Finland’s Environmment Minister Raises Concerns Over Uncertainty and ‘Impairment Ban’ in EU Nature Restoration Regulation

The fate of the EU’s restoration regulation is uncertain as Hungary heads to the evening milking

The Nature Restoration Regulation in the European Union, which aimed to improve the state of nature in various habitats, has faced challenges during the legislative process. Despite initially opposing the proposal last summer, Finland abstained from voting in November after tripartite negotiations added flexibilities to the regulation. However, recent developments have seen Hungary change its stance on the regulation, jeopardizing its approval.

Finland’s Environment Minister Kai Mykkänen expressed dissatisfaction with the surprises that have arisen during the final stages of the legislative process, particularly concerning the interpretation of the impairment ban and forestry limitations. Mykkänen emphasized that trust in EU decision-making processes should be upheld, especially after reaching a trilogy agreement.

The uncertainty surrounding the fate of the restoration regulation has prompted discussions among EU environment ministers, with Finland maintaining its consistent stance on the matter. Mykkänen highlighted the need for transparency and operational reliability in the EU decision-making process, expressing disappointment in the current situation of last-minute surprises.

Despite these challenges, Finland has raised concerns about widely occurring habitat types and their level of obligations to be restored under the regulation. The regulation aims to improve the state of nature in various habitats covering a significant portion of the EU’s land and sea areas by 2030 and all ecosystems in need of restoration by 2050. This would include marshes, wetlands, meadows, waterways, forests, agricultural environments, and cities.

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