29th Sep 2023

EU countries to vote on 'highly politicised' nature law

  • EU diplomats will discuss a new compromise on Friday (Photo:
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EU environment ministers are expected to reach an agreement over the EU Nature Restoration Law during their next meeting in Brussels on Tuesday (20 June) — despite concerns over the Swedish presidency slowing down the process.

The EU regulation sets legally-binding targets by 2030 in a bid to halt biodiversity loss and reverse the degradation of ecosystems.

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On Wednesday, France, Germany, Spain, and Luxembourg wrote to the Swedish presidency expressing their concerns over the potential postponement of next week's vote on the draft law.

"We are convinced that successfully concluding the negotiations remains possible," they said in a letter seen by EUobsever.

They argued that delaying the vote would send "a devastating signal" to international partners given the recent infighting in the European Parliament.

Several EU member states have expressed concerns over the impact of such legislation on farmland and permits for houses and renewable infrastructure, arguing that it could hinder citizens' overall support for the Green Deal.

But a majority of countries have expressed their intentions to finalise the text without delay.

Sweden, which currently holds the EU presidency, has been under intense domestic pressure from the country's far-right Sweden Democrats party.

But the presidency has sent a new compromise to EU member states in order to reach a joint position next week.

They also confirmed that the vote on the nature-restoration law remains still on the agenda for the next environmental council.

Ahead of the vote, EU diplomats will hold a debate about the new text on Friday.

"This is highly politicised both in the council and in the [European] parliament," a source told EUobserver.

Next week's vote comes after days of high tension in the European Parliament.

On Thursday, MEPs from the environment committee ran out of time to finalise their position on the nature law — delaying the final vote to the next committee meeting on 27 June.

The European People's Party's call for a full rejection of the nature law did not have a majority at the beginning of the committee's voting session, but it is still unclear if the bill will pass the final plenary vote expected in July.

Previously two parliamentary committees have rejected the proposal.

Row over EPP 'blackmailing' MEPs on eve of nature vote

The centre-right European People's Party (EPP) denied any form of blackmailing — after the chair of the environment committee accused the EPP chair of threatening his own members with political retaliation if they vote for the controversial restoration law.


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