A divided European Parliament gives the green light to the controversial Nature Restoration Law

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“It’s one of the most tense votes I’ve ever seen in this chamber,” said Damian Boeselager, a German MEP for The Greens, shortly after the Nature Restoration Act passed its toughest test. The European Parliament has given the green light in extremis to one of the pillars of the European Green Deal and is now passing the ball on to the Council of the EU. The regulation is perhaps the most divisive of these four years of legislature. And this has resulted in a heart attack vote: 336 votes in favour, 300 against and 13 abstentions.

The measure ambitions restore 20% of land and sea floor which is in poor condition in the European Union by 2030. According to the data handled by the European Commission, 80% of European habitats are currently degraded. 70% of farmland is eroded, leaving losses of more than 1,000 million euros. 50% of the fish have been reduced in the last decade. Or wetlands have halved in the last half century.

For this reason, the NGOs, the Community Executive and the progressive forces of the European Parliament defend that the implementation of this legislation is crucial to protect the environment and biodiversity, to fight against climate change and to combat food insecurity. The Cooked Resolution does not contemplate establishing new protected areas nor endanger the land to deploy renewable energy infrastructures.

But it does not convince everyone. A good part of the primary sector is on the warpath. Farmers, ranchers and fishermen have spent days and weeks demanding their rejection of the possible implications of these measures on their fields, crops and catches. They fear that all this will reduce the land allocated to plantations and expose them even more to the ups and downs of the hectic global board and imports from third countries. The fight against climate change and adaptation to these Copernican changes when conceiving food production and consumption is the squaring of the circle of the Brussels ecological agenda.

“Farmers and fishermen will benefit from it. It will guarantee a livable planet for future generations. The position adopted today sends a clear message. Now we must continue working, defending our mandate during negotiations with the Member States”, defends the Social Democratic MEP César Luena, rapporteur of the report. In parallel, Brussels has pulled the economic candy to seduce the most skeptical by ensuring that each euro invested in the law will translate into 8.38 euros of benefit.

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