Belgium seeks 'critical clarifications' on European nature restoration law

Belgium will submit a series of questions to the European Commission on the scope and implications of the European nature restoration law, Flemish Environment minister Zuhal Demir announced on Tuesday. The questions were agreed after consultations between Belgium's federal and regional governments.

The law, part of the European Green Deal, aims to combat the deterioration of European nature. For instance, restoration measures should apply to at least 20 per cent of land and sea areas by 2030. However, in the wake of the nitrogen agreement recently reached by the Flemish government, the draft law raises concerns about the potential impact on certain commercial activities.

The nitrogen agreement, which aims to halve emissions in Flanders by 2030, caused significant turmoil and months-long political deadlock before an agreement was finally reached on 10 March. The agricultural sector considers the agreement too strict or even unfeasible, while various environmental organisations believe it needs to go further.

Belgium wants to form alliances with like-minded member states and will support other countries in asking for a legal opinion

After previously requesting adjustments to the European law from the Flemish government, Demir said there was now a consensus at the Belgian level to ask for "critical clarifications" from the Commission. These include questions on the scope and implications of certain articles and possible compensation for areas subject to a deterioration ban, where projects such as housing construction or road building should not adversely affect natural areas.

Belgium also wants to form alliances with like-minded member states and will support other countries in asking for a legal opinion or cost-benefit analysis. European environment ministers will consider the draft law on 20 June in Luxembourg.



#FlandersNewsService | Flemish Environment minister Zuhal Demir © BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK

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