The European Parliament’s environment committee was unable to come to a decision on the EU Nature Restoration Law on Thursday, June 15, according to Copa Cogeca, the umbrella group for EU farm organisations and co-operatives. The group said the postponement of the final vote until June 27 was indicative of the divisive nature of the proposal. In a statement issued after the committee meeting, Copa said that the lack of agreement between supporters and opponents of the legislation showed that it was “ill-prepared”.
Copa is calling for the environment committee and the wider parliament to reject the law, citing a lack of concrete financing for on-the-ground restoration and the human resources to implement it, as well as the implementation of legally binding targets on agricultural and forestry ecosystems without adequate resources or an adequate assessment of the impact. The group also criticised the European Commission’s dependence on the Common Agricultural Policy to finance the transition towards restoration, saying that it was not geared towards restoration but biodiversity as a whole.
Copa said that an EU restoration fund was needed urgently, rather than in five or ten years’ time. The group also criticised the impact assessment carried out on the proposed law, saying that it did not properly quantify the impacts on rural communities or the loss of income from ceasing active production. Copa said that the responsibility for the lack of consensus lay with the European Commission, which had not carried out the necessary studies to propose a sustainable solution that could be accepted by all.
The proposed EU Nature Restoration Law is designed to restore degraded ecosystems across the bloc and to combat biodiversity loss. It aims to restore at least 30% of degraded ecosystems by 2030, to prevent the extinction of endangered species, and to increase the resilience of ecosystems to climate change. The legislation would also require member states to identify areas that could be restored and to develop plans for their restoration.
The legislation has been welcomed by environmental groups, including the European Environmental Bureau, which has described it as a “game-changer” for the restoration of degraded ecosystems across Europe. The group has called on the European Parliament to adopt the law without delay, saying that it would provide much-needed protection for biodiversity and help to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
The postponement of the final vote on the legislation has been criticised by some MEPs, who have accused the European Parliament of lacking ambition on environmental issues. Bas Eickhout, a Dutch MEP and the European Parliament’s lead negotiator on the legislation, said that the postponement was “disappointing” and that it was “crucial” that the law was adopted as soon as possible. He added that the legislation was “vital for tackling the biodiversity crisis and the climate crisis”.
The postponement has also been criticised by environmental groups, with the European Environmental Bureau saying that it was “deeply concerned” about the delay. The group said that it was “crucial” that the legislation was adopted without delay, as the restoration of degraded ecosystems was “critical” for the protection of biodiversity and for mitigating the impacts of climate change. The group called on the European Parliament to show “ambition and leadership” on environmental issues and to adopt the legislation as soon as possible.
The European Parliament’s environment committee will hold a final vote on the legislation on June 27. If the legislation is adopted, it will need to be approved by the European Council before it can become law.