MEPs jump huge hurdle in race to restore nature: facts prevail over “fake news” in crucial environment committee vote

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A key vote in Strasbourg has kept hopes alive for the livelihoods of millions of workers and the wellbeing of the planet. Voting today [15 June] on the draft Nature Restoration Law, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) committee voted down, with a rare tied vote, an attempt by conservative, far right and some liberal MEPs to reject the law. 

Led primarily by the European People’s Party (EPP) and its chair, German MEP Manfred Weber, conservatives launched a fake news crusade against the law and new environmental rules in general. The populist arguments they have been using have been widely lambasted by experts from across a broad spectrum, including businesses, scientists, civil society organizations and the public who all point to the wealth of evidence showing that nature restoration is vital if the EU is to protect livelihoods of fishers and farmers, create sustainable tourism and coastal economies, preserve food systems, and fight climate change.

MEPs have started the arduous process of voting on the over-200 pages of amendments to the law, but scheduling in Strasbourg means that multiple amendments plus the final vote on the law as a whole have been postponed until 27 June in Brussels. The majority of votes were rejected due to results being tied 44-44, so every vote will count to get a strong Nature Restoration Law over the line.

Speaking after the vote, Tatiana Nuno, Senior Marine Policy Officer at Seas at Risk, said:

“Today, members of the Environment committee have taken a first step towards restoring marine life and ecosystems across Europe. The Nature Restoration Law is key to fighting climate change, protecting biodiversity and securing the future of Europe’s fishers. We celebrate the fact that MEPs have voted down attempts to kill the law before it even went to plenary. Now, the fight continues – we need to stop right wing attacks on nature when we need it most.”

Nicolas Fournier, Campaign Director for Marine Protection at Oceana in Europe, said:

“Today’s close but unresolved vote in the Environment Committee is a reassuring message that a narrow majority of progressive MEPs oppose the rejection of the Nature Restoration Law, defeating the toxic misinformation campaign run by conservative parties. We urge these MEPs, sensitive to understanding that the prosperity of society depends on the quality of the environment, to speak up for nature when Parliament concludes the vote at the end of the month and make legacy in the run-up to the 2024 EU elections.”

Gonçalo Carvalho, Executive Coordinator at Sciaena, said:

“Today’s vote was proof that democracy must run on dialog and consensus and not on polarized positions. MEPs want to continue discussing Nature Restoration Law and that proves that there Is a vision that humankind and nature can coexist in a more harmonious way. We will have to wait till June 27 to understand if our concerns in terms of marine conservation were adopted by the MEPs. But today Democracy won and that must be celebrated.”



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