What is row over EU’s Nature Restoration Law about?

The EU Parliament will vote today on a new Nature Restoration Law which foresees measures aimed at improving the poor state of many protected habitats in at least 20 percent of land and marine areas in the EU by 2030. The law has been the subject of fierce protests also from the European People’s Party, which is thus opposing a key component of the Green Deal forged by its own member Ursula von der Leyen.

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

A rehearsal for 2024

The vote is a trial run for a potential right-wing alliance after next year’s European elections, Corriere della Sera speculates:

“On one side we have Manfred Weber’s EPP, allied with the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), the far-right Identity and Democracy group and 30 percent of the liberals of Renew Europe. On the other side are the socialists of the Socialists and Democrats, 70 percent of the liberals (these estimates come from liberal group leader Stéphane Sejourné), the Greens, the left and the Movimento Cinque Stelle, which is among the non-affiliated. Today’s vote can be seen as a dress rehearsal for the alliance that could form in the European Parliament after the European elections next June, with a shift to the right and the EPP as the pivot.”

Francesca Basso
De Morgen (BE) /

Hype hindering objective debate

If the law fails, it will be a dubious victory for its opponents, De Morgen warns:

“The sovereigntists, who are mainly to be found in the nationalist, conservative and right-wing populist corner, want to shift ‘control’ over politics back to the member states. ... From a democratic point of view, there is little to be said against this. ... But European democracy risks being left with a hangover. Such manoeuvres aimed at raising the Nature Restoration Law’s profile have hyped its significance. ... As if the law would make all agricultural and industrial development impossible for the sake of saving flowers and bees. That impression has little to do with reality.”

Bart Eeckhout
Le Figaro (FR) /

A change of strategy needed

Moving too fast on climate protection scares citizens and business alike, warns Le Figaro:

“Of course the 27 must move forward. But they must also do all they can to strike a balance between rapid change and the ability of businesses and citizens to keep up. Isn’t it time to consider a different strategy, one that puts the emphasis on the responsibility of all players, rather than trying to stifle them under the burden of insane regulations? ... First it was the industrial sector, which fears competition from China and elsewhere, now fear is spreading among farmers and fishermen too. If we hope to meet the challenge of achieving carbon neutrality within 30 years, it is imperative to get the Europeans on board.”

Jacques-Olivier Martin