Environment Council, 23 October 2020

Met dank overgenomen van Raad van de Europese Unie (Raad) i, gepubliceerd op vrijdag 23 oktober 2020, 19:30.

Main results

European climate law

The Council reached agreement on a partial general approach on the European climate law. Its aim is to set in legislation the objective of a climate-neutral EU by 2050, which was endorsed by the European Council in December 2019.

The EU is firmly committed to becoming climate neutral by 2050. While the European Council has announced that it will return to the greenhouse gas emissions reduction target for 2030 at its December meeting with a view to agreeing on a new target, I am pleased to announce that today we were able to reach agreement among member states on large parts of the European climate law proposal. It is important that we make as much progress as possible on this key piece of legislation. Last week, the European Council invited the Council to take work on this agenda forward, and today, after an intense discussion, we were able to reach an important milestone as regards the proposal for a European climate law.

Svenja Schulze, Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety of Germany

The Council agreed that the Union-wide 2050 climate-neutrality objective should be pursued by all member states collectively. It stressed the importance of promoting both fairness and solidarity among member states and cost-effectiveness in achieving the climate neutrality objective.

EU biodiversity strategy for 2030

Environment and climate ministers adopted conclusions on biodiversity, endorsing the objectives of the EU biodiversity strategy for 2030, which aims at setting biodiversity on the path to recovery. Member states are deeply concerned about the global rate of biodiversity loss and recognise the need to step up efforts by addressing the direct and indirect drivers of biodiversity and nature loss, such as overexploitation of natural resources, climate change, pollution, invasive alien species and the way we use land and sea. Member states reiterate the call for a full integration of biodiversity objectives into other sectors such as agriculture, fisheries and forestry and a coherent implementation of EU measures in these fields.

The Covid-19 pandemic has once again shown us the fundamental importance of ecosystems and biodiversity for our health and economic and social stability. Biodiversity is our life insurance: it supplies clean air and water, food, building material and clothing. It creates jobs and livelihoods. With the destruction of nature there is also the risk of disease outbreaks and pandemics. Saving biodiversity and global nature conservation is a key to preventing new infectious diseases. As President of the Council I am pleased that today we reached unanimous agreement on stepping up our efforts to address biodiversity loss.

Svenja Schulze, Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety of Germany

The conclusions adopted today give political guidance as regards the implementation of the strategy and reaffirm the EU’s determination to lead by example in tackling the global biodiversity crisis and in developing an ambitious new UN global biodiversity framework at the UN Biodiversity Conference in 2021.

Other issues

The Polish delegation presented its proposal for improvements to the EU emissions trading system to drive the transformation towards climate neutrality in the EU. The Netherlands delegation informed ministers on the climate adaptation summit scheduled for 25 January 2021.

The Lithuanian delegation informed ministers on the eighth session of the meeting of the parties to the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo MOP-8) scheduled for 8 to 11 December 2020. The Netherlands delegation informed ministers on the World circular economy forum scheduled for 15 April 2021.

Finally, the European Commission presented its communication on the EU chemicals strategy for sustainability, its communication on access to justice in environmental matters in member states, its current legislative proposal for a regulation amending the Aarhus regulation as well as its decision on the 8th environment action programme to ministers.

Meeting information

  • Meeting n°ENVI-231020
  • Luxembourg
  • 23 October 2020
  • 09:30

Preparatory documents

Outcome documents