EU Guidelines. A recap of the major environmental votes in parliament

With 587 votes in favor and 8 against, MEPs rubber-stamped the Waste Shipments Regulation on Tuesday, February 27. While EU garbage exports to non-EU nations reached 32.7 million tonnes in 2020, the new measure, sponsored by MEP Pernille Weiss (Denmark/EPP), will prohibit EU exports of plastic waste to developing nations or the global south two years after it becomes operative. Additionally, it will create an enforcement group to enhance collaboration amongst EU nations in the prevention and detection of illicit shipments, as well as a central electronic hub to enhance reporting and transparency across EU ships.The Nature Restoration Law, which was tentatively approved by the EU Council in November of last year following months of intensely politicized negotiations, was approved 329 to 275 in the plenary on Tuesday, February 27, in response to pressure from the right and conservatives to abandon it over worries about food security. According to the European Environment Agency, over 80% of European habitats are in bad condition. However, a bill led by MP César Luena (Spain/S&D) aims to restore at least 20% of the EU’s land and marine regions by 2030 and all degraded ecosystems by 2050. With a goal of planting three billion trees, it sets obligations and targets on a number of fronts, including farms, pollinators, rivers, forests, and urban areas, in order to graduallyThe Environmental Crime Directive was passed on Tuesday, February 27, with 499 votes in favor and 100 against—yet another perfect rubber stamp. The initiative, spearheaded by Dutch lawmaker Antonius Manders (EPP), adds unlawful timber trading and depletion of water resources to the list of environmental crimes. The new law intends to bring accountability for environmental crime offenders by fining companies up to 5% of their global turnover, or €40 million, and punishing individual offenders up to ten years in prison. The parliament ranks environmental crime as the fourth most pervasive criminal activity in the world.The Regulation on Wholesale Energy Market Integrity and Transparency (REMIT), a response to the prices that skyrocketed when Russia invaded Ukraine, was approved on Thursday, February 29, with 440 votes in favor and 32 against. The bill, spearheaded by Portuguese/EPP MEP Maria da Graça Carvalho, aims to reduce energy price volatility in the event of unforeseen emergencies. The primary objective of REMIT is to protect customers from speculative activities that may raise prices and disrupt supply. The purpose of the new law is to make regulatory organizations, like the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER), more powerful.

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