Requiem for nature at the European Parliament

Today is a day of mourning for the biosphere. The Right, the Far-Right and a large section of the Liberals from the RENEW group had vowed to kill the Nature Restoration Law. They have just done so in the Environment Committee.  

The anti-ecological alliance of the Far-Right (ID), the Conservative Right (EPP and ECR) and the Liberal Right (RENEW) won the vote in the European Parliament’s Environment Committee this morning. Spending months sabotaging the Nature Restoration Law wasn’t enough: by 44 votes to 44, MEPs went so far as to reject this crucial text for the future of our societies and the biosphere as a whole.

At a time when the ocean is overheating and Spain is suffocating, this is madness.

After the rejection of the text in the Agriculture and Fisheries Committees, Members of the Environment Committee failed to adopt the text, by just 1 vote, testifying to the Liberal and Conservative Right’s irresponsibility, as much as the Far-Right’s.


MEPs now have two weeks before the final Plenary vote, currently scheduled for the week of 10 July, to adopt this law and raise its level of ambition, particularly in terms of marine protection and restoration. 

Restore the ambition of the text on nature restoration

Despite the green light from the Council of the European Union, which met in Luxembourg on 20 June and agreed on the objective of restoring at least 20% of Europe’s land and sea by 2030, the Environment Committee’s MEPs, deaf to the ecological emergency, persisted in sabotaging the legislative proposal. 

Torn apart during the vote that began amidst an electric atmosphere on 15 June and ended today in Brussels, the Nature Restoration Law, a centerpiece of the European Green Deal, must now be rescued from the abyss and recover from the deep cuts that have destroyed its ambition and scope.

See our press release analysing the erratic progress of this legislative proposal in the European Parliament

Focus on the great forgotten: the ocean

At a time when the Atlantic Ocean is experiencing an unprecedented marine heatwave and when Spain is experiencing scorching temperatures, the Nature Restoration Law’s stakes are all the more pressing, as the text should enable the European Union to respond appropriately and immediately to the destabilization of the climate and the depletion of ecosystems and species.

MEPs from the Ecological Left (The Greens, The Left and S&D) are working in the European Parliament to raise the lost ambition of the Nature Restoration Law ahead of the Plenary vote.

Building on the recommendations of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), of the intergovernmental panels on climate change and biodiversity (IPCC and IPBES) and of over 1,000 scientists calling on the European institutions to vote responsibly, three concrete measures are crucial to halt the decline of ocean ecosystems and of the fishing communities that depend on them: 

  1. The creation of truly protected marine areas in Europe by banning industrial fishing within them (fishing vessels over 12 meters long and/or using towed gear, including bottom trawling).
  2. Protecting fishers and coastal ecosystems from the ravages of industrial vessels, through an amendment that reserves the EU coastal area (12 nautical miles) for fishing vessels under 25 meters long, to preserve marine resources and to promote local employment and coastal economies.
  3. To allocate fishing opportunities in priority to socially and ecologically efficient small-scale fisheries (fishing vessels under 12 meters using selective, low-impact fishing gear), to encourage the transition towards a fisheries sector which maximizes jobs while preserving marine ecosystems’ regeneration.

These three amendments are essential foundations to implement immediately effective measures aimed at protecting the future of European coastal jobs, the climate and European ecosystems, which are currently brutalized by industrial fishing methods incompatible with the European objectives set out in the 2030 Biodiversity Strategy and the EU Ocean Action Plan.

To this day, the Nature Restoration Law has been exploited by political groups in a pre-election battle a year ahead of the European elections (see our analysis of the European Right’s reign of terror and the Liberal Right’s toxic game). It must now burst the “Brussels bubble” so that MEPs realize and integrate citizens’ call for concrete action to revive reassuring prospects for our future. 

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