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The dilemma of the Nature Restoration Law

In June 2022 the European Commission tabled the Nature Restoration Law

By: N. Peter Kramer - Posted: Wednesday, June 14, 2023

The proposal includes legally binding targets to restore nature and reverse biodiversity loss in agriculture, forests, oceans and urban areas.
The proposal includes legally binding targets to restore nature and reverse biodiversity loss in agriculture, forests, oceans and urban areas.

N. Peter Kramer’s Weekly Column

In June 2022 the European Commission tabled the Nature Restoration Law. The proposal includes legally binding targets to restore nature and reverse biodiversity loss in agriculture, forests, oceans and urban areas. Surely a noble goal!

However the EU would not be the EU without a major opposition for the new law. Several EU member states and, for instance, the European People’s Party (EPP) in the EU Parliament have serious concerns. As usual, the Commission presents a strait jacket that has to fit the whole EU, from Lapland to Malta and from Portugal to Poland,  ignoring the sometimes very different characters and rural circumstances in the 27 countries.

There are warnings for potential conflicts between the new law and other EU ambitions, such as renewable energy deployment and the need to open more mines in the EU to grow a domestic supply chain for critical raw materials.  Also it seems that the implementation of the Nature Restauration Law will be particularly difficult and costly beyond Natura 2000 protected areas and poses challenges regarding private ownership and the development of energy, transport and military infrastructure, Lithuania’s government representation told Euractiv. 

Implementing the law will require significant financial resources, but the Commission has said there is enough money available, under the seven-year budget. Lithuania, however, pointed out that much of this is already allocated and that long-term financing is difficult to predict.

A spokesman of the Slovak government stated that the timeframe for the preparation and implementation of the proposal is narrow, regarding limited experts’ capacities, knowledge and monitoring of ecosystems in the member states.

The EP environmental commission will vote on 15 June, the Council approves its position on 20 June. Very tight votes are expected.   

                                                                                                                                 

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