A few tree leaves in hand, Elisabeth Borne held Friday in a forest in Côte-d'Or to reassure her European partners and associations about France's commitments to the environment, after comments by Emmanuel Macron on the idea of a moratorium which caused a stir.
"What we want is for us to go after all the regulations that are provided for in application of the Green Deal (Green Deal of the European Union, editor's note). So we are working actively, in particular on an important regulation , the regulation on the Restoration of nature" which deals with biodiversity, declared during a press briefing the Prime Minister.
"And I can assure you that France is very much a driving force. She has been, and will remain so, on a text which is indeed the subject of a lot of debate" in the European Parliament, she assured. The law on biodiversity divides, including within the Renew group, where the majority MEPs sit.
At his side, the European Commissioner for the Environment and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevicius, welcomed the fact of "bringing together (the stakeholders), consulting them" before implementing measures in favor of biodiversity.
"It works through dialogue: dialogue with local communities, farmers and foresters", he insisted, after sitting in the grass with the French leader, to hear children recount the lives of insects.
The Prime Minister had previously visited the national park of the forests of Champagne and Burgundy (Côte D'or).
She said, however, "share" the words of Emmanuel Macron. For him, it is no longer necessary to "add" environmental standards after the application of the Green Deal, so as not to discourage investors. A position that echoes that of the European right and outrages environmentalists.
We must "not change gradually, too often, the objectives that we set for ourselves, otherwise no one will understand anything anymore", declared Elisabeth Borne on Friday, who closed a week which was intended to be marked by the 'ecology.
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo in turn called on Tuesday evening for a "pause" in environmental regulations.
Elisabeth Borne was accompanied by many local elected officials and her ministers of both Ecological Transition Christophe Béchu and Agriculture Marc Fesneau.
If the essentials of the EU climate plan - which aims for a carbon neutrality objective by 2050 - have been adopted (reform of the carbon market, carbon tax at the borders, end of sales of cars with internal combustion engines... ), negotiations are slipping for other key texts of this Pact on biodiversity, pesticides or polluting emissions from farms, which worry farmers.
Elisabeth Borne judged the "erosion" of biodiversity "very worrying" with "damaging consequences" on "carbon sinks, on water, on air quality and even on our food".
She specified "three axes" on which France's strategy in this area will be based, which will be presented "in the summer": "to lower the pressures" on biodiversity by reducing the use of pesticides, and by fighting against the soil artificialization; "restore" it by planting a billion trees by 2030; and finally "mobilizing everyone". As such, the "educational areas" managed by schoolchildren will increase from 1,000 to 18,000 in 2030, and the number of young people in environmental civic service will be multiplied by 10.
A few dozen opponents waving CGT flags were kept away from the forest. A dozen others came to demonstrate in front of the town hall of Châtillon-sur-Seine to say on a banner "stop in contempt Macron-Borne".
Asked about pro-climate demonstrators who had gathered in the morning near the general assembly of the Total group before being dislodged by the police, she judged that "climate activists" were "in their role of alerting and saying that we must speed up".
26/05/2023 21:13:20 - Châtillon-sur-Seine (France) (AFP) - © 2023 AFP