Austrian Minister defies coalition partner to support EU nature conservation law

VIENNA (Reuters) – Austria’s Environment Minister, Leonore Gwessler, of the Greens, defied the conservative coalition partners by pledging on Sunday to cast Austria’s vote in favor of an European nature restoration legislation, potentially tipping Brussels’ balance.

The EU’s environment ministers are meeting in Luxembourg to discuss the flagship policy of the bloc to restore nature damaged. They may also vote to implement it.

This law will be one of the EU’s most important environmental policies. It requires member states to implement measures to restore nature on a five-percentage of their land or sea by 2030.

“The time has come for decisiveness.” “I will vote for the EU Nature Restoration Law Monday,” she said at a press conference called on short notice.

The EU had intended to vote on the policy in march, but Hungary withdrew unexpectedly its support. This wiped out the thin majority of those in favor.

Austria’s new position will give this policy enough support for it to become law, if other countries do not follow suit.

Hungary, Italy and the Netherlands have all said that they do not support this policy. However, without Austria, they are still one country away from being able block it.

This law is at a razor’s edge. Gewessler added that a majority at the European Level is not certain.

Gewessler’s statement angered the conservative People’s Party of Chancellor Karl Nehammer (OVP), who opposes this law. Gewessler’s announcement angered the conservative People’s Party (OVP), which controls the Agriculture Ministry.

Karoline Edtstadler of the OVP, who is in charge of EU and constitutional matters, stated that it would be unconstitutional if Gewessler had voted for without approval from the Agriculture Ministry.

Edtstadler, on X, said: “This must and will have a legal consequence.”

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