EEP Group

Fine Gael MEPs to support Nature Restoration Law

Published: Tue, 27 February 2024

Share this

The five Fine Gael MEPs have confirmed that they will vote in favour of the EU’s proposed Nature Restoration Law during plenary votes at the European Parliament, Strasbourg today (Tuesday). The new law sets EU plans to restore at least 20% of the EU’s land and sea areas by 2030 and all ecosystems by 2050. Welcoming the law as “significant”, MEPs Seán Kelly, Frances Fitzgerald, Deirdre Clune, Maria Walsh and Colm Markey say the final agreement achieves a balance between action to improve biodiversity, while safeguarding food security and guaranteeing that restoration measures will be voluntary for farmers.

Speaking on behalf of the MEPs before today’s vote, Seán Kelly MEP said:

“My Fine Gael colleagues and I have been clear from the outset that action to restore nature in Ireland cannot happen without the support of the agricultural community and industry. Farmers and fishers are the custodians of our environment and they recognise the need to take action to tackle biodiversity loss. It is clear, however, that many in the agricultural community have concerns with the proposed law, so it is important that we get the communication of the flexibilities secured right.

“Food security is now a central objective of this regulation and this has been assured by amendments from the Parliament.

“This is not some sort of ‘land grab’ and that needs to be made abundantly clear. Obligations to deliver on this law do not lie with individual farmers and landowners. It is up to the government to lead on restoration measures, assisted by farmers who can choose to take voluntary measures outside of these areas – and they will be financially assisted if they do so. The government has stated that voluntary commitments by farmers will not impact their eligibility for payments under the CAP or other EU schemes.”

“No farmer will be forced to hand over any land under the requirements of this legislation.”

“When it comes to rewetting, it is true that this law proposes legally binding targets for restoration of drained organic soils under agricultural management. However, the European Parliament has achieved enhanced flexibility for Ireland when it comes to rewetting and the Irish government has outlined that state lands will be available to contribute to almost all of the rewetting commitments laid out in the text.”

“If the Nature Restoration Law is adopted, the next stage of the process will be an in-depth consultation with farmers and fishers who will have an opportunity to contribute to Ireland’s own national restoration plan, which will be tailored to their needs.

“Fine Gael MEPs have always supported enabling Member States and agricultural stakeholders to review the progress of the regulation at regular intervals, while allowing for flexibility to amend their approaches based on the food security and environmental needs of each country.

“Irish farmers and fishers are leaders in Europe when it comes to delivering on environmental action and producing sustainable food. Restoring nature is something that stakeholders agree needs to happen, as MEPs our focus will now be on the fair and effective implementation of any legislation”, Kelly said.

We use cookies to improve our website and your experience when using it. Cookies used for the essential operation of this site have already been set. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.