What can the EU do?
The EU´s action in the field of Environment focuses on protecting Europe´s natural capital resources as well as encouraging individuals and industries to use resources more carefully. EU biodiversity policy is based on the Birds and Habitats Directives, which served as the basis for the development of the Natura 2000 network of protected sites.
Sustainability is also the guiding principle for EU policies in the fields of Fisheries and Agriculture. In the latter, the EU operates the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) which supports farmers by providing a range of price guarantees and direct payments.
As regards the EU´s responsibility for protecting consumers and Health, the EU defines high standards of quality and safety of food products accompanied by strict control mechanisms. The EU also focuses on health alerts and preventing diseases, mitigating sources of pollution for human health and harmonising national health strategies. In view of demographic change, the EU is also trying to ensure wellbeing and dignity of elderly people by making health and social care sytems more sustainable and efficient through cooperation with the Member States.
In all these policy areas, the EU is promoting and providing support for Research and Innovation in order to achieve its targets. Horizon 2020 , the EU Research and Innovation programme with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020) is the financial instrument implementing the EU initiative Innovation Union which addresses the main challenges of our time: energy, food security, climate change and our ageing population.