EU environment commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius in June 2022 unveils proposals to slash pesticide use and restore ecosystems. With half a dozen member states blocking the final adoption of the Nature Restoration Law, a key element of the EU’s flagship Green Deal, Hungary is being singled out for withholding its previous support. A minority of EU members have once again prevented the adoption of legislation designed to reverse decades of ecosystem degradation and honour a global agreement to halt biodiversity loss.

The Nature Restoration Law was proposed in 2022 just months before the EU was instrumental in securing a global agreement to protect 30% of the earth’s land and sea under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. But the future of the key piece of Green Deal legislation, which scraped through the European Parliament despite a bid to torpedo it by the large, conservative European People’s Party and right-wing allies, is now looking increasingly uncertain.

Diplomats reopened the file today (22 March) at a scheduled meeting two days after Belgium, as EU Council presidency holder, postponed a vote when it became clear there was insufficient support from member states. Itself compelled to abstain due to opposition from its northern Flemish region, Belgium failed to muster the necessary qualified majority to approve a legislative compromise struck with MEPs and adopted by the European Parliament last month.

A presidency source said the planned vote was taken of the agenda and would be rescheduled for a future meeting “in due time”. It has also been withdrawn from the agenda of a summit of EU environment ministers on 25 March, where it was hoped the law would get the final rubber stamp.

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Source: Euronews Green

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