EU countries divided over nature law, in the latest setback to the green agenda

EU countries divided over nature law, in the latest setback to the green agenda

The European Union’s hallmark program to repair damaged nature is in jeopardy, with a vote scheduled for Monday called off after Hungary abruptly withdrew its support for the plan.

On Monday, a vote on the law among EU countries’ environment ministers was called off after Hungary said last week it would no longer back the policy – wiping out the already-slim-reinforced majority of countries in favour.

The nature law is the latest EU environmental policy to face criticism as policymakers attempt to respond to months of angry farmer protests over complaints, including strict green EU regulations. To quell the protests, the EU has already weakened many green rules.

To pacify these demonstrations, the EU has already lowered several environmental regulations.

Aniko Raisz, Hungary’s environment secretary, stated that her refusal to support the measure does not contradict her commitment to environmental protection.

“The agricultural sector is a very important sector, not only in Hungary, but everywhere in Europe,” Hungary’s state secretary for environment Aniko Raisz told reporters.

Environment ministers were scheduled to meet on Monday afternoon to discuss the next steps under the law, with some, including Spain’s Teresa Ribera, warning against abolishing the program.

“We can’t give up. I urge member states to reach a breakthrough on this law,” German Environment Minister Steffi Lemke said.

The bill would be one of the EU’s most ambitious environmental initiatives, forcing countries to implement measures to restore nature on one-fifth of their land and sea by 2030.

Its goal is to restore 81% of Europe’s natural ecosystems that are classified as in bad condition. However, some governments and parliamentarians have objected to the concept, fearing that it would impose costly regulations on farmers or clash with other businesses.

Other nations, including Italy, Poland, and Sweden, have expressed opposition to the measure, while Belgium and Austria are expected to abstain, according to European Union officials.

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