The Agriculture and Rural Development Committee (AGRI) of the European Parliament has voted in favor of blocking the Nnature Restoration Law (NRL), the draft EU regulation aimed at restoring degraded ecosystems and mitigating biodiversity loss in rural, urban and marine areas.
European People's Party (EPP), the dominant political group, thus disavows EU strategies Green Deal e Farm to Fork of 'his' Commission. With the support of the Liberals of RenewEurope and the nationalists of ID (Identity and Democracy), led by Northern League Marco Zanni. (1)
1) Green Deal, Farm to Fork. European policy against citizens
The ecological transition announced in EU strategies #GreenDeal e #Farm2Fork continues to be boycotted by the European Parliament, with theassists of the Council (and in some cases of the Commission itself):
- On 20 October 2020, the Plenary Assembly of the European Parliament voted for a 'smoke-grey' rather than 'green' reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, (2)
- on 10 November 2020 the three European institutions agreed to disperse the funds of rural development reserved for organic farming on any initiative 'inspired' by 'sustainability', (3)
- on 23 November 2021 the Strasbourg Assembly, in the final vote on CAP post-2022, decreed the failure of the ecological transition in agriculture (4,5),
- on 24 March 2022 the hemicycle, with the false excuse of food security, admitted the use of pesticides and herbicides in areas of ecological interest(6)
- on 19 December 2022, the Council requested a new impact assessment on the SUR proposal (Sustainable use and Reduction of Pesticides), so definitively buried, (7)
- on 24 May 2023, the AGRI Commission of the Parliament proposed to block the Nature Restoration Law, with the support of two-thirds of the voters,
- on 31 May 2023 the European Parliament finally approved ASAP (Act in Support of Ammunition Production) to promote the shipment of missiles to Ukraine, the former breadbasket of Europe. (8)
2) Nature Restoration Law (NRL)
The proposal of EU regulation Nature Restoration Law it was adopted by the European Commission on 22 June 2022, with the aim of curbing the loss of biodiversity and restoring natural areas on the planet. (9) Given the European inability, in the last decade (2011-2020), to:
- mitigate the loss of biodiversity, as recommended (to date in vain) by the European Court of Auditors in the special report 13/2020, (10)
- restore at least 15% of degraded ecosystems, as stipulated in the international convention on biological diversity. (11)
'Bringing back Nature in our lives' it is moreover the objective declared by the European Commission in the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030. To be pursued not only through the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy and strategy Farm to Fork (meanwhile boycotted, as we have seen), but also through the adoption of binding targets for all the Member States. (12)
2.1) NRL, why
Nature Restoration Law it is the first legislative proposal ever adopted for the restoration of biodiversity and degraded ecosystems, which in the Old Continent represent 81% of habitat. Taking into account that the restoration of wetlands, rivers, forests, grasslands, marine ecosystems and the species they host has a crucial role in ecosystem functions:
- water and air purification, crop pollination, flood and drought protection, limiting global warming to +1,5°C,
- prevention of natural disasters and reduction of risks to the security of food supplies (food security).
The correlations between a healthy ecosystem, human health and protection from climate disasters are amply demonstrated by scientific studies, most recently referred to in the IPCC 2022 report. (13) And the ROI (Return on Investment) of 1 euro dedicated to the restoration of degraded ecosystems is estimated to vary between 8 and 38 euro.
2.2) NRL, such as
The restoration long-term ecosystems, the habitat and species in terrestrial and marine areas, in the proposed Nature Restoration Law, includes specific binding targets for habitat and species. These should cover at least 20% of the EU's land and marine areas by 2030 and all ecosystems needing restoration by 2050.
The specific objectives – in addition to a general objective of large-scale biodiversity restoration – concern:
- pollinators. Reverse the trends, from persistent decline to increase in populations by 2030, to be measured through harmonized monitoring methods, (14)
- forest ecosystems. Getting a lumber rising trend ,, forests of uneven age, forest connectivity, abundance of common forest birds, etc stock of organic carbon,
- urban ecosystems. No net loss of urban green spaces by 2030 and increase in the total area covered by urban green spaces by 2040 and 2050
- agricultural ecosystems. Increase in grassland butterflies and farmland birds, lo stock of organic carbon in mineral cultivated soils and the share of agricultural land with high diversity landscape features. With the restoration of exhausted peat bogs to agricultural use,
- marine ecosystems. Restore of habitat marine such as kelp beds, sedimentary bottoms and those of iconic marine species such as dolphins and porpoises, sharks and seabirds,
- river connectivity. Identify and remove barriers preventing surface water connectivity, so as to restore at least 25.000 km of rivers to navigable status by 2030.
