European Parliament heeds call for full implementation of nature laws

3 February 2016

A very broad majority of the European Parliament has just adopted the report of MEP Mark Demesmaeker on biodiversity. Demesmaeker asks the European Commission not to revise the nature directives, but on the contrary to fully implement them.

The Flemish MEP is very satisfied: “The Parliament sends out a strong signal. Earlier, more than 500,000 European citizens have demanded in a petition not to review existing legislation. The Commission should stop the uncertainty about the future of the directives. There is no time to waste: if we want to achieve the 2020 nature goals, we’ll have to make every effort to fully implement the nature directives.”

The Nature Directives, i.e. the Birds and Habitats Directives, are a crucial part of the European Biodiversity Strategy 2011-2020. Today, we are halfway towards achieving the 2020 targets. The ecological footprint of all EU member states is twice as large as their ecological biocapacity. Barely 23% of the species and 16% of their habitats are in a good condition. Investing in nature and biodiversity is necessary for nature, people and the economy.

Strong nature for a strong economy

Demesmaeker: “Biodiversity is not just about plants and animals, but about mankind and society as a whole. It is an essential foundation for our health, well-being and for our economic prosperity. Biodiversity provides many essential benefits, such as clean air, pure water and pollination services. Strong nature and a strong economy are not mutually exclusive, quite on the contrary. If Europe fails to meet the 2020 goals, that can cost us 50 billion euro per year.” Demesmaeker asks in his report for more political will at all levels. He encourages EU Member States to work closely with all stakeholders to achieve the 2020 biodiversity targets. Better implementation, strict enforcement and a further integration of biodiversity into other policy areas are essential.

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