PRETTY GOOD, ACTUALLY. This week we celebrate more than just hope. We’re taking a rare moment to pop a (proverbial?) bottle to some seriously good news! Following the historic adoption of the Nature Restoration Law in February, this week Members of the EU Parliament sat through votes on a series of other key environmental laws. While some of this legislation was watered down, it was all voted through in (more or less) one piece, marking an undeniable win for Europeans and the natural world we inhabit! Here are the best bits:  

WE (IE)DID IT. The EU Parliament adopted the deal negotiated for the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED)! Conservative voices put the future of this key law in question by trying to introduce last-minute changes to relax rules on industrial livestock. Fortunately, most EU policymakers stayed true to the legislative process and calls from civil society and industry to uphold the deal. This decision comes just as a new study shows that emissions from livestock must peak by 2025—or risk blowing up the global 1.5°C Paris agreement goal. Member States must now give a green light to officially get the law over the line.  

HAPPIER SOIL. On Monday, the EU Parliament’s Environment Committee gave the green light to the Soil Monitoring Law. Though not legally binding and weak on sustainable soil management, the vote marks an important step towards putting our precious soils on a path to recovery. We hope that the plenary in April will maintain this spirit of compromise and ensure that Europe’s first Soil Law moves one step closer to becoming a reality!  

BUILDING PROGRESS. Despite efforts by a predictable group to tank it, Europe will soon have a revised building law. Buildings are behind over 40% of EU energy consumption, and this law sets us on the right track to minimise climate impact, cut down on bills and energy loss in drafty homes, and hopefully transition to a fairer and greener built environment. Much of the effectiveness will depend on Member States, but it’s a leap forward for sure!  

GREEN PRODUCTS? PROVE IT. If you’ve ever questioned labels like ‘carbon neutral’, ‘eco-friendly’ or ‘zero emissions’, you’re right to. But this week the EU Parliament clamped down on deceiving green marketing by approving new rules on ‘Green Claims’. So, what change can we expect to see? Stricter rules for companies to prove green claims, improved governance and transparency, and more voice to civil society and other stakeholders to influence future legislation!  

NO TIME TO WASTE. This week the EU Parliament voted on key revisions to the Waste Framework Directive regarding food and textiles. While this is a step forward for EU circular economy ambitions, the text approved is still too weak to address the extent of the current crisis. In the case of textiles, the proposal still lacks a real framework to support the countries that bear the brunt of Europe’s extreme overconsumption.   


DRIP…DRIP…DROP. Europe needs to be water resilient. On 12 March, the EU Commission had promised to publish its EU Water Resilience Initiative. With farmers the first to feel the effects of droughts and floods, this vital plan to properly manage and protect Europe’s water could not come sooner. And yet the EU Commission has decided to put it ‘on hold’. We and many others call for it to be back on the agenda before the EU elections!  

DIRTY WATER. On Monday, the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive (UWWTD) passed in the EU Parliament’s Environment Committee. Unfortunately, the text lacks ambition on many aspects. However, new provisions on micropollutant removal and implementation of the ‘Polluter Pays Principle’ are steps in the right direction. All eyes will be on MEPs to turn out to vote this vital legislative update through in the next plenary in April.   

PROTECT KEY RESOURCES. On 8 March, the consultation for the 30-year-old Nitrates Directive (ND) closed. The EEB’s position is simple and clear: nutrient pollution is bad for our environment, health and livelihoods. What’s more, it poses a serious threat to water security. Properly used, the ND is a key defence for Europe’s over-exploited water sources, and a vital ally in our fight against their continued pollution. It must be implemented and enforced at all costs.   


NEW PAPER, SAME NEWS. This week, the European Environment Agency (EEA) published its ‘European Climate Risk Assessment’. The first of its kind in scale and scope, this 400-page report pulls no punches and cements in painful detail what scientists have been yelling for decades: action is needed, and sharpish.   

WE’RE WATCHING EU, WAZOWSKI. While a series of major IPCC reports has been telling a similar (and increasingly predictable) story of the state of our climate globally, this is the first extensive academic contribution focusing just on Europe.   


  • 2023 was the hottest year ever🔥  
  • Europe is the world’s fastest-warming continent🫠  
  • Rapidly changing climate conditions pose existential threats to Europe’s terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems🆘  
  • Climate change is multiplying other risks including water and food insecurity, disruptions of critical infrastructure, and threats to financial markets and stability🥕  
  • Europe is currently not prepared for these growing risks, and faster and deeper emissions reductions are needed!🏃  

This picture is not rosy, but the good news is that it’s not really news. It simply confirms what many of us have been repeating ad nauseum for eons. But we’d rather be a broken record than have a broken—dead—planet. 


NOT ALL BAD. Despite some worrying shifts at national level and gloomy forecasts ahead of the EU elections in June, fresh data gives some pause for hope. Why? Because a large recent survey offers fresh indications of EU citizens’ intentions to vote for candidates that promise action on climate. Indeed, for all the noise and doom-mongering, expectations of a broad green backlash appear “largely overblown”. But we’ve all got to vote—so make sure you’re registered to #UseYourVote!  


FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD. This week the EEB was at the three-day Open Food Conference organised by the Belgian Presidency of the EU Council. Alongside hundreds of others representing diverse stakeholders, and with our Sec-Gen Patrick ten Brink speaking on the opening panel, our message was clear: the next EU Commission must make the transition to sustainable food systems an urgent priority.  

POWER TO THE PEOPLE. Ever heard of a European Citizens’ Initiative? If not, you’re not alone, but if you care about people power, it’s important! On ECI Day last week, we attended a major event to delve into this issue. Find out why this key instrument for EU democracy is under threat, its curious link to the welfare of animals, and what must be done about it. 


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APPLY NOW: We have several openings, so if YOU are looking for a great new opportunity, apply now! We are currently on the lookout for a Policy Assistant for Water and for a (Senior) Policy Officer for Mercury.  

Check out our website for more information about the roles and the application process. 

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