Nature Restoration Law supported by 75% of citizens in countries not backing the law

EU Member States not supporting the Nature Restoration Law are at odds with public opinion. This is the result of a poll conducted in the Netherlands, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Poland, and Sweden, which shows that three out of four citizens are in favour of the legislation, as pressure mounts on Member States to adopt the long-awaited law. 

The Nature Restoration Law, an EU response to the interlinked climate and biodiversity crises, has been in a stalemate since March when it lost the necessary majority from Member States, following Hungary’s last-minute U-turn. Now, a new survey – which was conducted by Savanta with 6190 respondents across the six Member States – reveals that the majority of people in countries not supporting the law believe that nature and biodiversity decline will have negative long-term effects on people, farming and the economy and that it must be tackled urgently by restoring ecosystems. 

The Nature Restoration Law received the biggest support in Italy with 85% of citizens backing it, followed by Hungary with 83%, and Poland with 72%. Only 6% of those surveyed disagreed that the law should be adopted. The full results can be accessed here.  

Fintan Kelly, Agriculture and Land Use Policy and Advocacy Officer with the Environmental Pillar, said: “Earlier this week, 10 EU member states joined Ireland in a letter to Environment Ministers of non-signatory Member States to urge adoption of the Nature Restoration Law at the upcoming Environment Council meeting June 17th. Given the widespread support among the European public for the Nature Restoration Law – particularly in those States blocking the legislation – the European Council’s failure to adopt the Nature Restoration Law following negotiation and compromise sets a dangerous precedent for the EU’s democratic institutions.We need our elected leaders to wake up and recognize that climate action is widely supported by their voters and urgently needed.”

Environmental Pillar spokesperson and Head of Advocacy at BirdWatch Ireland Oonagh Duggan said “These results show how some Member States are playing with fire and ignoring the concerns of their citizens. Climate change is happening in front of our eyes and much of our biodiversity is really struggling. Nature restoration must be a pan European activity with all countries on board. It is critical for migratory birds including waterbirds. Irish wintering waterbird populations have suffered a 40% decline in 20 years. Several Irish waterbird species and Terns stop off on migration to feed and rest in the Netherlands, Finland and Sweden before continuing on to breeding grounds. Protecting and restoring wetlands and marine areas is absolutely essential for the survival of these birds.”

Environmental Pillar Steering Committee Member and Head of Advocacy at An Taisce, Dr Elaine McGoff said:“Not only has the Nature Restoration Law got widespread support among the public in EU countries that have backed the law, it is also supported by EU citizens in many of the countries blocking it. There was an unprecedented level of engagement by EU civil society in the NRL negotiations and the democratic processes that underpinned the adoption of a compromise agreement. European citizens, more than 200 civil society organisations, scientists and industry have been demanding that the EU restore our seas, agricultural lands, peatlands and forests with a robust Nature Restoration Law. We need a law now.”

A few months before, similar surveys were conducted in Austria and Belgium, two countries abstaining from previous votes on the Nature Restoration Law. In Austria, 77% of the population wants nature to be consistently protected and restored, with almost three-quarters of those surveyed specifically calling for “binding goals” to restore nature. In Belgium, 82% of people are strongly in favour of more nature restoration and over 84% believe that Belgian governments should make more efforts to restore at least 30% of nature on land and at sea in poor condition by 2030. 


Notes to editors:

 The results above come from a poll conducted by Savanta, an independent research agency. Savanta interviewed 6,190 respondents across Poland, Finland, Sweden, Italy, the Netherlands and Hungary between 1st and 9th May 2024. Quotas were set to make the sample nationally representative by age, gender and region in each country. Data were weighted evenly between each country. Full results can be found here.