The European Parliament has given its approval to the nature restoration law that the European People’s Party tried to boycott by proposing the withdrawal of the European Commission’s proposal. The norm, which seeks to establish legal bases to recover 90% of damaged habitats in the year 2050 with intermediate objectives of 30% in 2030 and 60% in 2040, has gone ahead with 329 votes in favor, 275 against and 24 abstentions. Progressive groups have especially applauded the result of the vote on a regulation that has been in danger in recent months. The socialist MEP César Luena, who was the speaker, celebrated and two Green parliamentarians, one of them the candidate Terry Reintke, hugged in the middle of the Chamber.

Despite being one of the key regulations of the green agenda promoted by the government led by Ursula von der Leyen in the face of the degradation of ecosystems – which are currently 80% damaged – it has been met with rejection from her own party. , which in recent months has distanced itself from environmental policies and has even proposed a two-year moratorium to satisfy the demands of economic sectors, such as farmers, who have been on the warpath across the continent for some time and have multiplied their protests taking advantage of the proximity of the European elections.

The European People’s Party failed, however, in its maneuver to overthrow the nature restoration law this summer, when the European Parliament rejected the proposal to reject the initiative by just twelve votes. What it did achieve was to substantially water down the text through the amendments. In fact, the position of the European Parliament was much less ambitious than initially and was below that of the EU Council, where governments are represented.

The final agreement therefore represented a substantial reduction compared to the European Commission’s initial proposal. Thus, an ’emergency brake’ was included to suspend the measures for up to a year and the spaces of the Natura 2000 Network, which are already protected, will be prioritized.

Despite this reduction in ambition, the European People’s Party has rejected the final text coinciding with the rise of farmers’ protests, although there has been a breakdown in voting discipline. Some MEPs, such as the Irish Fine Gael, have voted in favor. “We do not want new and more forms of bureaucracy and information obligations for farmers. Let the farmers dedicate themselves to agriculture,” says MEP Siegfried Mureșan, Vice-President of the EPP Group in charge of budget and structural policies.

Alberto Núñez Feijóo’s PP has directly attacked the Spanish socialists, whom it has accused of “turning their backs on the Spanish.” “While the rural world has taken to the streets due to the crisis they are facing, today, thanks to the support of the Spanish socialists, Parliament approves new forms of bureaucracy and obligations for farmers and fishermen. And the worst thing is that now Sectarian governments like Sánchez’s will use this law to further suffocate the primary sector,” says the head of the delegation, Dolors Montserrat, in a statement.

More environmental crimes

The European People’s Party also calls on governments to reject the regulations under the argument of helping farmers. The next step is for the EU Council, where all 27 are represented, to give it final approval at a time when pressure from the countryside is having an effect in limiting the EU’s environmental policies. Brussels has withdrawn the law with which it intended to reduce the use of chemical pesticides by 50% and has proposed reducing the environmental conditions for the CAP.

The European Parliament has also approved the reform of the directive to expand the list of environmental crimes, which will increase from nine to eighteen, including illegal timber trade, depletion of water resources, serious infringements of European legislation on chemicals and pollution caused by ships.

Member states will have to adapt their criminal legislation to the new norm, which provides for penalties of up to ten years in prison for the most serious crimes (that result in death). In the case of responsible companies, fines of between 3% or 5% of their annual global turnover or, alternatively, 24 or 40 million euros will also be imposed. The new board has moved forward with a comfortable majority (499 votes in favor, 100 against and 23 abstentions).


Leave a Reply