Laura Burke, head of Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took up her position as Chair of the EEA Management Board today, succeeding Elisabeth Freytag-Rigler at the end of her three-year term.
The incoming Chair, Ms. Burke has been Director General of Ireland’s EPA since 2011. Hans Bruyninckx, Executive Director of the EEA and outgoing Chair, Ms. Freytag-Rigler welcomed Ms. Burke to her new position which she will hold while remaining Director General of the Irish EPA.
“Elisabeth has been a strong supporter of the EEA and we are grateful for her work over the years and her commitment to sustainable development. We have benefitted greatly from her expertise. At the same time, I welcome our new Chair, Laura, who has a chemical engineering background and who brings with her extensive experience in the environmental field which will add value to our Agency’s work in the years ahead,” said Hans Bruyninckx.
Ms. Freytag-Rigler has served as a Board member since March 2007 and has also served as a Vice-Chair prior to being elected Chair. She is also Director for EU coordination in the Austrian Federal Ministry for Agriculture and Forestry, Environment and Water Management.
“I am proud of the Agency’s work in improving Europe’s environment over my 10-year membership of the Board which continues to play an important and active role in setting the EEA’s priorities. I will continue to follow the Agency’s work closely,” said Elisabeth Freytag-Rigler.
Ms Burke has been involved with the EEA’s work since 2012, when she was appointed as an alternate member of the Management Board for Ireland. She was elected as a Vice-Chair in December last year.
“It is an honour to be elected chair of the EEA’s Management Board and I look forward to my new role. Our biggest task going forward is to make sure that European citizens understand the vital role the environment plays in our everyday lives. Especially in wake of the challenges we face like climate change or air pollution, “said Laura Burke.
The 37-member Management Board plays an important function. It represents all EEA member countries, plus the European Commission and European Parliament and is the decision-making body of the EEA. The Board approves the annual and multiannual work programmes, annual reports and the Agency’s budget. It also appoints the Executive Director.
Ms. Burke was elected as the new Chair at the Management Board’s June meeting.