Up to 80 percent of the EU’s wetlands, forests, green spaces and marine areas are in poor condition. Due to environmental degradation and the decline of biodiversity, the European Commission proposed in 2022 to introduce radical changes aimed at restoring the environment.
On November 9, the Council, Commission and European Parliament agreed on how the process would work.
“They are all happy Ecosystems under the Act are still included in the agreement, but some of the responsibilities have been weakened compared to the Commission’s original proposal. “The excessive flexibility of member states’ obligations is disappointing,” say leading environmental organizations supporting changes under the Nature Restoration Act.
According to unofficial reports, negotiations between the three institutions were difficult as the Council and Commission worked to find an agreement with the European Parliament’s different position.
The Nature Restoration Act aims to restore at least 20 percent. The nature of the European Union in 2030 It is about “fixing” land and sea areas. As soon as the proposal was published, there were voices of opposition from members of parliament (strongly opposed by the European People’s Party and the German politician Manfred Weber). Therefore, the parliamentarians had to compromise and the provisions in the Act were watered down.
The Nature Recovery Act was backed by over a million EU citizens, including businesses and scientists.
It was finally agreed that restoration of land areas would not be limited to areas Nature 2000. According to conservationists, there are also rules that could limit the areas designated for restoration. Provisions related to prevention of environmental degradation have also been improved – according to environmentalists Implementing appropriate security measures can be very difficult.
The agreement includes provisions on restoring nature on agricultural land and restoring peat bogs. However, naturalists say that many of the changes introduced are “emergency brakes”.
The agreement reached must be ratified by the member states. A decisive vote in the European Parliament’s Environment Protection Committee will also take place in December this year.
“Finally we have a much-needed law that, in theory, will oblige the European Union to take concrete steps to restore nature. However, negotiators have hollowed out the law to such an extent that in practice it will become toothless and vulnerable to abuse,” warns Ioannis Agabakis, an environmental lawyer. Nature Conservation at ClientEarth.
“While the agreement itself is more ambitious than the European Parliament’s position, “Science is far from telling us about climate crisis and biodiversity” – says Sabian Leemans, Senior Biodiversity Policy Specialist at WWF’s European Policy Office.
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