On Thursday night, intensive negotiations among the EU Parliament, Commission, and Council concluded with an eagerly anticipated political agreement on the Nature Restoration Law.

While the deal is an improvement over the weak Parliament position, it still falls far short of what science dictates for addressing the climate and biodiversity breakdown. Nevertheless, considering the fierce opposition, reaching an agreement brings relief.

In July, a majority of right-wing, far-right, and liberal MEPs significantly watered down the final position of the EP. However, their attack on the project as a whole was thwarted by a progressive alliance within the EP.
Over one million citizens, businesses, scientists, and various stakeholders have shown unprecedented support for an impactful Nature Restoration Law.

The Regulation still remains a very important and necessary legal framework for national Nature Restoration Plans, with targets and obligations for restoring nature. The overarching target remains the restoration of 20% of EU land and sea by 2030 and all ecosystems in need by 2050.

Here is our initial response to the key elements of the agreement. Disappointingly, there are numerous exemptions and excessive flexibility in Member States’ obligations:

– The scope of terrestrial restoration extends beyond Natura 2000 sites, but the addition of significant loopholes may reduce the total restoration area.

– Concrete mandates for boosting nature on farmlands and peatland restoration made it into this agreement. However, reintroducing the article came at a steep price, involving significant concessions, including the introduction of the possibility to temporarily halt the legislation, also known as the ’emergency brake.’

– The requirement to prevent deterioration has been significantly weakened, rendering it challenging to enforce.

The agreement reached now requires endorsement by Member States and a crucial vote in the EU Parliament’s Environment Committee later this year, where Conservatives, Liberals and the far right may try to undermine the law once more. The Left will not cease to expose the misinformation and fear mongering of these groups. We will continue our efforts for a Nature Restoration Law that enhances environmental resilience against droughts, floods, and heat, making our cities more habitable and supporting farmers.

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