The proposed EU Nature Restoration Law, which sharply divided left and right MEPs, survived a vote in the European Parliament.
On July 12, members of the European Parliament gathered in Strasbourg to approve the Nature Restoration Law Report – the subject of much controversy in recent months. As a reminder, the Nature Restoration Law is key to combating climate change and biodiversity loss and reducing food security risks. By 2030, member states must introduce restoration measures covering at least 20% of all terrestrial and marine areas and restore to good condition at least 30% of each habitat in terrestrial, coastal, freshwater, and marine ecosystems currently not in good condition.
Nature Restoration Law victim of politics
MEPs first voted on whether to reject the Commission’s proposal in its entirety. By a narrow majority, 324 voted against rejecting the proposal, while 312 supported rejection and 12 abstained. It seemed that the conservatives, the far right and some liberal members of the European Parliament were using this Law as a springboard for the European elections next year.
– It is disappointing that the Law has fallen victim to the populist stance led by conservatives and the far right, and has generally been significantly weakened. Now is the time for EU citizens to send a strong signal to the political class in next year’s elections that they will not support politicians who play political games with their future. – said Tatiana Nuño, Senior Maritime Policy Officer at Seas At Risk.
The Law is weakened but still encourages the restoration of nature
Finally, when the European Parliament adopted its position on the Nature Restoration Law by 336 votes to 300 with 13 abstentions, the European Union’s efforts to push forward its European Green Plan were boosted. However, aligning with the position of the European Council, the Parliament voted for a watered-down text that will do little to significantly restore nature and oceans, prevent biodiversity loss, or combat climate change.
– The Nature Restoration Law has been called out in the media as a threat to Croatian fishermen. Still, we have to accept that both Adriatic fish and Croatian fishermen are already at risk. Nature has already reached the limits of its endurance. Nature restoration measures aim at better regulation of industrial fishing, which has a negative impact on the environment. The example of the protection of the Pomo Pit shows how nature restoration measures can benefit both fishermen and nature. We have a long way to go until we have the necessary, ambitious tools to deal with the climate and biodiversity crisis. – emphasized Zrinka Jakl, President of Association Sunce.
Even if the agreement is weaker than expected, the new deadlines and provisions on the Common Fisheries Policy are worth celebrating. It should be kept in mind that the process is not over yet, the Nature Restoration Law must go through a trialogue in which the final version will be negotiated.
It is time for strong and professional regulations
The example of nature restoration as part of the “Dinara Back to LIFE” project shows how the restoration of grasslands, freshwater ponds, and wells can help revive and develop Croatian villages. All sectors, including fishermen and farmers, must abandon harmful and unsustainable working methods and work together with experts on new approaches. – added Ivana Selanec, Executive Director of the Biom Association.
It is time to enact strong regulations that will turn words into action and ensure the survival of nature and people on our planet.