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World Environment Day - European Greens urge EU Council’s approval of the Nature Restoration Law

By European Greens
Climate World Environment Day - European Greens urge EU Council’s approval of the Nature Restoration Law
WED, 05 JUN 2024 LISTEN

As floods continue to spread in Italy, Germany, Austria and Hungary, the European Greens are pressing national governments to approve the Nature Restoration Law, which contains numerous measures to restore nature and prevent catastrophic flooding, and is pending the Council’s green light — after being approved by the European Parliament already in February.

Terry Reintke, European Green lead candidate, said: “Our thoughts are with the victims’ families and everyone in Germany and Italy affected by this disaster. The situation is dire, and we are grateful to the many people providing assistance in these severe conditions. As the frequency of catastrophic floods increases, there is growing awareness that environmental protection equates to human protection. Europe must restore nature to shield us from such floods. We support the effort being spear-headed by Irish Environment Minister Eamon Ryan to ensure that member states approve the Nature Restoration Law at the upcoming EU Council meeting in June. On this World Environment Day, we remind that the climate crisis will not take a pause, so we cannot take a pause on climate action.”

In the European Parliament, the European Greens led a slim majority to pass the Nature Restoration Law on 27 February 2024, with 329 votes in favour, despite fierce opposition of Manfred Weber’s (CSU/EPP) coalition of conservative, liberal, and far-right MEPs. But Member State leaders in the European Council have stalled on this legislation. Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, holding the Council Presidency, deemed the law “bad” and suggested revisiting it post-European elections in June, ignoring the Parliament’s approval in February. However, in May, Irish Environment Minister Eamon Ryan (Green Party) secured support to approve the law from ten other ministers, including from Germany, France, Spain, Denmark, Luxembourg, Czechia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Estonia, and Cyprus.

Bas Eickhout, European Green candidate, added: “The climate crisis is here, and it’s hitting us hard. Vegetation and reforestation can help manage water retention, so we can mitigate floods, droughts, and extreme weather exacerbated by climate change. Europe must intensify its efforts to prevent these disasters by addressing their root cause, climate change. The Green Deal is not a sprint, it is a marathon, and we need to keep moving forward. That is why this week’s elections are so important to have Greens in the European parliament that push climate policies forward. The first step is for the European Council to follow the will of the European Parliament, and adopt the Nature Restoration Law. These catastrophic floods make clear once more that climate inaction is costlier than climate action.”

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Started: 02-07-2024 | Ends: 31-10-2024

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