A study requested by the European Commission on the Birds and Habitats Directives confirms the directives are fit for purpose.
The expert study on the Birds and Habitats Directives requested by the European Commission as part of a “fitness check” has been finally made public. The study aim is to assess whether the two so-called “EU Nature Directives” are fit for purpose or if they need to be revised.
Last year, over 500.000 citizens and more than 100 NGOs including some of EAA’s members responded to a public consultation* launched by the Commission to receive feedback on the Directives. Moreover, in the past months, civil society, NGOs, MEPs and Member States voiced their concerns regarding a possible weakening of nature protection standards and asked the Commission to proceed with a proper implementation of the existing legislation**.
In its conclusions the study states that: “In sum, the balance of the evidence demonstrates that the Directives are fit for purpose and the added value they provide at EU level is clear. The Directives have generated many important benefits for nature conservation and sustainable development overall, as detailed in this evaluation study report. […]The legislation remains relevant to most needs as they have evolved over time, and no major requests or suggestions for changing the legislation arose during the stakeholder consultations.”***
EAA, like a number of other NGOs, has been worried that the Commission would suggest the directives to be opened for revision. If that happened, it would be more likely than not, that the Member States would take the opportunity to try water down various provisions in the Directives, making it easier and less costly to comply with the legislation. Now, we believe that won’t happen against the conclusions of this compelling report. From an environmental protection perspective, this can only be a good thing.
“Commission research shows Nature Directives don’t need ‘better regulation