ICSA Urges MEPs to Oppose EU Nature Restoration Law
The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) is calling on Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to reject the proposed EU Nature Restoration Law. ICSA President Dermot Kelleher expressed his disappointment with the agreement reached during the trilogue negotiations between the EU Commission, EU Parliament, and EU Council regarding this highly controversial law.
The proposal, which was put forward by the EU Commission in June 2022, aims to restore at least 20% of the EU’s land and sea areas by 2030, and all ecosystems in need of restoration by 2050. It sets specific, legally binding targets and obligations for nature restoration in various ecosystems, including agricultural land, forests, marine areas, freshwater bodies, and urban environments.
The deal still needs to be endorsed and formally adopted by the parliament and council. Once approved, the new law will be published in the EU Official Journal and come into effect 20 days later.
Kelleher criticized the fact that the EU Parliament’s position, which removed several contentious proposals, including those related to re-wetting in Article 9, has been disregarded in the negotiations. This puts Irish MEPs who supported the EU Parliament’s position in a difficult situation, as they will have to make a decision on a regulation that deviates significantly from the safeguards they believed they had secured.
While the targets for re-wetting are not as burdensome as the original EU Commission proposal at the member state level, many farmers are concerned about the potential implications of being forced to re-wet their land, as well as the impact on adjoining land owned by the state or others.
Another major concern raised by the ICSA is the financing of nature restoration. Kelleher emphasized that the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) should not be used for this purpose. The proposed Nature Restoration Law could have profound implications for the value and viability of farms, and these cannot be compensated for with inadequate short-term payments.
The ICSA is now urging MEPs to oppose the law in the final plenary vote of the EU Parliament, given that the agreed trilogue position of the parliament has been largely ignored. It is worth noting that two European Parliament committees outright opposed the proposal, and the only modified version that gained majority support barely passed.
Kelleher criticized the EU Commission for seemingly disregarding the democratic mandate of the EU Parliament in its pursuit of the Green Deal, without adequately considering the concerns for food security.
In conclusion, the ICSA is calling on MEPs to reject the EU Nature Restoration Law in its current form, highlighting the need for a balanced approach that takes into account the concerns of farmers and ensures the viability of agricultural practices.