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Alexander De Croo calls for a moratorium on the introduction of EU nature preservation legislation

In an interview with VRT News, The Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Flemish liberal) has said that he is in favour of pressing the pause button when it comes to the introduction of further EU nature conservation legislation. Speaking in the weekday televised current affairs programme ‘Terzake’ Mr De Croo echoed the views expressed on the subject by the French President Emmanuel Macron and the Flemish Environment Minister Zuhal Demir (nationalist). 

Mr De Croo told Terzake that “Everyone is convinced that the current CO₂ emissions reduction targets are achievable. However, we must avoid taking on too much at once.  At some point, choices have to be made and is it opportune to do all this at once?"

Alexander De Croo believes that new legislation should not become "overloaded" with measures related to nitrogen emissions, nature restoration and biodiversity on top of the targets for CO2 emissions.

The Belgian Prime Minister said that this would have harmful consequences. First of all industry could no longer keep up, and secondly it would mean the CO2 reduction targets will not be reached. Furthermore, Mr De Croo believes that by overloading the apple cart the current momentum in favour of measures to curb climate change could be lost.

"That's why I'm asking that we press the “pause” button. Let's not go too far with things that, strictly speaking, have nothing to do with global warming. These other issues are important too, but measures to address them must be taken in phases”.   

Meanwhile, Mr De Croo reiterated that "With regard to CO2 emission our ambitions must be maintained".

No shortage of reactions to the interview

There was no shortage of reactions to the Prime Minister’s comments. The Flemish Environment Minister Zuhal Demir said that she was "pleasantly surprised".  

Meanwhile, the Federal Climate, Environment, Sustainable Development and Green Deal Minister, Zakia Khattabi was astonished by what Mr De Croo had said. She wrote on Twitter “ I don’t know where to start. This it's not the position of the federal government !!"

The Co-Chairs of both the Francophone and Flemish greens, both of whom are in the Federal coalition, also expressed their shock and distain at what Mr De Croo had said.

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