New EU environment programme to address challenges facing people and planet 


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  • Alignment with the EU Green Deal on climate and biodiversity 
  • Sustainability and environment objectives to be part of national plans under the European Semester  
  • Phasing out fossil fuel subsidies by 2025 and other environmentally harmful subsidies by 2027 

The eighth Environment Action Programme will guide European environmental policy until 2030 and must accelerate the EU’s transition to a green economy, Parliament agreed Thursday.

MEPs adopted their position for negotiations with member states on the “eighth General Union Environment Action Programme (EAP) to 2030” with 518 votes to 130 and 47 abstentions.

For the EU to become a climate-neutral, resource-efficient, clean and circular economy, Parliament calls for the eighth EU Environment Action Programme (EAP) to be aligned with the European Green Deal on climate, biodiversity and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). MEPs stress, that the EAP must be an ambitious high-level strategic tool to guide the EU’s environmental policy until 2030 and highlight the need to monitor and evaluate progress of the EU and member states towards the achievement of the priority objectives.

Priority objectives of the eighth EAP

MEPs support the six thematic priority objectives proposed by the Commission. These objectives are:

  • climate change mitigation;
  • adapting to climate change;
  • protecting and restoring terrestrial and marine biodiversity;
  • a nontoxic circular economy;
  • the zero pollution environment;
  • minimising pressure on the environment caused by production and consumption across all sectors.

Parliament says the objectives should be achieved by 2030 and wants the Commission to present indicators to monitor and track the progress by 31 December 2021.

Member states should integrate the SDGs as well as climate, environmental and social objectives in their national plans under the European Semester of economic governance, including in the National Recovery and Resilience Plans.

MEPs say that direct and indirect fossil fuel subsidies should be phased out at all levels by 2025 and that other environmentally harmful subsidies should be phased out by 2027. The Commission must assess which subsidies are harmful by December 2022.


The rapporteur Grace O’Sullivan (Greens, IRL) said: “As we find ourselves at the beginning of a crucial decade in tackling the ecological crisis impacting our lands and seas, this eighth EAP responds to fundamental challenges facing our people and planet with an ambitious framework that recognises the need for systemic change. By moving towards a well-being economy, we can ensure a just transition as we strive to reach our overarching goal to live well, within the planetary boundaries. I am confident that the eighth EAP, strengthened by robust monitoring mechanisms that hold decision-makers to account, can play a meaningful role from here until 2030.”

Next steps

Parliament is now ready to start negotiations with member states.


The EU Environment Action Programme has shaped the EU’s environment policy since the early 1970s. The seventh EAP expired at the end of 2020. The new and eight EAP shall be in place until 31 December 2030.