EU Passes Landmark Nature Restoration Law Amidst Intense Political Drama

In a historic move, the European Union has passed a landmark law to protect nature, ending a protracted deadlock among member states. The vote, which took place on Monday, saw a narrow victory for the nature restoration law, credited to a last-minute shift by Austria’s Green climate minister, Leonore Gewessler. The law, a cornerstone of the European Green Deal, mandates the restoration of at least 20% of the EU’s land and sea by the end of the decade. It also aims to reverse the decline of pollinators like bees by 2030 and includes measures to restore drained peatlands and plant at least 3 billion more trees. Gewessler’s decisive vote came despite fierce opposition from her coalition partners in Austria and intense protests from farmers. Her action led to a public clash with Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, whose party has announced plans to file criminal charges against her for alleged abuse of power. “Today’s decision is a victory for nature,” Gewessler stated on social media, emphasizing the necessity of courageous decisions for the future well-being of generations to come. The law’s passage was fraught with uncertainty until the final moments, as it required a qualified majority of 55% of member states representing at least 65% of the EU population. Key votes from Slovakia and Austria ultimately secured its approval by a mere 1.07 percentage points. Environmental campaigners have hailed the vote as a significant victory, although they criticized the concessions that diluted some of the law’s provisions. Špela Bandelj Ruiz from Greenpeace acknowledged the law as a beacon of hope for Europe’s nature and future generations. Despite the win, the law faces criticism from farming lobby groups over funding and administrative concerns, signaling ongoing legal battles ahead. Nevertheless, this decision marks a crucial step in the EU’s efforts to address the global biodiversity crisis.

Green Time Editorial Body