EU poised to approve plan to meet climate goals despite farmers’ protests

28 February 2024, 11:44

Farmers' demo
APTOPIX Belgium EU Agriculture. Picture: PA

The plans have been rendered less progressive thanks to major protests across the bloc and political opposition.

The European Union is on the brink of approving a major plan to fight climate change and better protect nature in the bloc after protests from farmers and opposition from the biggest party in parliament led it to be diluted.

The plan is a key part of the EU’s European Green Deal that seeks to establish the world’s most ambitious climate and biodiversity targets and make the EU the global point of reference on all climate issues.

The Nature Restoration plan has had a rough ride through the EU’s complicated approval process, and a watered-down version will proceed to a final vote by member states, where it is expected to survive.

Noor Yafai of the global environmental group The Nature Conservancy said: “Today’s vote to get the Nature Restoration Law over the finish line offers fresh hope for Europe’s ability to combat the worst effects of climate change and biodiversity loss for decades to come.”

Polish farmers
Polish farmers have also staged a protest against European Union green policies (AP)

Under the plan, member states would have to meet restoration targets for specific habitats and species, with the aim of covering at least 20% of the region’s land and sea areas by 2030.

But quarrels over exemptions and flexibility clauses allowing member states to skirt the rules plagued negotiations.

The bill was adopted earlier by a 329-275 vote with 24 abstentions after the centre-right Christian Democratic European People’s Party (EPP) of Commission President Ursula von der Leyen decided to vote against it.

Socialist S&D legislator Cesar Luena, who led the bill through parliament, said: “Today is an important day for Europe as we move from protecting and conserving nature to restoring it.

“The new law will also help us to fulfil many of our international environmental commitments.”

The plan has lost some of its progressive edge during negotiations since last summer because of fierce opposition from the EPP, which along with other conservatives and the far right has insisted the plans would undermine food security, fuel inflation and hurt farmers.

Poland Farmers' Protest
Some farmers believe the European Union’s green policies that trim their production (AP)

Philippe Lambert, co-president of the Greens group, said: “It has not been shut down, so it’s still flying. It is imperfect. It is incomplete. It lacks ambition.

“But at least we have a foundation on which to build in the next term.”

The EPP has been a vocal backer of the farming community, which has been against any additional rules that would make their profession more complicated, bureaucratic and expensive. Farmers have been protesting throughout the bloc for weeks.

EPP leader Manfred Weber said: “We are implementing additional bureaucratic rules for our farmers in a time where food production and food prices are having a direct impact.”

Despite the droughts, floods and heat waves that have swept through many areas in Europe, Mr Weber called for a pause on such environmental action in order to protect economic competitiveness.

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

The Israeli Iron Dome air defence system launches to intercept missiles fired from Iran

Israel hails ‘success’ in blocking Iran’s unprecedented attack

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned that the Middle East is 'on the brink'

'The Middle East is on the brink,' UN chief warns, as Israel approves plan of attack after huge Iranian onslaught

Elections 2024 Media Debates

News organisations urge Joe Biden and Donald Trump to agree to debates

Damien Guerot stepped in in Sydney

Builder who wielded bollard to defend children from rampaging Sydney knifeman says attacker's 'eyes were empty'

The IDF said over 300 weapons were fired by Iran.

Israel approves plan of attack after foiling massive Iran onslaught, as world leaders call for 'stabilisation'

Russia Ukraine War

More civilians die in Ukraine amid warning US aid delays will hamper Kyiv forces

Bill Nighy

Bill Nighy and Paloma Faith join celebrities demanding Government act over Sudan

Dawn Singleton was among six victims of the stabbings

Police officer fiancé of Sydney stabbing victim 'discovered she had been killed after being scrambled to the scene'

The IDF said over 300 weapons were fired by Iran.

Israel says Iran conflict 'not over' and vows to 'collect a price when timing is right', as US urges restraint

Poland Abortion

Polish opponents of abortion march against recent steps to liberalise strict law

Five of the six victims from the stabbing have been named.

Victims of Sydney stabbings named as heartbroken tributes flood in following attack by knifeman who killed six

A demonstrator waves Iranian and Palestinian flags during an anti-Israeli gathering at the Felestin (Palestine) Square in Tehran, Iran

What is the fallout from Iran’s attack on Israel?

Joe Biden has reaffirmed the US's commitment to defending Israel's security.

Biden reaffirms ‘ironclad support' of Israel as he plans G7 meeting to coordinate ‘diplomatic response to Iran attack’

The IDF said over 300 weapons were fired by Iran.

‘Together we will win’: Netanyahu vows to fight off attacks from Iran after over 300 drones and missiles fired at Israel

Israeli's military have fought off a massive Iranian drone and missile attack - downing more than 200 weapons launched by the hostile state with the help of ace RAF pilots.

Israel fights off massive Iran attack - downing over 200 missiles and drones with help of RAF

Plans have been drawn up for an evacuation of Brits from the Middle East. Defence Secretary Grant Shapps (l) and protesters outside the British Embassy in Tehran (r)

Brits living in the Middle East could be rescued by the Royal Marines in 'Dunkirk-style' evacuation