BirdLife Europe Press Releases
Today, the European Commission released its proposal for the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). The Commission removes “red tape” and in the process weakens its environmental ambitions and removes safeguards to prevent Member States from subsiding overfishing. Harmful subsidies are now even more easily accessible, putting the already at risk marine life in higher threat.
Once again, high-ranking government representatives from Montenegro have broken their promises over the protection of the Ulcinj Salina, a habitat area for over 250 species of birds. The nature conservation organisations EuroNatur, BirdLife, CZIP and MSJA have increased their commitment to fight for the protection of this critical area by now launching a petition demanding that the Salina is protected.
Today BirdLife partner and Seas At Risk member, Natuurpunt, filed a complaint with the European Commission objecting to the ineffective, even deceptive, marine management measures Belgium proposes for its marine Natura 2000 sites. The legal complaint will hopefully be reinforced by a motion to be voted in the European Parliament on Monday rejecting the government’s inadequate proposals as well.
Today the European Commission released their highly anticipated Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform. The new plan does not guarantee any spending on biodiversity and grotesquely slashes funds ring-fenced for the environment across the board. The heart of the new policy sees a massive renationalization of decision-making power over farm subsidies. The lack of effective environmental safeguards opens the doors to a new wave of support for harmful intensive farming.
30 May 2018 - Out-of-Control Regulation does nothing to protect future of European fishing
Today, the European Commission released their proposal for the revised Fisheries Control Regulation. The proposal is an utter failure to set controls for rules that protect the marine environment, meaning Member States will ultimately fail to ensure fishing is sustainable. Rushing through the entire revision process, the Commission has been criticised for not carrying out a thorough public consultation, depriving civil society the opportunity to share their views.
Today, the European Commission presented their plans to support the approval of nine Species Action Plans at the “Eyes on the Flyways” conference organised BirdLife Europe. The action plans are crucial to help protect some of the most threatened migratory bird species in Europe that are declining at an alarming rate.
More than 200 organisations led by BirdLife Europe and WWF, call on the EU to increase the funding for the LIFE programme to 1% of its next budget. LIFE is the only EU programme fully dedicated to support and fund environmental, nature conservation and climate action projects across Europe. The declaration was handed over to Karmenu Vella, the European Commissioner for Environment and Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, at the European Commission’s Green Week 2018.
17 May 2018 - EU Commission failing as nature's last line of defence
Nature protection efforts are being undermined by the European Commission’s failure to consistently challenge Member States on illegal nature destruction, warn four nature NGOs in a new publication today.
Yesterday, the European Court found Bulgarian at fault for not fully designating the Rila Mountains Important Bird Area (IBA) as a Special Protection Area under the Habitats Directive. This judgement is the final chapter in a sad story which originally involved six internationally important areas for birds which had not been fully protected by the Bulgarian Government.
26 April 2018 - Nature (in)Action Plan: EU Countries lag behind
A year after a Commission 'Action Plan' stated EU governements should better implement nature protection rules, a new report assessing 18 EU countries shows that all 18 are draggin their feet and failing to protect Europe's most precious natural areas.
BirdLife calls on the Commission to ring-fence money for biodiversity and climate in next MFF as best guarantee to reach environmental objectives.
Many 'common' bird species are now at risk of extinction, due to climate change, illegal killing and unsustainable agriculture - the single greatest driver of bird extinction worldwide.
17 April 2018 - Chainsaw massacre of Europe’s oldest forest ruled illegal
The European Court of Justice today rules that Polish logging activities in Białowieża forest are illegal. The defiance of the Polish government to continue its large-scale logging activities in the Białowieża forest is in direct breach of the EU’s Habitats Directive. The European Commission initially sued Poland for its logging of the forest, which is a Natura 2000 site and protected by the European Union, and also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
On 20 March, First Vice-President Timmermans was presented with the recommendations of stakeholders working together on the European Commission's multi-stakeholder platform on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The report calls on the EC to mainstream sustainable development into the funding priorities and decision making mechanisms around the future EU budget.
