INROADS FOR THE FAR RIGHT. Last week, millions of Europeans went to the polls to exercise our democratic right to vote in the EU elections. Following a campaign characterised by disinformation and fear underlined by anti-environment and anti-immigration sentiment, Europe’s far-right made significant gains in Europe’s biggest countries—France, Germany and Italy.  

PLOT TWIST. The last 72 hours in French politics have been described as the “wildest” of a lifetime. It all started with President Macron dissolving the National Assembly. Meanwhile, the left “got their shit together” and created the “Popular Front.” On the right, the President of Les Républicains initially announced support for an alliance with Le Pen, which led to the party imploding and his apparent dismissal. The drama continued further right as Marion Maréchal, the granddaughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen who joined Zemmour, announced on TV that she wanted to ally with Le Pen—prompting Zemmour to call it “the world record of betrayals.”  

NO SUGAR-COATING. Despite the drama unfolding in France, the rise of authoritarian forces in Europe’s biggest countries was predicted, but it is not good news. Not for people, not for nature, and not for democracy. Now is the time to prepare for a new more challenging context where the far-right will make up around a quarter of the seats in the EU Parliament. Yet, the triple climate-biodiversity-pollution crisis is not a partisan issue and will require urgent action whatever the majority. That is why we ask everyone to stand with us in our call for a green and social deal fit for a one-planet economy. 

NOT SO CLEAR CUT. While the far-right scored some notable successes, this was not the case across the board. In the Nordics, the far right were the biggest losers of the elections and saw an opposite trend where progressive candidates saw big wins. Also in Hungary, Victor Orban’s Fidesz party lost a significant number of seats amidst a huge increase in voter turnout. So did the far right actually surge? In some countries, yes; in most places, no.  

SAME SAME BUT DIFFERENT. The political majority for this mandate still lies in the centre. The most-voted party, the European People’s Party, will need an alliance with the Socialists and Liberals to secure a stable majority in the EU Parliament. But this alliance will likely not be enough to secure Ursula von der Leyen a second term, meaning she will need support from the Greens or ECR. Negotiations are set to begin, but the Socialists and Liberals have ruled out any pacts with the extreme right. Yet temporary alliances with far-right MEPs may occur during the mandate in a bid to block progress. With many moving parts, we will know for sure on July 17


KEEP ON CARRYING ON. These results are a clear reminder that people are not happy with the status quo. They send the unmistakable message that we need politicians to do more – not less – to support Europeans. So, how can we meet the needs of all people, communities, economies, and livelihoods across our continent? The answer is simple: by protecting the planet we call home, and supporting the natural world we depend on for our very existence. The vast majority of Europeans support environmental action at the EU level. While some seek to frame nature as an enemy of business, the very opposite is true: nature is the backbone of our economies and fundamental for prosperity. 

NEW FACES, SAME CHALLENGES. While these elections have transformed the political make-up of the EU legislature, the problems facing Europe’s 500 million inhabitants have not disappeared. Indeed, they continue to grow. The EU is faced with the ballooning emergency of climate breakdown, biodiversity loss and pollution. This ‘triple crisis’ threatens the foundations of society as we know it. Europe is the world’s fastest-warming continent, while biodiversity is at an all-time low and pollution levels pose an existential threat to ecosystems, communities and health.  

‘BUT WHAT ABOUT SECURITY?’. This is seriously undermining Europe’s security, from infrastructure and financial markets to food production and the millions of livelihoods this sustains. We need policymakers, many of whom ran their campaigns under slogans of ‘security’, to acknowledge these threats faced by Europeans – and act in their interests (and not in those of powerful lobbies). 


LINKED. The climate, nature and pollution crises are systemically and inextricably linked. The solutions need to be too. The EU is uniquely placed to address such cross-border challenges comprehensively and coherently. Over the past five years, the EU has made several strides forward to reconcile our societies and economies with our planet’s biophysical limits. The EU must stay the course with a plan that advances social and environmental policies together.  

IT’S THE PLANET, STUPID. “Competitiveness” has become the new buzzword among EU policymakers. But how can competitiveness be achieved – and sustained – on a dying planet? It obviously can’t. Strengthening Europe’s economies – at local, national and EU levels – first requires us to have a stable climate that offers livable conditions that can support people and livelihoods. This calls for real and immediate action to mitigate severe threats posed by climate disasters, and the monumental costs these come with (currently falling disproportionately on regular people and smaller businesses). 

#RESTORENATURE. It also requires us to acknowledge intact nature as a vital prerequisite for a healthy society and stable economy. People across Europe, as well as a growing body of industry, are calling on Member States in the EU Council to finalise the EU’s Nature Restoration Law, a set of rules that would legally protect Europe’s natural foundations on which we all innately depend. EU Environment Ministerscitizensscientistsbusinessesyouth organisations, the European Economic and Social Committee and Eurocities all urge the European Council to adopt the Nature Restoration Law. #RestoreNature! Read more from the EEB’s own Faustine Bas-Defossez. 

HANDS OFF WATER PROTECTIONS! Following the EU Commission’s proposal to update the list of ‘priority substances’ to be regulated in European waters (numerous harmful pollutants, including glyphosate, pharmaceuticals and PFAS, are still not monitored!), Member States in the EU Council are currently negotiating this update. Alarmingly, however, it has been shown that several national governments are using this update as a cover to water down existing protections in the Water Framework Directive – the rules protecting Europe’s precious waters. Alongside other NGOs, we call on governments to observe democratic processes and commit to preserving these protections in full!  


“HUGE GLOBAL SUCCESS” said scientists about the efforts to protect the ozone layer, with damaging atmospheric gases declining more quickly than expected. According to the new study, the total amount of chlorine — which depletes the ozone — in all hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) peaked in 2021, five years earlier than the most recent predictions. This is a major milestone in the fight against climate change. 

YES, WE CAN. This case tells a compelling story about humanity’s ability to reduce its impact on the planet. The Montreal Protocol, introduced in 1987 to control the use and production of ozone-depleting substances, marked a major climate breakthrough. Next in line are HFCs, potent global warming gases used as refrigerants, now regulated by the Kigali Amendment enacted in 2016. The EU is leading the global action against HFCs thanks to the rules passed in the previous mandate. The same can be achieved for all other greenhouse gases. We just need the same political will. 


STAY INVOLVED AND GET INVOLVED! The model of the EU was established on an international commitment to solidarity and cooperation. As it grew, it became rooted in democratic principles, defined by open society, transparency, and participation of civil society. The infrastructure that enables such participation exists – as long as we use it! This weekend, we’re bringing together citizens from across Europe for our last citizens deliberation event within the Real Deal project – Wild Talks.  

BEYOND THE VOTE. Under the Real Deal project we are testing participatory methods for bringing people into the political discussions in Europe. If you’re unhappy with the result of the EU elections, then it is even more important that you get involved in shaping European policy directly. Find out more about these opportunities and get into discussions on a wide range of environmental topics at 


AGENDA OF HOPE: The European Pact for the Future fosters hope and courage, opens opportunities, creates wellbeing for all, catalyses competitiveness through sustainability and drives the needed transformative system change for a sustainable future. It is a green and social deal fit for a one-planet economy. Sign it now!


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