To ensure an adequate level of protection in the European Union (EU), the European Commission (EC) adopted the Soil Thematic Strategy in 2006, including a proposal for a Soil Framework Directive (the Directive). However, a minority of Member States (United Kingdom, Germany, France, Austria, and The Netherlands) could not agree on the text of the proposed Directive. Consequently, the EC decided to withdraw the proposal in 2014. In the more than 10 years that have passed since the initial proposal, a great number of new evidences on soil degradation and its negative consequences, have proved the necessity of a common European soil protection Directive. This study is aimed at specifying the possible obstacles, differences, and gaps in legislature and administration in the countries that formed the blocking minority, which resulted in the refusal of the Directive. The individual legislations of the opposing countries on the matter, were summarized and compared with the goals set by the Directive, in three highlighted aspects: (1) soil-dependent threats, (2) contamination, and (3) sealing. We designed a simple schematic evaluation system to show the basic levels of differences and similarities. We found that the legislative regulations concerning soil-dependent degradation and contamination issues in the above countries were generally well defined, complementary, and thorough. A common European legislation can be based on harmonised approaches between them, focusing on technical implementations. In the aspect of sealing we found recommendations, principles, and good practices rather than binding regulations in the scrutinised countries. Soil sealing is an issue where the proposed Directive’s measures, could have exceeded those of the Member States.
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