Parliament endorses call for systemic change as well as deadlines for ending harmful subsidies
Today, with a large majority, the Parliament adopted its negotiating position with Council on the General Union Environment Action Programme to 2030 (the ‘8th EAP’).
The report, led by Greens/EFA rapporteur Grace O’Sullivan, strengthens the Commission’s proposal significantly. Strong emphasis is placed on the need for a just transition, inclusivity and systemic change and action, in light of the ecological crises we face. It includes a call on the Commission to develop "beyond GDP" indicators to measure economic progress in terms of the well-being of people and planet, facilitating the transition to a sustainable wellbeing economy.
The report also lays down a number of other concrete actions, including clear deadlines for the phasing out of environmentally harmful subsidies at national and EU level (2025 at the latest for fossil fuel subsidies and 2027 at the latest for all other environmentally harmful subsidies), accompanied by a mechanism to facilitate annual reporting by Member States on progress towards the 2027 deadline. The report also insists that the phasing out of subsidies should follow the principle of the just transition and be accompanied by actions to prevent or alleviate any negative socio-economic impacts at Union, national, regional and local level, while ensuring that no one is left behind.
Grace O'Sullivan, European Parliament's rapporteur and member of the Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI), comments:
“A clear mandate for securing fossil free EU environmental policies is a huge success on our way to the Green transformation. Today, we celebrate future-proofing EU environmental and climate policies for the critical decade for climate action. The world is suffering from a climate and biodiversity crisis with heat waves in Canada, and the tornado in Czech Republic. This strong position calls for a paradigm shift away from unsustainable growth models to an approach to solve the ecological crisis. The sustainable wellbeing economy is a core green concept and we took the first step in putting the wellbeing of people and the planet at the heart of how we define and measure economic progress and make decisions. We want to protect nature, climate and biodiversity with a clear call for the phasing-out of fossil fuel subsidies within the next four years. The European Parliament will now enter upcoming negotiations with a strong mandate to negotiate for action and change around climate, environment and biodiversity.
“I welcome the Parliament's strong endorsement of the work of myself and the shadow rapporteurs on this important file, and the fact that the Parliament has voted to set down clear legally binding deadlines for phasing out environmentally harmful subsidies, including fossil fuel subsidies. I call on the Council and Member States to also increase their ambition levels ahead of the upcoming negotiations, to reflect the urgency of the ecological crises we find ourselves in.”
The 8th EAP, which is legally binding, sets out the direction for EU environmental and climate policy action until 2030, building on the European Green Deal and laying down the conditions to achieve the UN environmental and climate Sustainable Development Goals. It establishes a monitoring framework to assess the progress of Member States and the Union towards a 2050 objective of ‘living well within planetary boundaries’, as well as six thematic priority objectives (climate mitigation, climate adaptation, circular economy, biodiversity protection, zero pollution and reducing our environmental footprint).
The report, already endorsed with broad political support in the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) (only ECR and ID MEPs voting against or abstaining), was adopted in plenary with 518 in favor, 130 against and 47 abstentions.