2.3) NRL, the boycott of the European Parliament
The boycott of the Nature Restoration Law – on 23 May 2023, in the AGRI Commission of the European Parliament – induced the various political groups to reopen negotiations in view of 15 June, the date of examination of the proposal to the Commission referring to ENVI (Environment, Public Health and Food Safety), which will precede the vote in the plenary assembly.
The European People's Party – with the excuse of the war in Ukraine, insists on foraging for new weapons rather than resolving through negotiations for a lasting peace on the pan-European continent – withdraws from the debate on the Nature Restoration Law. Biodiversity gives way to voting interests, ahead of the 2024 European elections.
3) Civil society, indignation
Civil society - through organizations active in the protection of human, animal and ecosystem health, which follow the parliamentary work live - expressed indignation towards the popular political group (EPP, European People's Party), as well as towards the liberals of RenewEurope and the Eurosceptic right-wingers of ID (15,16).
The 'socialists and democrats', it is worth remembering, are however equally subject to the LOBBY OF THE pesticide and seed monopolists (Big 4), and so of the large agricultural confederations which also represent their interests. In addition to the betrayals mentioned in the introduction (see par. 1), let us recall the promises of Paolo De Castro (S&D) for the deregulation of new GMOs (17,18).
4) No bees, No futures!
The 23 May 2023, i.e. the day before the boycott of the Nature Restoration Law, the first two political groups in the European Parliament (EPP, S&D) had organized an event dedicated to beekeeping in Europe. 'Beekeeping, an Agricultural Sector under stress'. And how come you can believe to stem it stress of bees, without restoring green corridors for pollinating insects, areas of ecological interest and fallow land without pesticides, biodiversity in general?
(1) Nature Restoration Law: EU agriculture's lawmakers vote against farmers' future and food security. https://eeb.org/nature-restoration-law-eu-agricultures-lawmakers-vote-against-farmers-future-and-food-security/European Environmental Bureau. 23.5.23
(2) Dario Dongo. PAC post 2020, smoky gray. We need an organic revolution. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 22.10.20
(3) Dario Dongo, Silvia Giordanengo. EU budget 2021-2027 e #NextGenerationEU, focus on rural development and financing of the CAP. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 3.12.20
(4) Martha Strinati. CAP post-2022, the failure of the ecological transition in agriculture. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 24.11.21
(5) Martha Strinati. PAC post 2022, eco-schemes are disappointing expectations. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 12.12.21
(6) Dario Dongo. Food security, thesis and antithesis of the European Parliament. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 27.3.22
(7) Alessandra Mei. Regulation on the sustainable use of pesticides, SUR. The travails of EU reform. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 20.12.22
(8) MEPs endorse plan to provide more ammunition for Ukraine. https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20230524IPR91909/meps-endorse-plan-to-provide-more-ammunition-for-ukraine European Parliament. 1.6.23
(9) European Commission. Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on nature restoration (COM/2022/304 final) https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A52022PC0304&qid=1685728385402
(10) Dario Dongo, Marina De Nobili. CAP, pesticides and biodiversity. Report of the EU Court of Auditors. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 29.7.20
(11) The Convention on Biological Diversity Strategic Plan for 2011-2020 included the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Goals. Aichi Goal 15 called for the restoration of at least 2020% of degraded ecosystems by 15, to contribute to climate change mitigation and the fight against desertification. v. https://www.cbd.int/sp/targets/rationale/target-15/
(12) Dario Dongo, Giulia Torre. Special - EU 2030 Biodiversity Strategy, the plan announced in Brussels. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 31.5.20
(13) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. IPCC sixth assessment report. Impacts, adaptation and vulnerabilities. https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg2/
(14) Dario Dongo, Andrea Adelmo Della Penna. World Bee Day, the world bee day. No eligible policy. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 20.5.23
(15) Agri MEPs vote to reject the Nature Restoration Law – what's next? https://www.arc2020.eu/agri-meps-vote-to-reject-the-nature-restoration-law-whats-next/Arc 2020. 23.5.23
(16) Nature restoration law news – Environment committee edging towards deal as EPP walks out. https://www.arc2020.eu/nature-restoration-law-news-environment-committee-edgingtowards-deal-as-epp-walks-out/Arc 2020. 31.5.23
(17) Dario Dongo. GMO, the new empire that is advancing. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 26.7.19
(18) Dario Dongo. New GMOs, the proposal of deregulation approaches the EU political debate. Citizens' confidence crisis. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 22.4.23