Publication date

June 15, 2023

In recent weeks, part of the European Parliament has chosen to boycott discussions on the draft regulation for “nature restoration”.

This is quite unprecedented, as debates usually get bogged down and, rather than facing outright refusal, many texts are drained of their substance through endless negotiations. But what’s at stake here is a pre-election battle (already!). And it doesn’t bode well: those who are trying to convince us that we can’t ensure our food security without continuing to destroy the soil, water and forests are the same people who have caused setbacks to the European Green Deal. The European Commission has already suggested revising its proposals so as not to include obligations to achieve results, but only to make a reasonable effort. Not even an obligation of means…

Meanwhile, the European Central Bank has just published an analysis of the risks posed to the banking system by the decline in biodiversity:  “Nearly 75 per cent of all bank loans in the euro area are to companies that are highly dependent on at least one ecosystem service. […] If nature degradation continues as now, these companies will suffer and banks’ credit portfolios will become riskier,” writes Franck Elderson, member of the Executive Board of the Frankfurt institution, in an article published on 8 June on the BCE blog.

The Commission is proposing practical measures to protect nature in the city.

Member States should achieve 10% green and blue spaces in urban areas by 2040, and at least 15% by 2050. Most of these spaces should be legally protected. Cities are already very active and more ambitious, and nature within the city ensures a better quality of life and the resilience of urban spaces, a necessary solution for combating heat islands and improving food security…

It is yet another directive that introduces specific obligations for towns and cities, without involving them in the governance of the policies that will make these goals possible. The Commission needs to work hand in hand with local authorities. They are the ones who can build alliances with businesses that depend on healthy ecosystems, and with vulnerable social groups who, without (at least!) municipal agricultural, energy and economic policies, will not have access to the basic necessities of living.

Backing down in the face of blackmail and fear is no longer an option

(Although it never should have been in any case…)

PS : on the 15th of June, Members of the Environment Committee of the European Parliament voted 44 against and 44 in favor of the continuation of the legislative process. The proposed regulation will be examined.

*”No nature, no food” is a Campaign slogan of the Greens/the European Free Alliance (EFA) – a European Parliamentary Group