The European Union has decided to get tougher in the fight for the restoration of natural resources. According to the Union, ecosystems are losing their ability to provide key conditions for human life, so it is said that something must be done about it. But the draft of the new legislation caused a wave of criticism. It will have a big impact not only on farmers, but also on city governments, for example.
Protection of nature, especially natural ecosystems. This is what the European Union wants to focus on in the coming years. “We have just reached an agreement with the Council on Europe’s first nature restoration law. We can be proud of this historic result, which sets ambitious and workable rules for everyone,” said MEP Pascal Canfin.
The proposal envisages, for example, the restoration of forests, rivers or bogs damaged by agricultural activities. But the farmers, for example, are against it. At the same time, the original proposal of the European Commission envisaged even tougher interventions. For example, he wanted to take away part of the land from the farmers and leave it fallow. “It was originally proposed at a mandatory 10 percent, which will no longer be mandatory, the member states only have this indicator recommended,” explained MEP Michaela Šojdrová (KDU-ČSL).
It will therefore depend on individual states how they approach the recommendation. But farmers are not the only ones who may be affected by the new proposal. It also places demands on self-government. “The mayors were scared that they should guarantee a share of green space in the city, which, however, does not belong to the mayors or the state. Often the land and property are in the hands of private individuals,” pointed out MEP Martin Hlaváček (ANO).
The proposal caused a great stir in the European Parliament at the end of June this year. Manfred Weber, the leader of the European Christian Democrats’ most powerful faction, faced accusations that he was blackmailing his MEPs into voting against the proposal. But the entire faction rejects such accusations. “There was no pressure. We talked to our colleagues, and when they said they didn’t feel like it, we replaced them. I don’t agree with any accusations of our colleagues,” defended MEP Peter Liese.
Critics from among MEPs still have a chance to throw the proposal under the table. It is not yet valid and both the plenary session and the member states still have to vote on it.
If these proposals were to pass, Czech farmers would expect big changes in the coming years. However, according to many, they would also lead to a further increase in food prices. “It will certainly be more demanding, more expensive, and even with the technology that is used today for larger areas, it will be a bit more complicated to work with it,” said the director of the Postoupky agricultural cooperative, Jiří Šírek.
On the one hand, heat-parched fields with deep cracks or, on the other hand, flash floods due to water that quickly runs off the fields. This is also the reason why more draws should appear in the landscape. But farmers have an argument why, according to them, nothing should be overdone.
“For us, it’s a breeding ground for voles. If you do it by force and you don’t do it with the good intention of taking care of it yourself, it just won’t turn out well,” warned the chairman of the Agrarian Chamber of the Zlín Region, Martin Gabrhelík.
“We uprooted the trees growing on the borders, plowed up the borders, straightened the watercourses, and the landscape is so marked that we cannot achieve improvement without some fundamental interventions,” warned nature conservationist Milan Orálek.
In addition, according to farmers, the new rules could also make agricultural production more expensive. “By reducing the acreage on which we farm, our overhead costs will rise, so we will have to be more expensive,” added Gabrhelík.
There should also be an increase in small insects, mainly pollinators, i.e. bees and bumblebees. “Growing large fields of corn is not good. There are almost no pollinators in that area,” remarked Orálek.
Despite the changes that farmers are likely to face, everyone believes that Czech agriculture will not disappear. The stricter rules could apply from 2030. “Science is moving forward, chemistry is moving forward, and even agriculture, which is strongly linked to it, is able to adapt. It will be a complication, but I don’t think we should stop working because of it ” said Šírek.