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Environment

Environment action programme to 2030

The 8th Environment Action Programme will guide European environmental policy until 2030

Objectives

The long-term priority objective is that, by 2050 at the latest, Europeans live well, within planetary boundaries, in a well-being economy where nothing is wasted. Growth will be regenerative, climate neutrality will be a reality, and inequalities will have been significantly reduced.

There are six priority objectives to 2030

  • achieving the 2030 greenhouse gas emission reduction target and climate neutrality by 2050
  • enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change
  • advancing towards a regenerative growth model, decoupling economic growth from resource use and environmental degradation, and accelerating the transition to a circular economy
  • pursuing a zero-pollution ambition, including for air, water and soil and protecting the health and well-being of Europeans
  • protecting, preserving and restoring biodiversity, and enhancing natural capital
  • reducing environmental and climate pressures related to production and consumption (particularly in the areas of energy, industry, buildings and infrastructure, mobility, tourism, international trade and the food system)

Enabling framework

In line with the European Green Deal’s oath to ‘do no harm,’ the 8th EAP supports an integrated approach to policy development and implementation. Article 3 of the action programme sets out the enabling conditions needed to achieve the priority objectives. Among others, it highlights the need for

  • a full implementation of existing legislation
  • significantly decreasing the Union’s material and consumption footprints
  • achieving environmental fairness
  • boosting sustainable finance
  • making use of economic and tax incentives to facilitate the sustainability transition
  • phasing out fossil fuel subsidies
  • developing a summary ‘beyond GDP’ dashboard
  • uptake by and cooperation at all levels of policy-making between different levels of actors
  • harnessing the potential of digitalisation
  • ensuring that policy action is firmly anchored in latest science and knowledge  

Monitoring and reports

The Commission, supported by the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) monitors, assesses and reports annually on progress on the priority objectives. A mid-term evaluation will be published by 31 March 2024, and a full evaluation by 31 March 2029. This will be followed, if appropriate, by a proposal for the next environmental action programme by 31 December 2029.

The European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the Commission exchange views annually, based on the reports, on actions taken, and possible future actions.

Timeline

Previous and upcoming actions

  1. 2 May 2022
    8th EAP enters into force
  2. 2021
    Commission consults on monitoring framework with headline indicators

    As part of the preparation of a monitoring framework with headline indicators for the 8th EAP, the Commission will consult Member States and external stakeholders - find out more. 

  3. 14 October 2020
    European Commission presents proposal for 8th EAP
  4. 20 November 2013
    Adoption of the 7th EAP

    More information about the history of the EAP can be found on the 7th Environment Action Programme website

Policy areas

  • Air: EU action to improve air quality and reduce air pollution.
  • Chemicals: EU action to ensure chemicals are safe, for health and the environment.
  • Circular economy: The EU’s transition to a circular economy with a focus on green growth.
  • Industry: EU action to make industry more sustainable and reduce industrial emissions.
  • Marine and coastal environment: EU action to protect Europe’s coasts, seas and oceans.
  • Nature and biodiversity: EU action on environmental conservation and protection.
  • Noise: EU action to reduce environmental noise pollution.
  • Plastics: EU action on plastic production and pollution to contribute to a circular economy.
  • Soil and land: EU action for the sustainable use of soil and land.
  • Sustainable development: EU commitment to sustainable development in Europe and worldwide.
  • Urban environment: EU action to promote the sustainability of European cities.
  • Waste and recycling: EU action on waste management, treatment and recycling.
  • Water: EU action on water issues, to protect water resources.