The ‘fitness check’ carried out by the European Commission attested that the European Birds and Habitats Directives are relevant, fit for purpose and do not need to be revised. An Action Plan to improve implementation will be launched soon.
The evaluation of the EU Nature Directives started in 2014, and last year over 500.000 citizens and more than 100 NGOs, including some of the EAA’s members, responded to a public consultation launched by the Commission to collect more information about the Directives and their impact.
The evaluation highlighted that the two Directives are crucial for nature conservation and provide many benefits, also from the economic point of view. Moreover, the assessment acknowledged that implementation needs to be improved. Notably, better management and more investments are needed in order to strengthen the Natura 2000 network of protected areas, and administrative burdens for projects must be reduced.
The European Commission declared that an Action Plan will be developed soon in order to foster the implementation of the Bird and Habitats Directives, to correct the identified shortfalls, and to design guidelines aimed at incentivising investments in biodiversity.
As reported back in July, the EAA and a number of other NGOs opposed a possible revision of the Directives fearing that a reopening of the discussion would have contribute to a weakening of the EU environmental legislation. It is indeed very positive that the Commission acknowledged the important role these Directives play in nature conservation and that efforts will be done to ensure better implementation.
Read Commissioner Vella’s statement and the press release from the European Commission here: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/2014-2019/vella/announcements/my-statement-orientation-debate-next-steps-fitness-check-birds-and-habitats-directives_en