In December 2016, the EU Commission decided to improve the implementation of its nature conservation Directives. Following this at the end of January, the main features of a proposed action plan were presented. Last Friday, working together with its partners in the European Habitats Forum (EHF), EuroNatur drew up a list of demands for improvements to the action plan and sent it to the Directorate General for the Environment in Brussels.
In our view, there is a particular need for action in the area covered by the Natura 2000 network. Many of the designated conservation areas are in reality paper tigers. What are needed are management plans that drive forward the implementation of conservation measures on the ground. Cases of illegal activity on Natura 2000 land, such as bird hunting, must be punished more severely. Moreover, we need to preserve and create a Europe-wide network of green infrastructure, so that flora and fauna can disperse, and genetic exchange between different populations is guaranteed.
To protect biological diversity, it is absolutely vital that the Common Agricultural Policy of the EU is reformed. The conversion of grassland into arable land that is happening right across Europe must be stopped. At the same time, the EU must bring its agricultural policy much more closely in line with the goals of biodiversity.
It is a matter of urgency that these and further demands are met so that the decline in the number of species in Europe is brought to a halt. If the European Commission and member states really want to practise what they preach, there is still a great deal of work ahead for them.
Here you can read the EHF's list of measures taken