10th July 2021 | Press Releases

Landmark achievements on environment in Europe for Ireland South Green MEP Grace O’Sullivan


Ireland South MEP’s Resolution in support of biggest marine protection project in history and, separately, system-changing environment legislation Report, get overwhelming support in European Parliament votes.

In a week where the European Parliament debated and voted on both a resolution and a legislative file led by Ireland South MEP Grace O’Sullivan, the MEP and Green Party Spokesperson for the Marine, has described the results as positive and moving.

“On the 60th Anniversary of the entry into force of the Antarctic Treaty, it’s just fantastic that the European Parliament voted to send a strong message in support of the establishment of two massive Marine Protected Areas covering 3 million square kilometres, in potentially the greatest act of marine protection in history.

“It has been a monumental week for me and I’m honoured that the European Parliament voted so overwhelmingly in favour of the Resolution on Antarctica, which I personally drafted and tabled.

“Separately, we also voted on the 8th Environment Action Programme. That’s far-reaching decade-long legislation which I am the Parliament’s lead negotiator on.

“Both votes saw hugely encouraging results, with MEPs voting overwhelmingly in favour. It shows that there is real commitment amongst the vast majority of MEPs, to getting the planet back on track and out of the climate and biodiversity emergency.

With the European Parliament declaring a climate and environment emergency in late 2019, the MEP, who has been working in environmental activism for the past 35 years, explained that the Environment Action Programme, a legislative framework around environment legislation, will now be brought forward for negotiations involving the European Commission and Member States’ governments in the Council of the EU.

“I now move this to the next level as I represent the European Parliament in the upcoming ‘trilogues’ stage of negotiations. The results of the vote today has given me a strong mandate to for the ambitions I’m determined to see through to final stage legislation.

“It’s vital that we see protection and conservation action on a massive scale, but we also need systemic change. The EU’s next Environment Action Programme, is ambitious around accountability, inclusiveness and areas such as moving beyond GDP to a sustainable wellbeing economy, and finally phasing out environmentally harmful subsidies with concrete deadlines set down in EU legislation for the first time ever.

“This has been an important week in my political career. I’m proud of the hard work myself and my team have put in, to bring us to this stage. I’m also enormously grateful to my colleagues, the MEPs who supported both votes as well as members of the public who came on board with my call to action and contacted their MEPs asking them to vote in favour of the Environment Action Programme in its entirety. It’s very satisfying, as a lifelong activist for environment and peace, to get to the end of such an eventful week and be able to say, hand on heart: activism works!”

The Resolution on Antarctic Marine Protected Areas tabled by Grace O’Sullivan passed by 588 votes in favour; 21 against; 79 abstentions

The 8th Environment Action Programme report passed by 518 votes in favour; 130 against; 47 abstentions