Agriculture ministers failed to agree on the CAP Conclusions in Agrifish Council yesterday, leaving the Bulgarians to adopt Presidency conclusions. In describing a sustainable CAP and calling for higher environmental and climate ambition, yet endorsing business-as-usual, this confused document contrasts starkly with the dose of realism served by the European Court of Auditors report, aso published yesterday.
Yet again, the European Court of Auditors has examined the Common Agricultural Policy and found it wanting, its latest report confirming that EU taxpayers’ money is being wasted on direct payments.
14 March 2018 - EU Parliament calls for better nature financing
Today the European Parliament, in a plenary vote, called for a stronger commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) and nature conservation in the next EU budget. BirdLife applauds the move.
The draft Agri Council Conclusions on the post-2020 CAP - leaked this morning in Politico - are based entirely on factually untrue statements about the environment.
Today, as EU Heads of State assembled in Brussels to bargain over the EU budget, European NGOs demonstrated to demand more money to protect and enhance biodiversity. With nature conservation glaringly absent from the discussions on the future of Europe and the EU budget, BirdLife Europe – led by our German partner NABU – called on those gathered to break the ‘Silence of the Leaders’.
Today's European Parliament vote, like yesterday's marine vote, delivers yet another dramatic death blow to our living planet. Razing whole forests to the ground to feed our energy use releases vastly increased carbon into our atmosphere; carbon which would otherwise be naturally stored in the forest.
The European Parliament voted today to continue allowing the drowning of turtles in fishing gear and the capture of juvenile fish before they can reproduce. Despite a last minute step back from authorising electric fishing and removing all safeguards for seabirds and marine ammmals, the approved text is still extremely weak and wil fail to stop even the most harmful practices.
15 January 2018 - Sea Change: Significant extension of Natura 2000 network in Greek waters
A major victory for Greek seabirds and marine biodiversity came in December with a significant extension of Greece’s Natura 2000 Network announced by a Greek Joint Ministerial Decision.
18 December 2017 - EuroBirdPortal releases new improved version of its online viewer
Today the EuroBirdPortal (EBP) released an improved version of its viewer: now bird movements across Europe can be visualized in a way never seen before. This new version of the viewer has also been updated with 40 million more new bird records collected in 2016 and now shows animated all-year round maps of 105 bird species for a period of seven years - ensuring that the EBP maintains its position as the largest and most dynamic citizen science biodiversity data flow in Europe.
Today the peer-reviewed quarterly journal Bird Conservation International publishes a paper entitled "Illegal killing and taking of birds in Europe outside the Mediterranean: assessing the scope and scale of a complex issue". Led by the BirdLife International partnership with input from experts across the region the paper exposes the scale and scope of the illegal killing of birds across these regions.
12 December 2017 - European Court of Auditors exposes CAP greening as sham
The European Court of Auditors (CoA) has today published yet another damning report of the failures of the CAP. Its special report 'Greening: a more complex income support scheme, not yet environmentally effective' drives a final nail in the current CAP's coffin and its claim to improve the environmental performance of farmers or promte the delivery of public goods.
On 5 December 2017, EU Member States will meet in the ‘IAS Committee’ for initial discussions on whether to include American Mink, one of the world’s most dangerous invasive alien species, among other species, on the EU’s “List of Invasive Alien Species of Union Concern”. Academics to NGOs, including BirdLife Europe, call on the IAS committee to include the American Mink to the IAS list – since it’s the invasive mammal species with the highest impact on native fauna in Europe, negatively affecting at least 47 native species.
The CAP reform Communication just launched by Commissioner Hogan completely fails to acknowledge the seriousness of the environmental crisis affecting European farmland, from the collapse of biodiversity to the exhaustion of soil and water resources. It also fails to address the perversion of current Pillar I spending, the majority of the funding on entitlements that have no relation to any outcomes and that are mainly scooped up by the richest beneficiaries.
Today the ITRE committee of the European Parliament voted on the Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) opting in favour of another decade of environmentally and socially harmful support to unsustainable bioenergy.
