Parliament adopts EU environmental objectives until 2030

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This article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.

MEPs endorsed on Thursday the EU environment programme until 2030, which aims to accelerate the EU’s transition to a climate-neutral, clean, circular and wellbeing economy.

With 553 votes to 130 and 7 abstentions, Parliament confirmed an agreement reached with the Council in December 2021 on the eighth General Union Environment Action Programme (EAP) to guide the EU’s environmental policy to 2030 and align it with the European Green Deal.

Priority objectives of the eighth EAP

The six thematic priority objectives to be achieved by 2030 are:

Phasing out fossil fuel and other environmentally harmful subsidies

In order to strengthen positive incentives and gradually end environmentally harmful subsidies, the EU will set up a binding legislative framework to monitor and report on member states’ progress towards phasing out fossil fuel subsidies. It should also set a deadline to cut all public aid to these environmentally harmful sources of energy, aligned with the ambition of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

By 2023, the Commission shall present a methodology to identify other environmentally harmful subsidies with a view to reporting on member states’ progress towards phasing them out.

Improved governance mechanism

The Commission shall monitor, assess and report annually on the progress made by the EU and member states in meeting the priority objectives. The text foresees a new summary dashboard and indicators measuring progress ‘beyond GDP’, to guide policymaking. The assessment shall be public and both actions taken and planned future measures shall be discussed each year by the EU institutions. If a mid-term review of the progress (by 31 March 2024) determines that more needs to be done to reach the priority objectives by 2030, the Commission should table a legislative proposal with additional initiatives.

EU, national, regional and local authorities must also implement effective, dissuasive and proportionate penalties to reduce the risks of non-compliance with EU environmental law.


Grace O’Sullivan (Greens/EFA, IE), rapporteur, said: “The eighth EAP makes a “Wellbeing Economy” a priority objective for 2030. This is a first in EU law and marks an important step in moving away from the obsessive, unsustainable focus on GDP growth towards what this pandemic has shown us is the most important thing of all: the wellbeing of our people and planet. This is a positive example of the sort of systemic change required to reach our objective of living well, within the limits of our planet.”

Next steps

Once formally adopted by the Council, the legal text will be published in the EU’s Official Journal, entering into force 20 days later.


EU EAPs are legally binding frameworks that have guided the development of EU environment policy since the early 1970s. Following the expiry of the Seventh EAP at the end of 2020, the new one will run until 31 December 2030.

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