EU states are requried to take measures by 2030 to restore 30% of habitats in ecosystems that are in a bad condition, then 60% by 2040 and 90% by 2050 Image: Tesson/ANDBZ/abaca/picture alliance
EU agrees on biodiversity law to restore nature

Negotiators from the European Parliament and EU member states agreed on Thursday on a landmark biodiversity bill that will require countries in the block to restore 20% of European Union land and sea habitats by 2030.

The EU Nature Restoration Law also sets a deadline of 2050 to restore all damaged ecosystems.

According to EU data, 80% of the block's habitats are in poor condition. Additionally, 10% of bee and butterfly species face extinction, and 70% of soils are unhealthy.

The law still has to be formally approved by the EU member states and the European Parliament, a move that is normally just a formality. 

Aim is to rebuild healthy biodiversity

"We can be proud of this historic result setting ambitious and workable rules for all," Pascal Canfin, the head of the parliament's environment committee, said.

Teresa Ribera Rodriguez, Spain's minister for ecological transition, heralded "the first of its kind" law saying, "It will help us rebuild healthy biodiversity levels across member states and preserve nature for the future generations, while fighting climate change."

Spain holds the EU's rotating presidency.

Some requirements watered-down

The agreement comes after intense negotiations over the environmental regulations' impact on industries and farming.

The conservative European People's Party (EPP) strongly opposed the plan and especially the requirement "to renature 10% of farmland."

The EPP's opposition resulted in a mostly watered down version of the bill being agreed upon.

Amid debates, some proposed targets, like peatland restoration, were scaled back. Peatlands are water-logged ecosystems like bogs, which can contribute to fighting climate change because of their capacity to store CO2 emissions.

Brussels also agreed to increased funding for nature-boosting measures in case member countries needed it.