21 November 2017 - Fisheries committee fails to protect seabirds and the sea
Today the Fisheries committee of the European Parliament voted on the Technical Measures Regulation - and unfortunately failed to take the necessary steps to tackle seabird bycatch and end overfishing. The committee didn’t set up EU wide rules to prevent seabirds from drowning in fishing gear. Seabirds are caught in many different kinds of fisheries and fishing gear, including in longlines and gillnets.
21 November 2017 - BirdLife statement on the ECJ ruling on Bialowieza
While BirdLife Europe & Central applauds the EU Court of Justice ruling that Poland is subject to a potential daily fine of EUR 100,000 if they continue logging the precious EU protected World Heritage site Bialowieza Forest, the decision is unfortunately, and inexplicably, long overdue.
BirdLife Europe & Central Asia, European Environmental Bureau (EEB), and NABU, German BirdLife/EEB partner, will today present an evidence-based Fitness Check assessment of the CAP at a workshop  in Brussels. The independent study, for which the authors assessed 450 peer reviewed scientific papers, entitled  Is the CAP fit for purpose? was commissioned by the above mentioned NGOs with the support of research institutes and political groups  and carried out by a respected team of experts in agro-economy, ecology and sociology following the European Commission’s own “better regulation” methodology. The results of the study show clearly that the current CAP, accounting for almost 40% of the EU budget (almost 60 billion EUR per year), is not fit for purpose.
Today MEPs in Strasbourg voted on the EU Action Plan for nature, people and the economy - a roadmap for the implementation of the Birds and Habitats Directives – the EU’s flagship nature laws that represent the cornerstone of EU-wide efforts to halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity.
24 October 2017 - Illegal killing of birds remains a major threat in Europe – new report
Today the BirdLife Partnership presents The Killing 2.0, A View to a Kill. Led by BirdLife International with input from experts from the region, this layman’s report exposes the scale and scope of the illegal killing of birds across critical regions. It is estimated that 0.4 - 2.1 million individual birds per year may be killed illegally in Northern and Central Europe and the Caucasus region – mainly for sport or ‘pest’ control.
Today’s vote in the Parliament confirms the EU’s commitment to phasing out damaging biofuels in transport but completely fails to secure climate friendly use of biomass in heating and electricity.
BirdLife Europe – together with its German partner NABU – criticizes, as smoke and mirrors, the study presented today by the German farmers' association on the alleged costs of compliance with European environmental law in the agricultural sector. The study is an obvious attempt by the German Farmers' Union to defend the existing system of 50 billion euros of CAP subsidies, flowing mostly into the pockets of large scale industrial farmers and landowners.
Today the EU’s Environment Ministers decided the Council’s position on the role of land and forests in the EU’s climate mitigation efforts (LULUCF regulation). Ministers voted in favour of maintaining some transparency and integrity in the ways that emissions and removals from forests are accounted for but at the same time they created a loophole allowing countries to reduce their sinks and increase carbon in the atmosphere.
A new study, published today in the Journal of Applied Ecology, stresses the urgent need to include more species on the EU’s “List of Invasive Alien Species of Union Concern”. The EU leads the world in legislation to protect the economy and the environment from the threat of Invasive Alien Species (IAS). However, this ambitious legislation risks being undermined if the current IAS list remains as it is.
2 October 2017 - Towards a new European Food and Land-Use Policy
When it was first introduced back in 1962, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) played a pivotal role in ensuring food security for post-war Europe. Today, this expensive policy (almost 60 billion per year) is inefficient and environmentally damaging, heavily subsidizing intensive agricultural practices contributing to climate change, biodiversity loss, soil erosion and water pollution.
Across the world, seabirds are caught in many different kinds of fisheries and fishing gears, including in longlines and gillnets. These unintentional deaths, known as ‘bycatch’, are a major threat to seabirds; BirdLife estimates that 200,000 seabirds die annually in gillnets and longlines across Europe.
Ahead of the European Commission conference on the future of EU finances on 25 September, BirdLife Europe & Central Asia and its 28 EU partners, present how we believe the next MFF can serve nature and people.
BirdLife Europe regrets that the already compromised report of the ENVI Committee was further weakened with an EPP group amendment added in the Plenary.
