13 July 2023
No, the RENEW group is not a champion of the environment
13 July 2023
It was to be expected. After torpedoing the content of the Nature Restoration Law, the RENEW group congratulated itself on having enabled its final adoption. This method is their trademark and explains why, when BLOOM released its ranking of the environmental performance of European political groups, RENEW tried to attack our methodology, saying that the final votes are what “counted”. When, of course, what “counts” is the ambition of the amendments tabled and adopted.
Failing to “write history”, as claimed by the RENEW group’s chairman, given the adoption of a Nature Restoration Law stripped of its strength, the RENEW MEPs have begun to rewrite history.
So let’s get back to the facts about a) the responsibilty that the RENEW group bears in undermining the law’s ambition, b) RENEW MEPs’ votes in the three Committees of the European Parliament, all of which rejected the text before the 12 July plenary, and finally c) their votes during the plenary.
To the Macronist strategy of “words, words, words”, we oppose our method: “facts, facts, facts”.
The “VICTORY” ACCORDING TO STÉPHANE SÉJOURNÉ
It has to be said that over the last few days, Mr Stéphane Séjourné has worked hard to avoid this legislation from being rejected in the first plenary vote and to be adopted in the final vote, once the amendments voted by the 649 MEPs.
It took massive pressure from citizens ahead of this final vote in the European Parliament to push the MEPs of the RENEW group, which is characterized by a manifest lack of coherence on environmental issues, to support the adoption of this text.
We would like to thank these citizens once again. Due to this citizen mobilization, Mr. Stéphane Séjourné announced on the evening of July 11, a few hours before the vote: “Along with many colleagues from the @Ensemble_UE delegation, we will also support the exclusion of vessels over 25m from coastal waters. »
Declaration of Stéphane Séjourné on instagram, 11 july 2023, right before 9 p.m. It reads :
A few hours before the vote on the Nature Restauration Law, I am getting back to you. My group and I are trying to save the text and find a majority. The voting recommendations of @Reneweurope will indicate : No to the rejection of the text. Yes to the obligation to restore 30% of endagered ecosystems by 2030. Yes to the Nature Restoration Law. For the final vote. We will also support with numerous colleagues of the delegations @Ensemble_UE the exclusion of vessels over +25m from coastal waters
The fight is not over yet. Every vote counts. If we need to mobilize, it is on the fate of the text. We are still missing a few votes. LR (PPE), RN (ECR) and Reconquête (IF) have decided to reject it. Call on @fxbellamy and @jordanbardella who refuse to move with the times and will probably vote to reject the text to prevent the amendments from being discussed. Nature does not have a political color. We can do it.
Adopting this law is worlds apart from achieving a victory, as claimed by Mr Séjourné.
Fact-checking the RENEW MEPs’ actions
Let’s take a look at RENEW’s “environmental performance” regarding the Nature Restoration Law:
- Two rejection votes in the Agriculture and Fisheries Committees (see the links for more details).
- Support for the text obtained in extremis by imposing massive concessions on the environmentalist block ahead of the vote in the Environment Committee. These concessions were in vain, as four members of the RENEW group maintained their opposition, preventing the text’s adoption by the Environment Committee.
- The tabling by RENEW group chairman, Stéphane Séjourné, of a position copy-pasted on that of the Council! For those unfamiliar with European institutional practices, the fact that the Parliament has lowered its ambitions to the point of aligning itself with the Council’s position is the very negation of its hard-won power to become co-decision-maker on European legislation with the Council, via the Lisbon Treaty.
- A total inability, once they had their back against the wall, to ensure group cohesion and guarantee that the text would not be rejected but adopted in plenary. With 24 hours to go before the vote, RENEW group chairman Stéphane Séjourné referred back to back to the anti-ecological axis of the Right and Far Right and the Ecological Left block, and assured that “right up to the last moment, we’ll be there to make this text a victory” .
- On Wednesday 12 July, the message didn’t seem to get through. The group did not follow its champions such as Catherine Chabaud, Karen Melchior, Róża Thun and Martin Hojsík.
The votes of the RENEW deputies in plenary on 12 July:
- The first amendment put to the vote on Wednesday 12 July concerned the rejection of the entire text, without even considering its content. This rejection, which would have been a real blow, was avoided by only 12 votes. Within RENEW, out of 101 MEPs, 27 voted to reject…!
… and 7 abstentions.
And this despite the fact that the political groups of the Ecological Left (The Left, Greens, S&D) had all in all one abstention!
- On the final vote to adopt the law, same story: 19 RENEW votes to reject the amended text.
… and 10 abstentions.
Between the opening and closing votes, the bill was torpedoed by a series of Right-wing amendments.
We will analyze RENEW’s votes on these harmful amendments, which lead to the lamentable conclusion that the law, as amended by the Parliament in plenary, is even weaker than the Council’s position.
Here is how RENEW claims, in a large offensive on social media, to have enabled the text’s adoption in the face of “a Far Left that wanted to wash greener than green“, while a third of their own group voted to reject the law straight away, and then again for the final vote, despite the fact that the text’s substance had been seriously weakened.
To go further
Find here the details of all MEPs’ votes by amendment during the July 12 plenary session on the Nature Restoration Law.
 24 hours before the vote, during the debate organized in Strasbourg ahead of the vote on the Nature Restoration Law, Mr. Stéphane Séjourné concluded his speech in the hemicycle with these words: “Ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to get the job done. In the next 24 hours, we’ll be proposing a strategy to secure a majority, or at least to avoid the rejection of this text. I will call on all the political leaders, those who have worked on the text, the chairmen of the parliamentary committees, the rapporteurs and shadow rapporteurs, for a strategy to bring this text to a successful conclusion. I appeal to the responsibility of both the Left and the Right. Whatever happens, until the end, we will be there to make this text a victory“.