European Nature Restoration Law: what it is and what it provides for

Strong contrasts on the European Nature Restoration Act. Here are the positions in the camp for and against.
nature restoration act

On Wednesday 12 July, the long-awaited vote on the ‘Nature Restoration Law’ arrived in the European Parliament chamber. What is meant by this measure? It is a hotly contested document that aims to make nature protection and habitat restoration a legal obligation in the European Union. It is a highly divisive law that is strongly supported by environmental associations.

While it is strongly criticised by various economic sectors with farmers at the forefront. Let us understand what it is all about. And, the reasons of those in favour and the reasons of those who express perplexity about the law.

The vote in Europarliament on the Nature Restoration Law

Tomorrow the Nature Restoration Law lands in the plenary session of the European Parliament. The measure is at the heart of the climate vision that the commission wants to advance.

In fact, the von der Leyen commission aims to establish nature protection and ecosystem restoration objectives that are binding on states.

Basically, nature protection and habitat restoration must become a legal obligation for states to try to halt the loss of biodiversity. This is also part of a project to try to combat climate change, which is in the public eye.

What are the concrete actions on which the states would be bound

In the document that will be voted by the plenary assembly of the Europarliament. “the objective is set to restore by 2030 at least 20 per cent of the Union’s land and sea areas. And 15 per cent of the rivers in their length. In addition, again by 2030, it envisages the creation of high-biodiversity landscape elements on at least 10 per cent of the utilised agricultural area’.

By 2050, then, the law aims to restore all ecosystems in need of restoration. It is, therefore, a major project for the rehabilitation of natural environments that will affect not only protected areas. But all ecosystems, including agricultural land and urban areas. The bill is part of the so-called ‘Nature Package’.

In concrete terms, these general principles would see “states having a duty to implement actions to reduce barriers that limit the connectivity of rivers, improve forest management, decrease the use of pesticides, make fishing more sustainable, increase urban green areas, diversify cultivated areas to favour butterflies, pollinating insects and birds, and combat the indiscriminate use of fertilisers and intensive monocultures”.

Reasons for and against the passing of this law

It is clear and obvious that actions of this kind are certainly relevant. The text refers to river, forest, urban and agricultural ecosystems.

And there is a mobilisation in favour of the law and also a mobilisation against the law on the part of certain economic sectors, obviously with farmers’ representatives at the head.

As for those in favour, there are the environmental associations, led by activist Greta Thunberg. Who highlight all the positive aspects for nature and the planet of approving such a document.

Those in favour argue that ‘interest groups linked especially to agriculture, fishing and industry have only put up generic opposition with alarms about the penalisation of the economy‘.

What are the power relations in the Europarliament

The Nature Restoration Law is a highly contested bill that has also created huge splits in the European parliamentary groups.

Populars who describe themselves as ‘sensitive to the issue of biodiversity but also close to the demands of the farming world’.

Mediations and attempts to reach an agreement are underway. Also on the part of the Von der Leyen commission itself. But at the moment it cannot even be ruled out that the text could risk a resounding rejection in the plenary vote.

Read also: What is the European Green Deal, the ambitious project that aims to zero emissions by 2050

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