Taking a stand for legality, the environment and its citizens, the European Commission has today referred Poland to the European Court of Justice, calling for the immediate suspension of the logging in Białowieża Forest. This victory comes after nearly a decade of calls from civil society, both in Poland and internationally, to save Europe’s best preserved forest ecosystem and last deciduous, old-growth forest from the state-sponsored vandalism of the executioner’s chainsaw.
The EU has moved one step closer to the sustainable management of its fisheries in the North Sea. The Fisheries Committee in the European Parliament voted yesterday on its position on how the North Sea demersal fisheries should be managed. The position “fixes” several aspects of the European Commission’s proposal, in particular ensuring that management will be as much about minimizing – and, where possible, eliminating – the impact on the wider environment (such as incidental catches of seabirds) as it is about managing fish stocks.
BirdLife Europe & Central Asia welcomes the European Parliament’s increased recognition of the important role that forests, land and ecosystems will have to play in order to reach the targets of the Paris Agreement – recognition that is clearly reflected by the intensive and prolonged negotiations over the Parliament’s position on the LULUCF regulation on the role of land and forests in the EU’s 2030 climate policy framework.
Five European environmental organizations - SEO / BirdLife, SPEA (BirdLife in Portugal), Vulture Conservation Foundation, BirdLife Europe and WWF – are re-launching a campaign to ban veterinary diclofenac in Europe - and in particular in Spain, Italy and Portugal, the three European Union countries where most of the continent's vultures live. This anti-inflammatory drug, harmless to humans, can potentially kill thousands of necrophagous (feeding on corpses) birds and its use is unnecessary, since there are equally effective veterinary alternatives.
Today the EU environment ministers committed to better implementation of the Birds and Habitats Directives, the EU’s flagship nature laws that represent the cornerstone of EU-wide efforts to halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity. The four year evaluation “the Fitness Check” of the Nature Directives, where 500 000 citizens, all major political groups in the European Parliament called for better implementation of these vital nature laws, is now finally over.
Today, EU Member states approved the inclusion of 12 new species to the EU’s “List of Invasive Alien Species of Union Concern”. One of the new species in the list is the raccoon dog, an increasingly popular exotic pet, which is also one of the main vectors of rabies in Europe and a major ecological threat.
14 June 2017 - Nature wins despite MEP apathy
Today nature won over pesticides…but by default. By not reaching the required majority to approve the resolution by AGRI Committee members Mr. Dess (EPP, DE) and Mr. Agnew (EFDD, UK), the European Parliament automatically supported the European Commission’s delegated act that proposes to ban the use of pesticides in Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs). EFAs are areas where farmers are paid to leave important space for nature in an intensively farmed landscape.
Tomorrow, Wednesday 14 June, the European Parliament plenary will vote on an important file for the climate: the Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) – which sets out binding annual greenhouse gas emission targets for Member States for the period 2021–2030 and the rules they must follow to meet them. It includes the transport, buildings, agriculture and waste management sectors, together accounting for almost 60% of total EU emissions.
BirdLife Europe and Central Asia welcomes the draft report of the Parliament’s ENVI Committee on bioenergy sustainability in the Renewable Energy Directive. It marks a significant improvement on the European Commission’s original proposal that neglected substantial sustainability concerns on bioenergy.
Today, the ENVI Committee voted on the Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) which is setting out binding annual greenhouse gas emission targets for Member States for the period 2021–2030 and includes the transport, buildings, agriculture and waste management sector, together accounting for almost 60% of total EU emissions.
This morning, the AGRI committee of the European Parliament has blocked the ‘delegated regulation’ proposing to ban the use of pesticides in Ecological Focus Areas, areas that are dedicated to nature conservation. MEPs Dess and Agnew successfully lodged an objection to the proposal, which was supported in a vote at AGRI committee with 30 votes in favour, 11 against and 1 abstention.
Today BirdLife International releases the publication European birds of conservation concern: populations, trends and national responsibilities. This publication summarises the conservation status of 541 wild bird species in 50 European countries and territories (based on the 2016 IUCN Global Red List and taxonomic update), and aims to help national governments to easily identify the species that are in urgent need of attention and protection.
