Ireland has led a call for the Nature Restoration Law to be adopted by the European Union (EU).

The move from Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan and Minister of State for Nature Malcolm Noonan, calling for the law to be passed at the next Environment Council meeting in June, has been supported by 10 other member states.

A letter signed by Ireland, Germany, France, Spain, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Slovenia, Estonia and Cyprus has been sent to the other 16 countries across the bloc.

The letter said member states should show leadership and unity in adopting the Nature Restoration Law at the Environment Council meeting on 17 June, a meeting of the environment ministers from the 27 EU countries.


“The ongoing absence of a qualified majority for the carefully negotiated provisional agreement on the Nature Restoration Law is very worrying.

“Such backtracking on previously agreed compromises, the result of long months of negotiation, jeopardises our democratic institutions and calls into question the EU policy-making process,” it said.

This comes following the Nature Restoration Law being withdrawn from the agenda of two European Commission meetings in March, as a number of EU member states indicated that they would abstain or vote against the law.

This meant there would be no qualified majority to pass it.

After a period of debate and negotiation, a provisional political agreement on the Nature Restoration Law was reached in November 2023.

Urgent action

Minister Ryan said urgent and decisive action is needed to get the law over the line.

“Failure to do so would be a carte blanche to destroy nature and would fundamentally undermine public faith in the EU’s political leadership at home and internationally,” he said.

He added that restoring nature will protect food security in Europe.

“Europe is the fastest-warming continent in the world and is facing unprecedented impacts from the intertwined nature and climate crises.

“Restoring ecosystems is essential to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change and to safeguard European food security,” he said.

On the wavering support for the Nature Restoration Law, Minister Noonan said it would be “unconscionable” if it is not passed.

“We will have to go to the United Nations (UN) Biodiversity Conference in October later this year and say we are resiling from our international promises to protect our lands and seas.

“Worse, we will seriously undermine efforts across the EU to restore our damaged and degraded ecosystems,” he added.