In 2022 the European Union’s environmental affairs (ENVI) committee recommended a vote on including ecocide in the EU Directive on protection of the environment through criminal law. The committee has proposed including a standalone article in the Directive that defines an act of ecocide as “severe and either widespread or long-term damage to the environment” (9). The proposed amendments also include consideration of ecocide cases where EU actors are involved in environmental crimes taking place outside of Europe (69).
The EU’s economic and social committee has also endorsed the move.
As of now, this is a committee recommendation, which means it still has to be voted on in order to go into effect. If adopted, it would criminalize mass damage and destruction of ecosystems, and member states would be able to prosecute extreme environmental harms that are not considered serious crimes at present.
This recommendation is the result of a position paper that proposed revising the EU Directive to include ecocide which was submitted to the EU agencies by the Stop Ecocide Foundation and was endorsed by over 200 organizations.