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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

EU and Sustainability: Policies


EU Policies

EU Environmental Policies have been invaluable to guide the EU into a more sustainable way of living. The current policies in place have a clear vision for Europe by 2050, with some of the main objectives being 

  • protect, conserve and enhance the EU’s natural capital
  • turn the EU into a resource-efficient, green, and competitive low-carbon economy
  • safeguard EU citizens from environment-related pressures and risks to health and wellbeing


The EU's environmental legislation can be divided into the following categories:

All of these legislations have been created with technical and scientific standards and aid in the protection of the environment. It is typical for the European Commission to ask member states to provide information of how they have implemented these legislations and how effective they have been as a means to enforce these legislations.

If member states have failed to implement these legislations into their governing bodies or are suspected of any environmental crime, the European Commission may take member states to the CJEU.


European Environmental Agency - The EEA is responsible for providing reliable and independent information on the environment and supporting the development of effective policies to protect the environment and promote sustainable development in Europe.

Statistics for the European Green Deal - Eurostat provides a wide range of statistics and data on various topics, including the environment, climate change, energy, and migration.

Glossary/Research Terms

Environmental Crime - Acts that breach environmental legislation and cause significant harm or risk to the environment and human health. They include the illegal emissions or discharges into air, water or soil, the illegal trade in wildlife, illegal trade in ozone-depleting substances and the illegal shipment or dumping of waste.

Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) - interprets EU law to make sure it is applied in the same way in all EU countries, and settles legal disputes between national governments and EU institutions.

Paris Agreement: An international agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) signed in 2015, which aims to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Environmental impact assessment (EIA): A process of evaluating the potential environmental impacts of proposed projects or activities, and identifying ways to mitigate or avoid negative impacts, in accordance with environmental laws and regulations.