The main groups in the Environmental Committee have reached an agreement text on the Nature Restoration Law late this evening. “This evening the ENVI shadow rapporteurs of the Nature Restoration Law arrived at a package deal, which will be brought to the vote in the ENVI committee on 15th June” a short joint statement reads.
While the EPP group walked out, excluding itself from the process, “the negotiators from the other groups continued to reach for a compromise and have landed on a common text”.
This statement comes from S&D, Renew, Greens/EFA and the Left groups, and emphasises that work continues. Even ECR and ID remained for the negotiations today, though they are unlikely to support a final agreement. This however further isolates EPP.
It is not the case that all MEPs are necessarily fully on board yet, with four MEPs not in the groups that made the joint statement. The ENVI vote on the 15th June is still too close to call, but it is now much tighter than it appeared just a few short days ago.
At the start of this meeting today, the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) withdrew from the political process on the Nature Restoration Law (NRL) altogether. The group released a statement today, blaming the context of the war in Ukraine, claiming that “the proposal was bad in the first place and our concerns remain unanswered“. However, late this evening (31/05/23) it appears a deal may be in the offing.
However there is still work to be done to convince 45 or more MEPs, including the four non-aligned MEPs, to vote against the rejection amendment, to support compromise amendments and support the final vote. Then the file can progress.
Nature Restoration in Ireland – Parliament and Protest
In Ireland, a protest and parliamentary debate was held today (31st) on the NRL, in light on ongoing controversies over in particular rewetting. ARC’s Oliver Moore revealed the EPP walkout early at this event (see video in thread below)
The Dáil (Parliamentary) debate itself was initially quite factual, with the Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue dispelling myths in a quite even-handed way.
Watch it here:
However as the minutes and then hours rolled on, the entire debate eventually descended into chaos. A group of rural populist elected representatives engaged in an animated conversation with a minister, which resulted in the dissolution of the debate itself. In truth, it was probably drawing to a close by then. (you can watch the chaos here and here)