EU Climate Policy


Climate change is already happening and already affects the lives of people across the European Union. Temperature rises have far-reaching consequences for natural systems and geographies, and the economic and social activities that are built around them. The European Union complements the activities of its Member States by promoting greater coordination and information sharing between Member States, and by ensuring that adaptation considerations are addressed in all relevant EU policies.

Key Policy Documents

Already in 2009 the European Commission took action to mainstream climate considerations across all policy areas, publishing its White Paper “Adapting to climate change: Towards a European framework for action” . 

Building further on this, in April 2013 the European Commission adopted the EU strategy on adaptation to climate change which focuses on three key objectives:

> Promoting action by Member States

> ‘Climate-proofing’ action at EU level

> Better informed decision-making

Further policy documentation is published by DG Climate Action.

Policy making and planning must take place, however, at and between a range of geographical scales.   The EU understands its role as a facilitator of joint adaptation action by all local, regional, and national actors, both from the private and public sector. Cross-border issues call for an EU and transnational approach.

Complementary actions are taking place at various levels:

  • Countries
  • Transnational and other regions
  • Cities and towns


Funding Adaptation

The EU Adaptation Strategy recognizes that improved access to funding will be critical in taking timely action to build climate-resilience in Europe. ALongside mainstreaming in policy-making, therefore, it has taken action to ensure EU funding decisions also have climate issues at their centre.   The Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020 will ensure that at least 20% of the European budget is climate-related expenditure, including both adaptation and mitigation.


More information

Learning around adaptation evolved rapidly – theEuropean Environmental Agency has established a dedicated platfor for gathering and sharing information: The European Climate Adaptation Platform (Climate-ADAPT, It supports stakeholders at all levels of governance by sharing a broad set of information on climate change risks, EU sector policies, adaptation practices, national initiatives, and decision‑support tools.

Climate‑ADAPT includes key results of EU research, INTERREG and ESPON projects that have strengthened the EU’s knowledge base on adaptation