ClientEarth Lawyers Ready to Defend Environmental Legislation as New EU Parliament Faces Pressure to Roll Back Green Policies

In the aftermath of the recent European elections, a wave of concern has swept through environmental advocacy circles as newly elected Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from conservative and far-right parties signal intentions to weaken crucial environmental laws. ClientEarth, a prominent environmental law organisation, has declared its readiness to challenge any attempts to undermine the EU Green Deal and other environmental protections.

The EU Green Deal, introduced by the European Commission in 2019, aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and address the climate, biodiversity, and pollution crises. However, the past year has seen a growing pushback against these measures from some political quarters, with campaigns advocating for the abandonment of key legislation designed to protect and restore nature and to ease environmental requirements under the Common Agricultural Policy.

Anaïs Berthier, head of ClientEarth’s Brussels office, voiced strong opposition to these movements, stating, “The parties that gained significant MEPs in these elections have run a dangerous and misleading campaign against environmental legislation, which has become the scapegoat for all that is wrong at EU level. This is deeply worrying, and the truth is exactly the contrary. They campaigned on security but ignored the major security risks that the climate, biodiversity, and pollution crises pose for Europeans.”

Berthier emphasised that maintaining the status quo or moving towards deregulation would pose existential threats. She stressed the MEPs’ duty to prioritize European interests by safeguarding and restoring the environment, essential for survival and building a resilient and equitable society. “As environmental lawyers, we will be watching – and poised to defend our future if we need to,” she added.

The urgency of the matter is underscored by Europe’s status as the fastest-warming continent, increasingly vulnerable to climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution. These environmental threats not only jeopardise the health of millions of Europeans but also imperil businesses and the broader economy.

ClientEarth’s team of lawyers and policy experts expressed concern that newly elected MEPs might neglect necessary environmental protections at a critical juncture when scientific consensus underscores the extensive measures still required for the EU to achieve carbon neutrality and facilitate an ecological transition.

In a call to action, Berthier proposed the appointment of a new Vice-President for People and the Environment, stressing the importance of integrating environmental considerations into all EU decisions. “For Europe’s security, its economy, and for future generations, EU leaders must build on the laws we already have and put people at the centre of their implementation. Protecting the environment is not something we can do for one mandate and abandon during the next – it is an essential foundation for a thriving – and even functional – EU,” she concluded.

In a call to action, Berthier proposed the appointment of a new Vice-President for People and the Environment, stressing the importance of integrating environmental considerations into all EU decisions. “For Europe’s security, its economy, and for future generations, EU leaders must build on the laws we already have and put people at the centre of their implementation. Protecting the environment is not something we can do for one mandate and abandon during the next – it is an essential foundation for a thriving – and even functional – EU,” she concluded.

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