17 June 2024

The Environment Council adopted today the provisional agreement on the Nature restoration Law under the Belgian Presidency, after several postponements. This agreement had already been approved by European Parliament on 27 February. 

European forest owners would have welcomed a second-reading, with further work to improve the compromise agreement. Their concerns were not fully addressed. We remain doubtful that the agreed restoration targets are based on an appropriate and accurate assessment of the actual needs for restoration, and that the approach toward non-deterioration is locally-suited and flexible enough. We also question the lack of financial support in the European budget for the implementation of this regulation 

European forests are diverse, their long-time resilience needs well suited management approaches. Several examples of natural disasters have shown that we can quickly lose large areas of forests and that active and dynamic management can represents the only solution for adaptation and biodiversity conservation.

Nevertheless, European forest owners take note of the decision of the Council with some concerns and now stand ready to take an active part in the national and regional level implementation, as they are the key partners in its deployment. 

Opportunities for flexibility in the implementation at national level, set by the Regulation, are of high importance. It will be crucial that these provisions are thoroughly used by Member States.