Brussels, 9 September 2013
Environment: New EU Action to protect biodiversity against problematic invasive species
The European Commission today proposed new legislation to prevent and manage the rapidly growing threat from invasive species. There are currently over 12 000 species present in Europe which are alien to the natural environment. About 15% of these are invasive and they are rapidly growing in number. The proposal is designed to respond to increasing problems caused by these invasive alien species, which include:
Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "Combating invasive alien species is a prime example of an area where Europe is better when working together. The legislation we are proposing will help protect biodiversity and is targeted to allow us to focus on the most serious threats. This will help improve the effectiveness of national measures and achieve results in the most cost-effective way. I look forward to working with Member States and the European Parliament to put this legislation in place and step up our efforts to tackle this serious problem right across Europe."
The proposal centres round a list of invasive alien species of Union concern, which will be drawn up with the Member States using risk assessments and scientific evidence. Selected species will be banned from the EU, meaning it will not be possible to import, buy, use, release or sell them. Special measures will be taken to deal with issues arising for traders, breeders or pet owners in the transitional period.
The proposal is for three types of intervention:
The proposal encourages a shift towards a harmonized and more preventive approach, increasing efficiency and lowering damage costs and the cost of action over time.
The proposed Regulation will now be examined by the Council and the Parliament. Member States will be fully involved in compiling the list and can propose candidates for listing. The regime will be coupled with an information support mechanism: the European Alien Species Information Network (http://easin.jrc.ec.europa.eu/ ).
Alien species invasions in Europe are expected to further increase as a result of the rising volume and extent of trade and travel, which will see more species transported around the globe.
The Regulation on the prevention and management of invasive alien species draws on the EU's Resource Efficiency Roadmap and the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020.
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