The European People’s Party (EPP) is withdrawing from negotiations on the much-discussed nature restoration law. This means that the other groups in the European Parliament will have to try to find an agreement without the support of the Christian Democrats and Conservatives, to which CD&V is also affiliated.
The nature restoration law has been under EVP fire for some time. The largest group in the European Parliament even wants to have the entire proposal voted down. The group’s withdrawal from parliamentary negotiations altogether, pending votes in the committee responsible and in plenary, is due to the fact that the other groups “have not addressed (its) concerns”.
“In its current form, the Nature Restoration Act will lead to less food production in Europe, drive up food prices even further, potentially undermine food security in Africa and block infrastructure projects that are crucial to our climate transition,” said group chairman Manfred Weber. The latter argument also crops up in Belgium, especially after Prime Minister Alexander De Croo made a plea last week for pressing the “pause button” when dealing with the nature restoration law. The proposal is also under fire in other member states. Normally, the EU countries vote on their common position on 20 June.
With the Nature Restoration Act, the European Commission wants to restore biodiversity and ecosystems and arm nature against climate change. This includes targets and obligations, with the application of all those restoration measures to at least 20 percent of nature by 2030 as the main objective. However, opposition to the proposal has been growing for some time among the EPP and other groups on the right of the hemisphere.
According to Belgian MEP Saskia Bricmont (Ecolo), the fact that the EPP is asking the Commission for an alternative proposal and does not want to continue negotiations on the current text shows a “cowardice that will cost us all dearly”. She speaks of a “criminal” attitude towards farmers and nature, which also “endangers our future”.
Kathleen Van Brempt (Vooruit) is also disappointed. “Nobody wins here. Least of all the farmers and industry that the EPP claims to defend. In any case, the debate about the nature restoration law is very little about the content. It has become a symbol and the EPP wants it down at all costs. A very counterproductive way of doing politics.”