Today (Thursday, 1 June), Boerenbond together with Copa-Cogeca, the European agricultural organisation, will bring a clear message to Luxemburgplein in Brussels: the European Nature Restoration Law threatens to ensure that there is no more room for agriculture and horticulture in Europe.
With the nature restoration law before us today, Europe wants to improve nature and biodiversity in its member states. This is a great goal which Boerenbond and Copa-Cogeca also support, only we are very concerned about the impact this proposal will have on the availability of agricultural land and the granting of permits in Flanders and the rest of Europe. With this action, we call on policymakers to ensure that the Nature Restoration Act in its current form is not approved on the European stage.
The Nature Restoration Law is a European proposal and is the successor to the Habitats Directive. It aims to impose, through binding regulations, on all member states to undertake nature restoration. Under the European Commission's proposal, all member states must take measures to restore at least 20% of ecosystems by 2030.
The European Parliament's agriculture committee recently rejected the proposal, but both the Parliament and the European Council have yet to take a final position. This should happen before the summer.
What is the problem?
By imposing binding restoration targets for all ecosystems, a lot of farmland may be lost, especially given that European nature goals will have to be realised outside the already existing Natura 2000 areas. The extension of the non-deterioration requirement outside Natura 2000 areas would also jeopardise both existing and new permits and stifle any form of entrepreneurship. Moreover, the impact would be much more significant in Flanders than in our neighbouring countries since the pressure on open space is already much greater here than elsewhere.
What are we asking for?
A rigorous socioeconomic impact analysis at the European level is currently lacking and is a crucial prerequisite to analyse this dossier properly. Given the lack of clarity about the impact and how this Nature Restoration Law could ensure that there is no more room for agriculture and horticulture in the European picture, Boerenbond and Copa-Cogeca ask our policymakers not to approve this Nature Restoration Law and to send it back to the drawing board.