A reform agenda for a sustainable Europe: Reinforcing the safety net protecting people and the environment

Press Release


Brussels, 19 October 2015

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker wants to be "big on big things and small on small things” and it doesn’t get much bigger than safeguarding the environment, the world’s life support system. The European Environmental Bureau’s annual conference, taking place in Brussels today, is taking a hard look at the roles of ‘better regulation’, sustainability and the rule of law in rising to this challenge.

What the EU and in particular the Commission does in these areas over the next five years matters more than ever before if it is truly serious about a reform agenda fit for the 21st century and capable of tackling environmental and social challenges in a comprehensive and effective manner. 

 ‘Better Regulation’ was the ideological mainstay of the previous Barroso Commission and is even more prominent under the leadership of President Juncker. The current Commission maintains that the recently launched package will not mean cuts to the regulatory safety net that protects consumers, citizens’ health and their environment. However, proposals for new bodies and procedures seem to suggest otherwise.

For example, the Commission’s proposal for revision of the Inter-Institutional Agreement on Better Lawmaking, due to be adopted before the end of the year, would involve the European Parliament and Council formally committing to President Juncker’s ten political priorities - from which environmental issues other than climate change are virtually absent - as the EU’s guiding political document.

Jeremy Wates, Secretary General of the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), said:

“The ongoing VW scandal is the perfect example of what can happen when the protective net gets too thin and corporations are given too much leeway to regulate themselves. Our conference is the chance for EU officials, civil society, economists, lawyers and other interested parties to engage in this debate and see that there is another, better way forward that will lead to a healthier, more sustainable Europe.”  

For further information contact:

Philippa Nuttall Jones, Senior Communications Officer,, 0032 (0)4 71 57 81 01

Notes for editors:

Conference website:

Follow the conference on twitter: #sustainableEurope