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Press release: EU Commission plays into hands of anti-nature lobbies, ignores citizens

Today, the European Commission postponed its highly anticipated proposal for an EU Nature Restoration Law without setting a new publication date.

Brussels, 23 March 2022

Over the weekend, more than 13,000 EU citizens, 166 environmental NGOs, and a group of environmental ministers sent letters to the European Commission expressing their support of the law and asking for it not to be delayed, but their voices have been ignored.

Legally binding nature restoration targets are urgently needed to address the drastic decline of biodiversity in the EU, to help us mitigate the climate crisis and to build resilience in the face of climate change.

We call on the Commission to set a new date for the proposal to be launched within a month. This law has the opportunity to become a real game-changer against the climate and biodiversity crises, with tangible benefits for people and nature. It must be timely, ambitious and enforceable.

“We understand the extremely difficult context in which this proposal is being finalised – but not why the College of Commissioners was not even able to pencil in a new date. There is no reason to delay the law by months. This is jeopardising the EU’s response to the climate and biodiversity crises and puts the European Green Deal agenda into further question. It is unacceptable to leave people and nature in limbo.”

Sabien Leemans, Senior Biodiversity Policy Officer, WWF European Policy Office

“The Commission’s proposal on nature restoration was meant to set a clear path to reach the EU’s biodiversity goals, and provide a strong negotiating position for the Global Biodiversity Framework currently being thrashed out. But those in charge have moved to delay this vital policy and row back on what they promised, risking the future protection of nature both at a global level and at home. The EU is trying to position itself as a global leader, while back at home it is seeking to dismantle the very policies on which that leadership is based.”

Anna Heslop, Wildlife and Habitats Lawyer, ClientEarth

“The farm and forestry lobbies will go to unbelievable lengths to protect their profit-making, nature-destructive practices. Stooping lower than ever before, they are now using the Russian war against Ukraine to support their own twisted agenda. The Commission must wake up and listen to science. Without large-scale nature restoration now, Europe will experience more floods, more droughts, and growing threats to the lives of citizens and the ability of farmers to produce food. If the Commission genuinely wants to deliver on their European Green Deal, the time is now.”  

Ariel Brunner, Senior Head of Policy, BirdLife Europe & Central Asia

“Delaying the Nature Restoration Law proposal to an uncertain future flies in the face of science, the demands of citizens and the EU’s global climate and biodiversity commitments. Ignoring the ticking clock further passes the burden of the ecological crisis to younger generations and threatens the fundamental rights of everyone. The Commission must act now and come out with a solid restoration law proposal within a month at the very latest.“

Sergiy Moroz, Policy Manager for Water and Biodiversity, EEB

Image credits: Yves Adams/Vilda

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