The European Environment Agency calls on governments to strongly boost their policies


In a new report, the European Environment Agency (EEA) has published a comprehensive picture of Europe’s environment. The climate policies of 39 European countries have been analysed by EEA, to help European governments adopt more effective policies and understand their goals for the future.


This report, the fifth published by the agency, is entitled ’The European environment – state and outlook 2015’ (SOER 2015). ‘Europe’s environment and climate policies have delivered substantial benefits, improving the environment and quality of life, while driving innovation, job creation and growth. Despite these gains, Europe still faces a range of persistent and growing environmental challenges. Addressing them will require fundamental changes in the systems of production and consumption that are the root cause of environmental problems’, say the EEA’s European experts.

Europe still faces a range of persistent and growing environmental challenges

In this report, we find full assessments and data at global, regional and country levels. The European Environment Agency has monitored the progress made in waste management, energy consumption, cleaner air and water resource management. ‘Our analysis shows that European policies have successfully tackled many environmental challenges over the years. But it also shows that we continue to harm the natural systems that sustain our prosperity. While living within planetary limits is an immense challenge, there are huge benefits in responding to it. Fully using Europe’s capacity to innovate could make us truly sustainable and put us at the frontier of science and technology, creating new industries and a healthier society’, says EEA Executive Director Hans Bruyninckx.

Higher targets to fight sustainably against climate change

In its approach, the EEA predicts that the world population will rise beyond 9.6 billion by 2050 and that this will impact urban areas in developing regions. ‘We have 35 years to ensure that we live on a sustainable planet by 2050. This may seem like a distant future, but to achieve our goal, we need to act now. We need our actions and investments to be even more ambitious and coherent. Many of the decisions we make today will determine how we are going to live in 2050,’ says Hans Bruynickx.

The EEA has summed up all the key messages in an exhaustive document covering all sectors, including health, food, noise, transport, intensive agriculture, urbanisation, energy production, flood protection, the efficiency of resources, biodiversity pools, water, air pollution, protected areas, the carbon market, production and consumption, the marine environment, agriculture and organic farming. Read the report here.

To preserve a proper quality of life for all the peoples of Europe and prevent the consequences of climate change, European governments need to fight, acting sustainably and with conviction.

The report concludes that although the full implementation of existing policies will be essential, for the EEA, ‘neither the environmental policies currently in place nor economic and technology-driven efficiency gains will be sufficient to achieve Europe’s 2050 vision.’ We need to see an additional boost soon.

Photos © Arnaud Bouissou – Meddm