It is a text which stumbled in particular on the question of agriculture. The European Parliament and the member states of the European Union (EU) reached an agreement on Thursday, November 9, on a key legislative project on the restoration of nature and biodiversity.
The text will require member countries to implement measures to restore nature on at least 20% of the Union’s lands and marine spaces by 2030, according to a press release from the European Council, which represents the 27 member states.
“The first of its kind”
European lawmakers welcomed the agreement reached before midnight after several hours of discussions that began Thursday afternoon, but critics pointed to elements having been watered down.
“We can be proud of this historic result which defines ambitious rules that can be implemented by all,” declared Pascal Canfin, head of the environment committee in Parliament, on X (formerly Twitter).
The Spanish Minister for Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera Rodriguez, said she was “proud” of the law, “the first of its kind”. “It will help us rebuild healthy levels of biodiversity and preserve nature for future generations, while combating climate change,” she said.
The European Commission proposed the text in 2022. The most important party in the European Parliament, the European People’s Party (EPP, right) tried to have it abandoned earlier in 2023.
80% of degraded habitats
In connection with the Kunming-Montreal international agreement (COP15 Biodiversity), the legislation will require the Twenty-Seven to restore at least 30% of damaged habitats by 2030, then 60% by 2040 and 90% by 2050 .
Pollution, urbanization, intensive exploitation: according to Brussels, 80% of natural habitats in the EU are in a “poor or mediocre” state of conservation (peat bogs, dunes, meadows in particular), and up to 70% of soils are in poor condition. health.
For Tatiana Nuno, senior marine policy officer for the environmental association Seas At Risk, the agreement “is far from what is needed to tackle the biodiversity crisis, but as far as the ocean is concerned it is is a crucial step towards restoring the precious marine life it supports.”
“Although considerably weakened by the Council, the provisions relating to fishing in the law constitute an attempt to bring coherence between environmental and fisheries policies which should have been done a long time ago,” he said. expressed Vera Coelho, deputy vice-president of the Oceana in Europe organization.
The EPP proudly highlighted on Thursday the “notable improvements” to the “heavily revised” text, such as the removal of “the obligation to renature 10% of agricultural land”.
Before the negotiations between the member states and Parliament, the group had argued in particular that the text would undermine food security in Europe. Elected officials from the left and the center then accused the EPP, which is banking on the agricultural vote, of using the legislative project with a view to the 2024 European elections.