This week brought hope and important environmental victories. On Monday, EU Environment Ministers took crucial decisions in Luxembourg, at the final Environment Council of the Belgian EU Presidency. While some results were expected, others kept us on the edge of our seats until the last minute. This week proved there’s no stopping environmental action. But as the heads of state in the EU are finalising the Strategic Agenda for the next 5 years, a reality check is needed.


SO..WHAT’S THE PLAN? The document that should guide the EU institutions’ work in the next 5 years is being finalised as we speak. And coming from the highest political level, it bears significant weight in guiding the EU Commission during the brand-new mandate. But so far, the leaked draft plan lacks any meaningful reference to tackling the triple nature, biodiversity and pollution crisis. That doesn’t only make little sense – considering that Europe is the world’s fastest warming continent – it also doesn’t reflect what EU citizens want: 84% agree that we need environmental action on the EU level to protect the environment in their country. 

IT IS URGENT – Despite the urgency, decision makers have not yet done enough. Environment, nature protection, nature restoration, zero pollution, biodiversity, and climate action must be top priorities. We need policies that advance social and environmental justice, and this must be explicitly reflected in the EU’s long-term political priorities. The current leaked drafts are not good enough! 

THE SOLUTION – The European Pact for the Future, a new deal for a one-planet economy, is a practical plan of what the next legislative cycle should do. A growing number of people, organisations and businesses endorse this vision – not only to stay within the boundaries of our planet, but also to bring back hope and give a voice to the most vulnerable and those that will live on our planet tomorrow. You should sign too!


HISTORIC WIN – For months, uncertainty clouded the fate of the Nature Restoration Law. This suddenly changed when Austrian Environment Minister Leonore Gewessler bravely announced her country’s decisive support on Sunday. A day later, the law was approved by a narrow majority of 20 countries representing 66% of the EU’s population – just over the 65% threshold required. Now, Member States will be required to restore 20% of the EU’s degraded land and marine ecosystems by 2030, with a wider target of restoring all ecosystems by 2050. A big win for nature

LESS WASTE – The final meeting in Luxembourg under the Belgian Presidency also discussed the revision of the Waste Framework Directive, with a particular focus on food and textile waste. While the EU Council strengthened requirements for textile brands through Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) fees, efforts to address the pressing issue of food waste fell short of expectations

GROUNDBREAKING (NOT) – At the same time, Europe moves closer to establishing its first soil legislation, as the EU Council’s position on the Soil Monitoring Directive was adopted. However, there were missed opportunities to strengthen the proposals put forward by the EU Commission and EU Parliament. With 60-70% of the EU’s soils currently in poor condition, the upcoming trilogue negotiations will be crucial to achieving substantial improvements. 

ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION – With a view to improving sustainability, the Environment Council endorsed the mid-term review of the 8th Environmental Action Programme. They underlined the urgent need to curb the EU’s consumption of resources, recognising its significant impact on the environment. This is a crucial moment for the EU to put in place a robust legal framework for sustainable resource management, including science-based targets to ensure that consumption remains within planetary boundaries.


MORE POLLUTION – Despite the favourable winds, the work is far from over. This became painfully clear on Wednesday after Member States’ ambassadors to the EU met in Brussels. At the meeting, they adopted an agreement giving EU countries the right to pollute rather than protect our water for the next decades, and to weaken existing water protection rules. The deal is a huge disappointment that fails to respond to Europe’s pressing water and biodiversity crises, environmental NGOs warn. Read our joint reaction with WWF and PAN Europe. 

TRANSITION – Next Monday, June 24, Agriculture Ministers will meet in Brussels for the first time since the EU elections. It’s a crucial opportunity to discuss the urgent need for change in our food and farming systems. To benefit farmers, citizens, and the natural environment supporting our food production, we must transition to a sustainable agricultural system. This system should be resilient to climate instability and support healthy people and thriving ecosystems, not corporate profits. Read our joint vision for a Common Agricultural, Food, and Land Stewardship Policy.


WORK WITH US – The work continues, and we’re always seeking new supporters. Could you be one of them? Check out our current vacancies on our website. At the EEB, we’re committed to equal rights. For four years, we’ve contributed data to the FAIR SHARE monitor, assessing women’s representation across all levels. In 2024, out of 95 organizations, we ranked 17th with a FAIR SHARE Index of 6.61, showing fair representation of women in our staff, management, and board roles.


JOIN THE FUTURE: The European Pact for the Future sparks hope and courage, creates opportunities, and ensures wellbeing for everyone. It promotes sustainable competitiveness and drives transformative changes for a greener tomorrow. Embrace the green revolution for a sustainable world. Sign it now!


WE KNOW YOU WANT TO: We recently expanded our digital presence to Instagram and TikTok! We are also on Bluesky. Give us a follow and don’t miss our latest green updates and work at the EU level and beyond.