Huge majority in the European Parliament votes against a revision of the EU Nature Laws | WWF

Huge majority in the European Parliament votes against a revision of the EU Nature Laws

Posted on 02 February 2016    
60% of animals and plants of European importance and 77% of their habitats are considered to be at threat.
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Brussels, Belgium – Responding to today's vote at the European Parliament against a revision of the EU Birds and Habitats Directives, WWF calls on the Commission to follow the example and support the EU Nature Directives in the spring 2016.


The WWF welcomes the outcome of the European Parliament’s vote on the own-initiative report on the Mid-term Review of the EU Biodiversity Strategy, Europe’s strategy to halt biodiversity loss by 2020. The vote which received support from nearly all Members of the European Parliament highlights the importance of the Birds and Habitats Directives and the need to fully implement them (1).
 
In its report the European Parliament opposes a possible revision of the EU Birds and Habitats Directives, arguing that “it would result in weakened legislative protection and financing, and would be bad for nature, for people and for business”. The Directives are also considered sufficiently flexible to ensure that economic development and nature protection go hand in hand.
 
In line with the position of WWF, other NGOs and EU governments, the Parliament now calls for more appropriate conservation and management measures, and sufficient financing and coherence with other EU policies (2), such as agriculture and energy to achieve the recovery of species and habitats by 2020 (3).
 
Andreas Baumüller, Head of Natural Resources at WWF European Policy Office, said:

“We are glad to see that today the whole European Parliament has decided to listen to more than half a million people and governments supporting Europe’s nature laws. This is another strong message sent to the European Commission: it is wrong and costly to change something that works.”

For more information:
Stefania Campogianni, Senior Media and Communications Officer, WWF European Policy Office, scampogianni@wwf.eu, +32 (0)499 53 97 36
Martina Mlinaric, Senior Policy Officer, Biodiversity & Water, WWF European Policy Office, mmlinaric@wwf.eu, +32 (0) 476 97 20 50
 
Note to the editors:
1) On the European Parliament’s Report (here): The report voted today by the EP on the mid-term review of the EU biodiversity strategy also calls for:
  • An EU pollinator strategy to tackle the negative impacts of agriculture on the wider countryside and our biodiversity (paragraph 80 in the report). Agriculture is identified as one of the main drivers of nature loss.
  • Restoration of large areas, across country borders creating corridors for species. This would also allow for better adaptation to the effects of climate change by reducing, for instance, the impact of flooding which is increasing in the UK and many other European countries (paragraph 29 in the report);
  • In line with the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals, EU governments should value and account for nature´s benefits for our wellbeing and reflect them in their national policies (paragraph 12 in the report). 
  1. WWF/NGOs position on the Fitness Check (FC) of the EU Nature Directives: the FC must not tamper with the existing legal texts but should instead be used as an opportunity to: 
  • Ensure that EU nature legislation is fully and effectively implemented and enforced across all EU member states;
  • Improve coherence between biodiversity and relevant sectoral policies (e.g. agriculture, forest, energy);
  • Invest in nature via more biodiversity friendly financial and fiscal policies;
  • Ensure effective transparency and public participation to allow people and nature to work together.
 
  1. State of Nature in Europe:
  •  60% of animals and plants of European importance and 77% of their habitats are considered to be at threat;
  • One in ten wild bee species face extinction; damage from floods has cost more than €150 billion over the past 10 years,
  • Air pollution costs around €537 billion every year.
These are some of the main findings of WWF/NGO EU Nature laws factsheet: “Why the Birds and Habitats Directives are vital”