Two years after the European Commission’s initial proposal, Europe is one step closer to the final adoption of the Nature Restoration Law. Recent developments with the trilogue agreement and the adoption of the final text by the European Parliament’s Environment Committee on 29 November, as well as its approval by member states at COREPER on 22 November have effectively given the green light to the EU’s first comprehensive plan for nature in 30 years, and at a time when we need it more than ever.
Speaking with journalists Nikos Andritsos and Korina Georgiou on the Euranet radio show on SKAI 100.3, Ioli Christopoulou pointed out that in a symbolic coincidence, the week that the COP28 Climate Change Conference starts, Europe comes to show that nature is our ally for both mitigation and adaptation to climate change.
The final text of Nature Restoration Law includes legally binding targets for restoring 20% of the European Union’s land and sea areas by 2030 and take measures for all areas in need of restoration by 2050, she said. This applies to all ecosystems – forests, marine, agricultural and urban.
The discussion then turned to the reactions mainly from the side of farmers as well as the misinformation campaign on the impact of the NRL on agricultural production and incomes that put the whole Regulation at risk. Ioli Christopoulou pointed out that the targets set for agricultural ecosystems in fact help agricultural production because they give space to nature and this in turn makes the soil more fertile and boosts production. However, she said that in the course of the negotiations, compromises were made which mitigated the opposition and made the text more acceptable. It was also noted that the three Greek MEPs who participated in the vote on 29 November voted in favour of the Regulation.
Once the final text of the vote is approved by both the plenary of the European Parliament and formally by the Council of Ministers, it is the turn of the Member States to take action. In two years after the entry into force of the Regulation, National Nature Restoration Plans with concrete measures will have to be drawn up and the European Commission will have to present what financial resources are available for its implementation.