Le premier ministre belge, Alexander De Croo, à Ostande, le 24 May 2023. GEERT VANDEN WIJNGAERT / AP
An air of “already heard”. Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo declared himself, Tuesday, May 23, in favor of a European regulatory “pause” on environmental standards.
“What must be avoided now is overloading the boat by adding to the CO2 emission objectives, for example, new nitrogen dioxide standards, new standards linked to the law on the restoration of the natural environment , new standards in the field of biodiversity,” said the Flemish liberal leader on the Dutch-language television channel VRT.
The Belgian Prime Minister is thus following in the footsteps of Emmanuel Macron, who on May 11 called for a “European regulatory pause” in environmental matters, believing that the European Union (EU) had done “more than all the neighbors” and that she now “needed stability”.
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Difficult negotiations around the “Green Pact”
While the bulk of the EU’s climate plan has been adopted (reform of the carbon market, end of sales of combustion engine cars, etc.), negotiations are difficult for other key texts of the European “Green Deal” on biodiversity , pesticides, or polluting emissions from farms.
“I ask to press the pause button, but not regarding CO2. For CO2 we must keep our full ambition, but for the other subjects, I ask to see if it is the right time to do everything at the same time”, declared Alexander De Croo.
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He said he feared “a situation where there are so many rules that our industry can no longer manage them (…) and then we will not meet our CO2 emission reduction targets, because it is the industry that will have to implement them”. He also worried about the risk of “losing the momentum that currently exists to deal with climate change”, and of “generalized skepticism”.
“Alexander De Croo’s statements are mind-blowing. I have no other word. The erosion of biodiversity is as worrying as climate change, ”reacted on Twitter Jean-Marc Nollet, co-president of the Ecolo party, coalition partner of Mr. De Croo. “If we want to keep a habitable planet, if we want to give a better future to our children, there is no question of pressing the ‘pause’ button”, he added.
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The main political force in the European Parliament, the EPP group (right), is calling for “a moratorium” on these legislative projects linked to pesticides and the restoration of nature, being alarmed at an impact that is too heavy for farmers and ” threats” to food security.
On Tuesday, the Agriculture Committee of the European Parliament spoke out against one of these key texts, which imposes on Member States objectives for the restoration of ecosystems in land and sea areas damaged by pollution or intensive exploitation. .
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