The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is not even delivering on its own stated objectives let alone on several of the relevant Sustainable Development Goals that the European Union holds up as its guiding principles. There is a vast amount of available knowledge on the CAP’s impact on our society, economy and especially on the environment, yet this it is not taken up in policy design and implementation, leaving it inefficient, unsustainable and poorly accepted by both farmers and society. These were the key preliminary findings of a forthcoming study – the most in depth study on this topic to date.
At the end of the consultation on the future of the CAP – the agriculture committee of the European Parliament has found another silent tool to further take apart the little that is left of greening.
Today a clear and strong message reached the European Commission: the EU’s agricultural policy needs to be radically changed. This is what 258,708 citizens and 600 civil society organisations and businesses have told the Commission in the largest EU public consultation on agricultural policy, which closed yesterday (2 May).
Today the European Commission published its “Action Plan for Nature, People and the Economy” – a roadmap for the Birds and Habitats Directives – the EU’s flagship nature laws that represent the cornerstone of EU-wide efforts to halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity. The Action Plan proposes measures to help halt biodiversity loss by 2020 but tiptoes around agriculture and funding.
19 April 2017 - Walk amongst penguins in groundbreaking virtual reality film
For the first time, digital audiences can be transported to a sub-Antarctic penguin colony to immerse themselves in the lives of penguin species, thanks to a new 360-degree film launched today, produced with Visualise for BirdLife International’s “Protect a Penguin” global campaign
Yesterday the European Commission published its report on the implementation of the ecological focus area (EFA) obligation under the green direct payment scheme. EFA requirement is the flagship environmental tool of the CAP and unfortunately the Commission is focusing on minor details, whilst the CAP itself is facing major crises of legitimacy.
The European Commission is overestimating the share of renewable energy that will be filled by bioenergy in 2030 while underestimating a significant drop in the cost of renewables such as wind and solar energy, a new independent study has found. As the Commission used old data, higher ambition on renewables appears to be more expensive than it actually is, warned NGOs Transport & Environment (T&E) and Birdlife Europe, which commissioned the study. Unless this is corrected, lawmakers might end up being less ambitious about mandating the uptake of renewable energy or being overly optimistic about mandating the use of bioenergy.
23 March 2017 - Civil society call to fix broken EU farm policy gains ground
Over 140 organisations from all over Europe – representing consumers and the food sector, and those working to promote environmental protection, health, and animal welfare – have joined a call for reform of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
The organisations have responded to an appeal by ‘Living Land’ – a broad campaign which recognises that the EU’s agriculture policy is devastating to both our climate and our environment, wiping out wildlife, harming public health, and is failing small and medium sized farmers as well as rural communities.
Thanks to the advocacy work carried out by Birdlife Europe and Central Asia and other partner organisations the EU is taking important first steps towards solving the seabird bycatch problem. Today the European Parliament adopted the essential data collection regulation.
20 February 2017 - Twelve-year action plan to save vultures
From 15 to 19 February, 43 experts from 22 countries met in Toledo, Spain, to prepare for the forthcoming summit of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species. Based on previous consultations and workshops that include the findings of 200 experts, the group in Toledo has expressed concerns about the veterinary use of diclofenac, a deadly drug for vulture and designed a twelve-year action plan to ensure the conservation of all vulture species.
13 February 2017 - The Finch Trap: European Commission vs. Malta
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) will on Wednesday 15th February hear the case initiated by the European Commission against Malta regarding finch trapping in the Maltese Islands. It is probable that the verdict in this case will be delivered by the third or fourth quarter of this year.
07 February 2017 - THE BURNING ISSUE - When bioenergy goes bad
It was supposed to be the best of all worlds: renewable, clean energy from organic matter, residues mostly. But it unfortunately also became land grabbing, nonsensical forest destruction and a festival of national subsidies that have caused more devastating distortions than you can think of. In this documentary co-produced by BirdLife Europe & Central Asia and Transport & Environment we expose some of the outcomes that have perverted solutions... into problems.
