Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg (R) will be sad, as the nature restoration law appears dead. EPA-EFE/JULIEN WARNAND


Nature Restoration Law is dead, Belgian PM De Croo says


Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, whose country holds the six-month presidency of the Council of the European Union, said Europe’s proposed Nature Restoration Law has lost its qualified majority, meaning it will not be implemented.

De Croo said as much to his coalition partners during a Government meeting, Belgian media stated.

“The [Belgian] EU presidency has today made a provisional assessment that there is no qualified majority at the moment,” he said, according to a report by Belgian news agency Belga on March 20.

De Croo stated that instructions have been given to the EU Council presidency to examine how the legislation might still be unblocked. His Government was said to be assessing the situation on March 20.

Still, there is not much time left.

EU ambassadors were set to discuss the law on the same day to prepare for the vote by European environment ministers scheduled for March 25. That debate, though, has been postponed to March 22.

Belga cited European sources saying that Hungary would vote against the law, causing the delay.

Given the symbolic significance of the issue, the nature directive is set to dominate the debates of the European summit scheduled for March 21 and 22.

According to Belga, the EU sources also do not rule out the possibility that Member States which had indicated they would abstain will vote “yes” after all – and say Germany is definitely on board to green-light the regulation.

The news follows rumours a day earlier that De Croo would actively be campaigning to torpedo the European nature legislation.

Belgium stands accused of deliberately sabotaging approved “green” laws to avoid alienating elements of the domestic electorate prior to national voting on June 9, rather than acting as an honest and neutral EU-wide broker.

This possibility particularly irked the Green party, a member of the coalition Government in Belgium.

Green co-chair Jeremie Vaneeckhout reacted sharply on March 20, saying: “The Prime Minister has to decide today and in the next few days whether he still wants to be Prime Minister of this Government or whether he will go to the king [to offer his resignation].

“Either he is campaign leader or he is head of Government.”

If the Nature Restoration Law has no majority any more in Europe, it would be a huge blow to Green parties across the bloc and would also be seen as an embarrassing stain on the Green Deal, the legislative crown jewel of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and former climate Commissioner Frans Timmermans.