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Has Timmermans to climb down on his EU nature-restoration law proposal?

EU Commissioner Frans Timmermans, one of the Vice-Presidents of the European Commission, is working on an ambitious law to help restore nature in the European Union

By: N. Peter Kramer - Posted: Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Timmermans wants to bring the law to the European Parliament (EP). Whether it will be approved there remains to be seen. The nature -restoration law is getting more and more opposition.
Timmermans wants to bring the law to the European Parliament (EP). Whether it will be approved there remains to be seen. The nature -restoration law is getting more and more opposition.

N. Peter Kramer’s Weekly Column

EU Commissioner Frans Timmermans, one of the Vice-Presidents of the European Commission, is working on an ambitious law to help restore nature in the European Union. This new law states that countries must restore to 20 percent of their territory and half the use of pesticides by 2030! For densely populated areas as The Netherlands and Flanders, Belgium, it will have far-reaching consequences for agriculture and also for industry and housing.

Timmermans wants to bring the law to the European Parliament (EP). Whether it will be approved there remains to be seen. The nature -restoration law is getting more and more opposition. The largest political group in the parliament, the conservative EPP (Christian Democrats), have already said that Timmermans should withdraw the law. In the beginning of this week, the EP Committee on Agriculture sent the law back to the drawing board by a large majority (29-15).

Criticism is also growing in The Netherlands. The country is not waiting for more additional EU obligations, it is already unable to meet the existing EU nitrogen requirements from Timmermans. Trying to push these through brought the three parties cooperating in the Dutch government an immense loss of votes in the recent provincial elections. In Belgium, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said: ‘We have to hit the pause button at EU level. We are absolutely not opposed to more biodiversity, but the EU has a more important battle to fight: the fight against greenhouse gas emissions’. In the meantime French President Emmanuel Macron lined up with the opponents of Timmermans’ new nature-restoration law and has called for a ‘pause’ in EU environmental and climate legislation.

We can expect a tough political battle! Especially the already heavy cornered farmers in the EU will follow it with fear and trembling.

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