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The EU has adopted a new law to restore nature. Why was Poland against it? “It's a shame”

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Nature won in the European Union, although Poland and five other countries were against it. The new law on nature restoration does not impose any obligations or restrictions on private landowners, but the Polish government preferred to vote “no” – because fear of farmers' protests was unofficially said to be the reason. The official reasons are different.

Wild and healthy rivers, lakes, forests and peat bogs – these are to be the images of the future – instead of cutting down, concreting and draining. The EU has just adopted a new law to restore nature. – This is an absolutely historic moment – emphasizes Katarzyna Wiekiera from the “Pracownia na Wszystkich Estot” Association. – This is a great plan to repair (…) our continent, the environment in which we live – says Professor Piotr Skubała, an ecologist and environmental ethicist from the University of Silesia.

The law was created to better combat the effects of the climate crisis, mitigate droughts, prevent the effects of flash floods and heatwaves, and to secure Europe's water, fertile and healthy soils and biodiversity. – There will be no food security in the world when the natural environment is destroyed – warned Eamon Ryan, Ireland's environment minister.

– 20 percent of restored land and sea habitats is the goal we want to achieve at the European Union level – says Marta Klimkiewicz from the “ClientEarth Lawyers for the Earth” Foundation. This 20 percent is the target for 2030. By 2050, all systems that need it are to be rebuilt. 20 countries voted for this law. There were six against: Italy, Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands, Hungary and Poland. Belgium abstained.

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READ ALSO: New EU nature protection rules. Poland among the countries that were against it

How do Minister Hennig-Kloska and Prime Minister Tusk explain Poland's opposition?

– I think it was a mistake of the Polish government – comments Małgorzta Tracz, an MP from the Civic Coalition. – It is a shame, especially since the Coalition on October 15 assumed the implementation of these demands in its coalition agreement – says Professor Piotr Skubała.

Why was Poland against it if the Ministry of Climate and Environment recommended the adoption of this law? – It's not about “if”, but really about “how”. Poland supports the reconstruction of natural resources – replied Paulina Hennig-Kloska, Minister of Climate and Environment.

– The problem is a certain type of orders and obligations that are imposed on member states without ensuring financing from the European Union – this is how Prime Minister Donald Tusk explained the Polish position.

However, it is unofficially known that the government was afraid of a repeat of the farmers' protests, although this law is completely different from the Green Deal and the farmers' demands were met.

– It does not introduce any obligations or restrictions for private land owners, including farmers – emphasizes Marta Klimkiewicz.

Wojciechowski: every farmer can throw the Green Deal into the trash on his own, just don't take subsidiesJakub Sobieniowski/Fakty TVN

Scandal in the Austrian government. The minister voted “for” against the will of the coalition partners

The fate of the nature restoration law was in the balance until the last moment. They were accepted thanks to Austria changing its mind.

– Today is the day to act and adopt regulations for nature restoration. Therefore, Austria will support this law – this is what Leonore Gewessler, Austria's Minister of the Environment, argued just before the vote.

Right after she said that Austria was “in favor”, a scandal broke out in the government. The Chancellor of Austria from the Austrian People's Party stated that the minister from the Green Party did not have the government's authorization and voted against the will of her coalition partner. – The Minister of the Environment has violated the law and this will have consequences – wrote Karl Nehammer, Chancellor of Austria, on the “X” platform.

Karl Nehammer did not decide to dissolve the government. Instead, the Austrian Christian Democrats will sue their minister for abuse of office, and they want to appeal the new law on nature restoration to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

There is still no agreement on the EU's positions.  Charles Michel: the discussion is heading in the right direction

There is still no agreement on the EU's positions. Charles Michel: the discussion is heading in the right directionMaciej Sokołowski/Fakty TVN

Main photo source: TVN24



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