Nature Restoration Law, what changes with the vote of the EU Parliament

In the coming weeks the final negotiations

The European Parliament approved the Nature Restoration Lawthe proposed regulation which aims to take concrete measures to protect the land and sea surface.

The vote arrived on 12 July, during the plenary meeting of the Parliament in Strasbourg where the proposal obtained 336 yes, 300 no and 13 abstentions. The European body thus provides the official position it will assume in the coming weeks with the Commission and the European Council in the final negotiations.

Decisive to convince some MEPs against the Nature Restoration Law were the amendments proposed in particular by Renew Europe who filed the original proposal. After these changes, about twenty deputies between Renew Europe and the European People’s Party changed their voting orientation. The Ppe had been the main opponent to the text strongly desired by the Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans belonging to the Party of European Socialists (PES).

Yesterday’s vote saves the proposal: a possible rejection would have effectively compromised the approval of the regulation by the end of the legislature, given that there would have been no technical times to make new changes to the text and renegotiate it.

What the Nature Restoration Law provides

The Nature Restoration Law is one of the most important proposals of the European Green Deal and provides for specific operations to improve and restore biodiversity habitats.

The text was approved in the first instance on 22 June 2022 with the aim of providing for legally binding instruments for the 27 member states. On June 15, the Environment Commission of the European Parliament voted on an amendment to the Nature Restoration Law proposed by the EPP which proposed to completely reject the measure.

On that occasion, the 88 MEPs of the committee were evenly divided: the outcome was 44 votes in favor and 44 against, numbers that allowed the regulation proposal to survive until the amendments of 11 July and yesterday’s vote, 12 July.

The measure aims to intervene on at least the 20% of EU land and sea areas by 2030 and all ecosystems that need to be restored by 2050 (here the measures in detail)

After asking for its complete rejection, EPP group leader Manfred Weber had repeatedly asked for the proposal to be reworked and presented in a different way. Opponents say they represent the interests of farmers and fishermen, who would be economically harmed by the original proposal.

In particular, according to the contrary, the passage establishing the restoration of at least 10% of the total agricultural area would lead to “loss of space and productivity“.

Also at the center of criticism is the instrument chosen for the measure, a regulation and not a directive, which as such leaves no room for national interpretations and would stringent limits to the Member States.

It should be noted that approx 90 multinationals belonging to the consumer, finance and food distribution sectors had openly sided in favor of the proposed regulation. With a letter addressed to the EU, companies such as Nestlé, Unilever, Ikea, Danone and many others have called for “the urgent adoption of a European law on the restoration of nature that is both ambitious and binding”.

In the coming weeks, the European Parliament will meet with the European Commission and the EU Council final negotiations for the approval of the regulation.