A nature-restoration law has been endorsed by all EU environment ministers, sending a message to the MEPs that they need to come to an agreement.

A nature-restoration law has been endorsed by all EU environment ministers, sending a message to the MEPs that they need to come to an agreement.

Romina Pourmokhtari, the Swedish environment minister, said when announcing the EU Council agreement on Tuesday (20 June), “Today we have taken an important step for nature”.

To stop the loss of biodiversity and stop the degradation of ecosystems, the EU regulation sets legally-binding goals for 2030.

Detailed national restoration plans must be created by EU member states to pinpoint threats, causes, and mitigating actions for biodiversity loss.

According to Portugal’s climate minister Duarte Cordeiro, the nature restoration law represents “a turning point” in EU policy regarding the preservation of nature and biodiversity. A slim majority of member states voted to adopt the text.

Poland, the Netherlands, Italy, Finland, and Sweden’s environment ministers raised objections during the discussion on Tuesday, saying they couldn’t support the compromise agreement as it stands. Belgium and Austria didn’t vote because of regional opposition.

Due to intense domestic pressure from the nation’s far-right Sweden Democrats party, Sweden, which is currently holding the EU presidency, abstained from voting on its own compromise text.

Polish climate minister Adam Guibourgé-Czetwertyski argued that rewetting drained peatlands remains a major concern and criticised mandatory requirements as being impractical.

In a written statement, Poland stated that “their rewetting means limiting the possibilities of agricultural use, which generates a risk for food security and the competitiveness of the Polish and EU agriculture.”

Some of the goals outlined in the law, according to the Netherlands and Italy, are unachievable.

“The Netherlands cannot comply with this regulation. Simply put, it does not sufficiently consider national circumstances, including population density “Christianne van der Wal, a Dutch minister, issued a caution.

Van del Wal also stated that there are still concerns about the mandatory non-deterioration clauses and the “paralysing effects” of this law on projects involving renewable infrastructure and existing homes, which may find it difficult to obtain permits.

Numerous EU nations also voiced concerns about the law’s administrative burden and the requirement for more funding and labour, with Italy, Poland, and Hungary calling for the establishment of a specific EU fund for restoration.

The final EU Council text is expected to include increased flexibility for EU member states to implement the law, a list of exemptions for renewable energy projects, and a reference to various funding instruments.

The compromise text approved on Tuesday, despite the absence of a formal vote, will serve as the EU Council’s negotiating mandate for trilogue negotiations with the European Parliament and the European Commission. However, a text must first be approved in the parliament committee before being approved in full.

Next week (June 27), MEPs from the environment committee are expected to finalise their stance, with a plenary vote anticipated in July.

The EPP group charged liberal MEP Pascal Canfin with swaying a contentious vote in the environment committee of parliament. Canfin put off, interrupted, and delayed the vote on the entire biodiversity law package out of concern that it would be defeated.

Before the council debate, EPP delegate Christine Schneider urged the EU’s member states to reject the law. Despite objections from EU nations, the council’s adoption highlights the necessity for a biodiversity law.

The EU Commission applauded the agreement after it recently produced a non-paper that suggested modifying the law to persuade opponents in both the parliament and the council.

“Contrary to what some have claimed, this won’t affect how much food is produced. Food production will suffer if we don’t aid nature in healing itself “Before the discussion with ministers, EU commissioner for the Green Deal Frans Timmermans made the statement.

Virginijus Sinkeviius, the EU’s environment commissioner, urged the parliament to make a decision right away in order to start negotiations this summer and finish the draught law by the end of the year.