Christian Democrats’ Ecological Restoration: A Nature’s Maneuver

We were expecting a hot vote on the text in the Environment Committee, it was hot. Before the result turns into an icy shower for the defenders of the project of this controversial regulation which will be submitted, in a few days, to all the deputies during a ballot at the end of the most uncertain.

The text had already escaped in extremis, on June 15, a block rejection demanded by the right-wing political groups in the Environment Committee (Comenvi). And due to lack of time, his examination could not be finalized.

Twelve days later, on June 27, no majority emerged in the vote organized by the same committee.

44 MEPs supported the amended draft text and 44 opposed it.

In the absence of this majority, Comenvi is required to present to all MEPs a motion to reject the European Commission’s proposal. Then, if this motion is not adopted, parliamentarians will immediately examine amendments to the text.

The disappointment of the rapporteur of the text

The tension at the end of the vote quickly gave way to the (great) disappointment of the rapporteur of the text, the Spanish social democrat Cesar Luena.

“We have heard a lot of lies, but you have to have a certain dignity in politics, you have to argue on the basis of precise data” developed the Spanish socialist, assuring that this law guarantees food security, benefits farmers while registering for the good health of businesses and the economy of the EU.

“This law allows us to mitigate the consequences of climate change, improve the health of ecosystems and ensure a habitable planet for future generations. It is therefore worth working to allow it to continue its path in our institutions,” he further pleaded.

While in the space of four years, Europe has managed to develop and provide vaccines extremely quickly to its population to stem a pandemic, has been able to react to a war at its doorstep, Mr. Luena refuses to believe that it would be incapable of adopting a law in favor of biodiversity and nature.

And to solemnly ask the right of the hemicycle to clearly answer this question.

He also assured the press that he would continue to “extend a hand, both hands to the EPP Group to negotiate” before the plenary session this July, on the basis of the compromises that had been prepared in recent weeks but also of the negotiating position of the European Council adopted on 20 June.

The cold anger of Pascal Canfin

The president of the Comenvi, the French centrist Pascal Canfin, meanwhile, did not mince words against his EPP colleagues, responsible for the rejection of the draft proposal.

He denounced the fact that a significant number of members of the EPP group sitting in the Committee on the Environment had been replaced during the vote by substitute EPP MEPs, who are members of the Committees on Agriculture and Fisheries – two committees who rejected the proposal.

“Those who would have liked to vote in favor of this text have been put out of play,” said Mr Canfin, adding that it is “a manipulation orchestrated by Manfred Weber (president of the EPP group, editor’s note) “.

Ecologist Yannick Jadot denounced a “pathetic” right which “claimed to love nature” but “is now ready to ransack it to align itself with the far right”.

Manipulation and frontal opposition by the EPP

“If people had voted freely in conscience across all groups, I can tell you there was a very clear majority in support of the Nature Restoration Act. It is appalling to see a political group manipulating a vote in this way. We will have to learn the lessons of this unfortunate experience, ”said Pascal Canfin again in front of the press.

It is worth recalling that a majority of EPP-leaning governments (Romania, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Ireland, Greece, etc.) had found a compromise allowing them to vote in favor of the text during the Council of European Ministers for Agriculture of June 20, when we witnessed total opposition from this same party in the Environment Committee.

However, the maneuver will be impossible in plenary. The parliament as a whole will now be required to take a position, presumably during the July plenary session in Strasbourg, subject to the approval of the agenda by the Conference of Presidents.

The EPP group, for its part, considers that it would be necessary to wait until September to organize the vote in plenary, the July session being already very full with in particular the vote on another sensitive file for Agriculture: the revision of the directive on Industrial Emissions (IED).

The Copa resists, the commission persists

The left and environmentalists are convinced that there is “still time to save this law”, arguing that “the future of farmers, fishermen, businesses or the economy rests on the restoration of natural ecosystems”.

A position diametrically opposed to that of Copa-Cogeca, which had already shown itself “appalled” by the fact that the European Ministers of the Environment did not reject the text. “This lack of consensus proves that the commission’s initial proposal is poorly constructed, starting with the total inconsistency between the ambition displayed and the lack of funding proposed” had underlined the union organization.

But the European Commission continues to affirm that in the event of rejection of the proposal in plenary, it will not present, for lack of time in particular, a new project under this legislature.

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