sets the main lines of the EU's environmental policy looking ahead to 2020 and on a new strategy for air quality. But, although it declared 2013 to be the Year of Air Quality, the European Commission will not be tabling any proposal before the autumn. The Irish Presidency will therefore leave this debate to one side, but will be able to focus its efforts on pushing ahead as far as possible with the file on the 7th EAP and a few more technical regulatory initiatives.

However, it will be able to make an input during informal consultations, which the Commission is organising before drafting proposals on the new air quality strategy. The traditional Green Week, organised by the Commission's Directorate-General for the Environment (4-7 June) will be devoted to this subject and should allow a final public debate on it after the public consultation launched on 11 December 2012 closes on 27 February.

So Dublin will be able to focus its efforts on the 7th EAP, which should be a vademecum' of the EU's environmental policy looking ahead to 2020. After the first very general warm-up lap organised by the Cyprus EU Presidency, on...

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