Member states approve EU’s nature restoration law

European environment ministers have approved the Nature Restoration Law, after Austria changed its position and ensured the required majority.

The law had been blocked for months at Council level, although political agreement had previously been reached with the European Parliament. Austria’s Leonore Gewessler announced on Sunday that her country would vote in favour of the law, which opened the door for its adoption on Monday.

Twenty of the 27 member states voted in favour and six voted against, with Belgium abstaining.

The flagship project of the European Green Deal sets member states the target of restoring at least 20 per cent of the EU’s degraded land and sea ecosystems by 2030 and all ecosystems in need of restoration by 2050.

The meeting of environment ministers was chaired by Brussels minister Alain Maron, on behalf of the Belgian EU presidency. “This is the result of hard work, which produced results. We have no time for a pause in protecting our nature,” he said immediately after the vote.

The #RestoreNature coalition, consisting of BirdLife Europe, ClientEarth, the European Environmental Bureau and WWF EU, said in response: “Today’s vote is a massive victory for Europe’s nature and citizens who have been long calling for immediate action to tackle nature’s alarming decline ... Now, we need all hands on deck: member states must properly implement this legislation without delay in their countries.”


Various organisations gather for an action in support of the EU Nature Restoration Law at the office of Flemish minister of the Environment Zuhal Demir and minister of Agriculture Jo Brouns in Brussels, 22 May 2024 © BELGA PHOTO TIMON RAMBOER

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