European Parliament must support shift towards wellbeing economy in vote on 8th Environmental Action Programme

Posted on 06 July 2021

On 7 and 8 July, the European Parliament will vote in plenary on rapporteur Grace O’Sullivan’s report on an 8th Environment Action Programme (8th EAP), which is to set out the direction for EU environmental and climate policy action until 2030.
What is happening?

On 7 and 8 July, the European Parliament will vote in plenary on rapporteur Grace O’Sullivan’s report on an 8th Environment Action Programme (8th EAP), which is to set out the direction for EU environmental and climate policy action until 2030, building on the European Green Deal. 

Why does this matter?

Once agreed with the Council later this year, the 8th EAP will be legally binding for EU Member States and other EU institutions. 

The ENVI committee voted on and adopted a position on the 8th EAP in mid-June. The report as adopted by ENVI, supported and negotiated by a majority of political groups, comprehensively addresses the shortcomings of the Commission proposal, which lacked the overall ambition and forward-looking actions to achieve the stated long-term aim of ‘living well, within the means of our planet’. 

The ENVI report, if adopted by the plenary, will form an excellent basis for future negotiations with the Council in trilogues, as it contains the detailed and specific conditions that are needed for environmental policy to be shaped and implemented in a way that lives up to the environmental challenges we face. 

What will WWF be looking for?

WWF is calling for MEPs to support and adopt the ENVI committee's report in full, with no further changes, for the 8th EAP to firmly embed a shift towards a “wellbeing economy” and set a clear deadlines for phasing out of harmful subsidies. Only then, will the EU be able to achieve the ambitions of the European Green Deal. 

In March, the Council already adopted its position, which strengthened the Commission’s proposal in certain areas, but also fell short of firmly embedding the idea of a wellbeing economy. While the Commission and the Council’s positions hint to this, they shy away from providing concrete actions, for example, a requirement to assess existing frameworks and indicators with the purpose of moving towards a wellbeing indicators progress framework.

The European Parliament’s position should improve on the Commission proposal in the following ways: 

 

  • Support a shift towards a sustainable wellbeing economy within planetary boundaries;
     
  • Make explicit the steps to enable this shift, notably by introducing an overarching framework to measure progress beyond GDP following a thorough review of all existing EU monitoring and indicator sets that measure social, economic and environmental progress;
     
  • Support the phase out of all direct and indirect fossil fuel subsidies by 2025 at the latest, and all other environmentally harmful subsidies by 2027;
     
  • Call for consistency with the 8th EAP’s objectives across all EU actions and for a systematic consistency checks of all Union policies and measures against the objectives of the 8th EAP, also taking into account the cost of inaction;
     
  • Annual reports by the Commission on the Union and Member State progress towards the 8th EAP and European Green Deal, which are to be discussed as part of the EU’s annual programming; 
     
  • Support a mid-term evaluation of the 8th EAP’s objectives in 2024.

Quote

“If the plenary confirms the ENVI committee’s report in full, there is hope for the EU to adopt an 8th EAP worthy of the environmental challenges we face once trilogues begin. The ENVI report is specific and incisive in the actions the EU needs to take, such as phasing out fossil fuel and other environmentally harmful subsidies as soon as possible. Any weakening of the ENVI report could put in peril the transformative shift needed in Europe to tackle the climate and ecological crises,” said Rebecca Humphries, Senior Public Affairs Officer, WWF European Policy Office.

Timing

The plenary vote on the amendments will take place on 7 July (20:00- 21:15), with results announced in the morning of 8 July. The final vote on the report as a whole will then take place on 8 July in the morning, with results announced at 13:00. 


Contact

Angelika Pullen
apullen@wwf.eu
+32 473 947 966
European Parliament
© European Parliament