New EU environment programme to address challenges facing people and planet 

Press Releases 
 
 
  • Alignment with EU Green Deal on climate and biodiversity  
  • Sustainability and environment to be part of national plans under the European Semester  
  • New indicators for progress “beyond GDP” needed 

The EU environment programme until 2030 must accelerate the EU’s transition to a climate-neutral, resource-efficient clean and circular economy, the Environment Committee agreed on Tuesday.

The committee adopted its position on the “eight General Union Environment Action Programme (EAP) to 2030” with 60 votes to 13 and 3 abstentions.


MEPs stress that the eighth EAP should be an ambitious high-level strategic tool to guide the EU’s environmental policy to 2030, encompassing the actions and targets of the European Green Deal and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They underline the need to monitor and evaluate progress of the EU and member states towards the achievement of the priority objectives.


Priority objectives of the eight EAP


MEPs support the six thematic priority objectives proposed by the Commission and add they should be achieved by 2030.


The objectives are


  • climate change mitigation
  • adaptation to climate change
  • protecting and restoring terrestrial and marine biodiversity
  • a nontoxic circular economy
  • the zero pollution environment
  • minimising environmental pressures from production and consumption across all sectors

The Commission shall by 31 December 2021 present indicators to monitor and track progress and member states shall further integrate sustainability and environmental aspects within their national plans under the European Semester by developing indicators in that sense that goes “beyond GDP”.


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


Quote


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 eight 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 eight EAP, strengthened by robust monitoring mechanisms that hold decision-makers to account, can play a meaningful role from here until 2030.”


Next steps


Plenary is scheduled to vote on this report in the plenary session 5-8 July after which Parliament is ready to start negotiations with member states.


Background


Environment action programmes have guided the development of EU 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.