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In tight vote, Nature Restoration Law rejected despite obvious benefits for people and planet

Date

27 Jun 2023

Sections

Climate & Environment

After the Nature Restauration Law was voted down by conservative forces with a razor-thin majority in the European Parliament's committee on the environment, public health and food safety (ENVI), the Socialists and Democrats vow to defend this crucial pillar of the Green Deal in the plenary vote in July.

The outcome of this tight vote 44/44 is particularly disappointing as it is a result of the conservative European People's Party’s (EPP) boycott of the Commission’s proposal by withdrawing from the negotiations on 31 May and calling for its complete rejection, despite the willingness of the other political groups to negotiate to find common compromises. Even EU Governments, including most of the ones led by the EPP, reached an agreement on the Nature Restoration Law on 20 June. The EPP’s argument that this law would supposedly harm our food security and the interests of farmers is baseless and scientifically inaccurate.

The restoration of nature offers numerous benefits to society as a whole, including farmers. Farmers are already experiencing the compounded effects of climate change and biodiversity loss, and taking action to restore nature would have been instrumental in addressing these challenges. Nature restoration also contributes to the EU's climate objectives by aiding in COabsorption, while also revitalising soils and supporting pollinators, which are essential for sustainable agriculture and ensuring our food security.

César Luena, S&D MEP and European Parliament’s chief negotiator on the Nature Restoration Law in ENVI, said:

“Nature lost a battle today, but we will continue fighting in plenary. I remain open, as always, to negotiate everything with everyone. I sincerely hope Manfred Weber will come to his senses and stop his personal crusade against Ursula von der Leyen, so that we can pass the European Commission’s proposal in plenary. It’s high time to focus on reversing biodiversity loss rather than these political games.”

Mohammed Chahim, S&D vice-president for the European Green Deal, said:

“The rejection of the Nature Restoration Law in a tight vote in the environment committee is a setback for the EU’s commitment to the Green Deal and global biodiversity. It is a missed opportunity to address the challenges faced by farmers, to combat climate change and secure a sustainable future for all. Restoring nature is the cheapest way to absorb COin our fight against climate change.

“The EPP’s withdrawal from negotiations and rejection of the Commission’s proposal on the Nature Restoration Law is deeply disappointing. By disregarding the many benefits of restoring nature for farmers, today’s vote is a missed a chance to restore nature's invaluable contributions to food production, notably with more pollinators, healthier soils and fewer pesticides. There is nothing to grow on a dead planet; it’s as simple as that.

“The fight is not over. We will do our utmost to rally forces throughout the hemicycle behind an ambitious law to the benefit of people and the planet.”

Note to editors:

The Nature Restoration Law will now proceed to a plenary vote in July, where the European Parliament as a whole will adopt its position ahead of negotiations with member states.

 

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