Expression of Concern by Scientists: Rollback of EU environmental legislation and policies jeopardises the future of EU citizens (Open Letter)

In an open letter published on 29 May: doi: 10.5281/zenodo.11373475, science associations and networks across Europe, representing many thousands of scientists, criticise European decision-makers for a series of decisions that undermine the EU’s environmental agenda and its international obligations. The scientists note that these attacks on the Green Deal not only jeopardise nature but also pose imminent risk to the future of EU citizens. 

While EU policymakers claim that the measures are taken in response to farmers’ protests, scientists highlight that the decisions are poorly justified, do not address the problems they are aiming to solve, and at the same time ignore substantive scientific evidence against them. They point especially at the rejection of the Sustainable Use Regulation (SUR), the weakening of basic environmental standards in the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), halting the approval of the Nature Restoration Law (NRL), the Commission’s proposal for exemptions in the Nitrate Directive, and the Commission’s decision to shelve the Framework for Sustainable Food Systems (FSFS).

The science community regards these decisions as poorly justified and dangerous, rolling back environmental standards and regulations, some of which are the result of decades of efforts and strongly supported by science and society.

The letter states that “in a period of multiple crises, mostly resulting from breaching planetary boundaries, it is unacceptable that European governors opt to worsen the conditions that drive these crises”. “As scientists, we strongly oppose policy choices that accelerate these avoidable crises.“

The scientists call for policymakers to set a clear and ambitious agenda for environmental protection and the Green Deal for the post-election era; consult with scientists to avoid acting on the basis of misinformation; take back changes within the CAP; urgently approve the NRL; and avoid further watering down of environmental regulations and policies.

They also call on citizens, civil society organisations and political parties to support responsible policymaking that secures a safe(r) future.

To read the letter see: DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.11373475.

Associations and contact persons:

Society for Conservation Biology Europe (SCB-Europe)
Contact:  Ewa Orlikowska , Guy Pe’er , +49 341 9733182

Scientists for Future Deutschland (Interdisciplinary Scientific Panel)
Contact: Michael Weiß , Gregor Hagedorn , +49 151 2429 267

Society for Ecological Restoration Europe (SERE)
Contact: Kris Decleer , +32 476 50 50 11, Boris Barov  

EuropeForNature Initiative
Contact: Arnold van Vliet , +31-6-13563689

The Ecological Society of Germany, Austria and Switzerland (GfÖ) 

European Ecological Federation (EEF)
Contact: Cristina Máguas  


ESP – Ecosystem Services Partnership – European region
Contact: Dr. Rudolf S. de Groot, , Iskra Konovska  

NERN – The Netherlands Ecological Research Network 
Contact: Hans de Kroon  

Society of Wetland Scientists (SWS) – Europe Chapter
Contact: Keith Edwards  , Matthew Simpson  

ESP – Ecosystem Services Partnership – European region
Contact: Iskra Konovska (Communications Manager)  

International Mire Conservation Group 
Contact: Hans Joosten