MEPs approve EU environmental accounting plans

The EU is a step closer to a harmonised framework for environmental accounting, after MEPs expanded plans to supplement economic measurements such as gross domestic product this week.

Under a current ‘gentleman’s agreement', member states supply EU statistics body Eurostat with regular information on emissions to air, material flows, environmental taxation and expenditure on environmental protection.

The European Commission proposed putting the system on a statutory footing in a policy paper published a year ago. This should improve both the monitoring of EU policies’ impacts and how economic activity affects the environment by making the data more consistent and reliable. Green groups reacted coolly to the proposal, which should enter force in 2012.

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