17 Jun 2024, 12:15
Julian Wettengel

Germany welcomes adoption of EU nature restoration law, criticism from farmers


Clean Energy Wire / AP

Government members and NGOs from Germany have welcomed the adoption of the EU nature restoration law by member states following months of delay. Member states on Monday gave their final approval to a major and long-awaited plan to better protect nature in the 27-nation bloc, reported news agency AP. "This is a clear signal of trust in Europe's ability to compromise and its responsibility to protect the environment and nature," said environment minister Steffi Lemke in a post on X.

Environmental NGO DUH said the "thriller" surrounding the law had finally reached a happy end. "This law is a central component of the Green Deal and an important step in the fight against the nature and species crisis," said managing director Sascha Müller-Kraenner. The decision showed that the EU is taking its international commitments seriously. Florian Schöne, managing director of environmental NGO umbrella organisation DNR, called today's decision an "important signal" the EU had "sent to the world." "Despite a strong right-wing populist campaign, safeguarding our natural resources and honouring our commitments under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity are non-negotiable," he said.

However, Germany's farmers' association DBV heavily criticised the decision. "We farmers cannot be told by order from above how to farm. That will trigger resistance," said DBV president Joachim Rukwied. "Anyone who believes they can help nature with regulatory law will achieve the opposite. Nature conservation is only possible together with us farmers."

The adoption of the deal, which had been negotiated between the European Parliament and the Council already several months ago, marks the final important step of a lengthy legislative process. The nature restoration law, which would mandate member states to restore at least 20 percent of the EU's land and 20 percent of sea areas by 2030, had been blocked ever since. Several member states, including Hungary and Italy, had come out against it. The law is a central piece of the EU's Green Deal and aims to restore degraded ecosystems. The European Commission's legislative proposal is meant to spur measures taken at the national level, such as greening cities, rewetting drained moors or restoring marine and forest ecosystems. The policy proposal also was made in a context that goes beyond Europe: it is intended to enable the EU to fulfil its international commitment under the Kunming-Montreal Biodiversity Convention to restore at least 30 percent of degraded ecosystems worldwide.

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Sven Egenter

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