site.btaMEP Radan Kanev: European Nature Restoration Law Beneficial for Bulgaria, Will Provide Funding for Maritsa Iztok Mines Restoration

MEP Radan Kanev: European Nature Restoration Law Beneficial for Bulgaria, Will Provide Funding for Maritsa Iztok Mines Restoration
MEP Radan Kanev: European Nature Restoration Law Beneficial for Bulgaria, Will Provide Funding for Maritsa Iztok Mines Restoration
MEP Radan Kanev (BTA Photo)

The European Parliament (EP) Tuesday adopted a law to restore 20% of the EU's land and sea areas by 2030 and all ecosystems in need of restoration by 2050. "This is a policy that Bulgaria has been implementing for a long time. The point is that now there is expected to be much more serious funding for it," MEP Radan Kanev (Democrats for Strong Bulgaria/European People's Party) told BTA. 

Meeting the requirements of this law is not expected to be a major challenge for Bulgaria; what is more, its adoption is beneficial for this country. "For example, to provide funding for the restoration of those open-pit mines, mainly in the Maritsa basin – the Maritsa Iztok mines - that are no longer in use," Kanev pointed out.

An enterprise is to be set up in which the people who are currently employed in the mines will continue to work for their restoration. However, there is not enough funding available for these large-scale projects. "With the adoption of the nature restoration law, we can count on such projects to become a priority for European funding," the Bulgarian MEP underlined.

"Bulgaria will thus be able to carry out this major work, which is important for the environment, for people's health and for securing jobs in these areas, with partial or full EU funding," he explained.

While the law states that over 80% of European habitats are in poor shape, Bulgaria is one of the countries that has the least problems implementing this legislation, Kanev noted. Bulgaria has many preserved habitats and wildlife. "We are not a densely populated country like the Netherlands or Belgium, where the biggest protests against this law took place, as they are completely built up and [such areas] are used for agriculture," he added.

The deal agreed with Member States was adopted with 329 votes in favour, 275 against and 24 abstentions. It now also has to be adopted by Council, before being published in the EU Official Journal and entering into force 20 days later.

It provides for damaged areas in nature affected by various industrial activities to be restored so that they are once again part of a healthy environment - both in urban areas and in industrial areas around industrial sites.

The law will come into force this year and the budgets for the coming years should include resources for the restoration of natural habitats, Kanev noted. 

He said that the big controversy in the previous reading of this legislation in the EP was related to requirements that parts of agricultural areas should periodically remain unexploited in order to be able to restore a larger part of biodiversity. However, the EP rejected these proposals, and within the agreement reached, the farmers' interests were protected.

In its original version, the nature restoration law aggravated the farmers' situation, "even affecting their property rights, because some of the land they bought or leased had to be left unused," added Kanev.

In his work as an MEP, Radan Kanev is engaged as a direct rapporteur on another environmental legislation - the EU Directive on industrial emissions, one of the EU‘s largest pieces of legislation. The document brings together seven other directives that have been in force since the 1990s, were merged in 2010, and are currently under review for significant amendment, he explained.

A vote on the Directive is expected at the March plenary session of the European Parliament. However, it is the subject of fierce debate as "we are in an election period and because the debate around environmental issues is intensifying against the backdrop of agricultural protests across Europe", the MEP highlighted.

"When it comes to the Directive on industrial emissions, we have achieved huge victories for the farming community across Europe," Kanev stressed. He explained that the Directive does not affect grain or vegetable growers, but livestock farmers, with the exception of cattle and cow farmers.

An enormous easing of administrative procedures has been achieved for poultry and pig farmers, whose activities are covered by this Directive. Governments have been given the opportunity to move from a permit regime to a registration regime.

Extensive livestock farming is also excluded from the scope of the Directive. This means that a significant part of the Bulgarian pig farms, which until now needed permits, will now be able to operate freely, without administrative procedures, the MEP pointed out.

The EU Directive on industrial emissions affects not just livestock farming, but all industrial production. "I worked on it in very close contact with Bulgarian industries, with big Bulgarian companies, and I think we achieved my main goal - to have cleaner air, less pollution of drinking water and agricultural land, but without adding more red tape," said Kanev.

Commenting on the European elections in June, Kanev said he intends to run for another term in office as an MEP and has the support of his party, Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria (part of Democratic Bulgaria). "I am waiting for the most important decision: that Continue the Change - Democratic Bulgaria run in the European elections as a coalition, announce the list and enter the election campaign on time - in late March or early April. The campaign will be extremely difficult and fraught with propaganda, fake news, foreign influence... This will be the case throughout the European Union, not only in Bulgaria. With this in mind, a responsible European position for a strong Bulgaria, a Bulgaria that defends its interest in a united Europe, must be developed well in advance, not one month before the elections," the MEP said.

/DD/

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By 13:42 on 18.05.2024 Today`s news

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