The European Parliament reached agreement on the wording of the Act on Nature Restoration – the approved proposal ultimately retained the goal that all member states should establish measures for the restoration of natural ecosystems on 20% of land and water areas by 2030.
By 2050, all natural systems in need should be restored. Priority should be given to territories located in Natura 2000 protected areas (map of these areas in the Czech Republic).
The proposal has caused much debate in the past due to alleged impacts on agriculture and other economic and social consequences. The original stricter proposal was mainly supported by MPs from left-wing, liberal and ecological parties. They argued the usefulness of regulation for improving the environment in the EU. Representatives of right-wing factions voted against, including the majority of the most numerous populists. They expressed concern about excessive interference in the activities of farmers and other economic and social impacts.
According to the negotiators, the final version ended in a compromise.
German MEP Christine Schneider, who represented the European People’s Party in the negotiations, welcomed that the negotiated text “has little in common with the (European) Commission’s original proposal”. According to the statement of this club, it was possible to negotiate some significant changes. The obligation to return 10 percent of agricultural land to its natural state or the “controversial goal of returning nature to its state in the 1950s” was dropped from the compromise proposal.
What can the law change?
The current state of nature in Europe and the possible consequences of the law were described in a commentary by environmental expert Vojtěch Kotecký.
“We can be proud of this historic result, which sets ambitious rules that everyone can manage,” said Pascal Canfin, head of the European Parliament’s environment committee, from the Liberal group. The rapporteur César Luena from the Social Democrats faction is also satisfied, according to which the proposal will make it possible to solve the loss of diversity in nature.
According to the European Commission, up to 80 percent of natural systems in the European Union are in poor condition. According to the commission, the aim of the regulation is to reverse the unfavorable development.
Specific goals of the proposal include: reversing the decline of pollinators by 2030, planting at least three billion trees, restoring waterways, wetlands and peatlands damaged by agriculture and preventing the loss of urban greenery.
The negotiated proposal still has to be officially approved by the European Parliament and the member states.