Today the European Commission launched its long-awaited public consultation on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). BirdLife Europe and Central Asia is calling for a sustainable food and farming system. Currently around 35% of the entire EU budget goes to the CAP. The current CAP is undermining the environment, public health and sustainable development while failing to halt the collapse in the number of EU farmers. A reformed CAP must work coherently with all other policies, especially environmental ones, to ensure a viable future for farmers, citizens and nature.
26 January 2017 - One step closer to transparency in fisheries – if you pay
Today the PECH committee of the European Parliament adopted the Data collection regulation. If adopted by the full Parliament, EU member states would be obliged to supply data to the European Commission about the impact of fisheries on the wider ecosystem. This kind of data will help understand the levels of incidental bycatch of seabirds and other species occurring across Europe - the first step towards solving the bycatch problem. However, the “catch” is that the data might not be available for free - NGOs and scientists could have to pay to access this information.
07 December 2016 - Nature dodges bullet: huge public campaign saves EU nature laws
European Commission confirms EU nature protection laws will be saved after record-breaking campaign – now put the laws to work, say NGOs
President Juncker and his Commission have today confirmed that the EU’s flagship nature laws – the Birds and Habitats Directives – will be saved and not rewritten and weakened, ending two
years of uncertainty over the laws’ future. They have also called for a plan to better implement and enforce these laws.
30 November 2016 - The Clean Energy package doesn’t come clean on bioenergy
The Clean Energy package published today by the European Commission does not address the problems of unsustainable bioenergy use that current and previous EU policies have created - it only greenwashes them. European climate and energy policies have been built on the myth that all bioenergy – being a “renewable resource” – is all good.
A new study has revealed that ‘Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs)’ - a flagship Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) nature protection measure - will deliver negligible benefits for Europe’s wildlife. This is particularly worrying given the low level of nature on arable landscapes.
Shocking new evidence that exposes the great carbon con of bioenergy are revealed today by BirdLife Europe and Transport & Environment following extensive research and on-the-ground investigations conducted with their local partners. The case studies in the Black Book of Bioenergy are perfect examples of what happens when good intentions go bad.
Sustainable wood waste, agricultural residues, manure and other organic residues generated in Europe will only cover around 80% of the EU’s projected bioenergy use in 2030, a new analysis by green groups BirdLife Europe and Transport & Environment (T&E) reveals today.
07 November 2016 - New study explores possibilities for a better CAP
Today NABU (BirdLife’s partner in Germany) releases a study it commissioned from the Institute for Agroecology and Biodiversity (IFAB) in Mannheim which explores the potential for a reformed system of agricultural subsidies to deliver for biodiversity and farmers.
25 October 2016 - Business as usual – Juncker snubs environment and protects broken CAP
Commission Work Programme ignores businesses and civil society demands for a fitness check of the Common agriculture policy (CAP) and Sustainable development goals (SDGs) are virtually ignored.
‘International Day of Action on Bioenergy’ Galvanises Environmentalists, Citizens; Social Media Messages Call Upon Influential EU Commissioners to ‘Make it Right’; Campaign Reaches Nearly 1.5 Million People
BirdLife International has presented a proposal to create a new Marine Protected Area (MPA) under OSPAR, the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic.
21 September 2016 - Will the Commission listen to stakeholders’ call for a “fitness check” of CAP?
Today the REFIT Platform  published its opinion  on the Effectiveness and Efficiency of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The REFIT Platform Stakeholder group recommends a “fitness check” of the CAP.
16 September 2016 - Re-building the EU project on people and nature
Today at the Bratislava Summit Heads of state and government of 27 EU member states meet to continue a political reflection on the future of Europe. BirdLife Europe joins 177 Civil Society Organizations’ call to EU leaders to be guided by the principles of solidarity, unity and to refocus on an EU that delivers societal and environmental benefits for all.
Today at the NEOBIOTA 2016, the 9th International Conference on Biological Invasions, the Board of NEOBIOTA adopted a resolution on the EU invasive alien species regulation. The resolution “The Time for Action is NOW!” calls for an effective implementation of the EU IAS regulation, in particular by increasing the number of species included in the “List of invasive alien species of Union concern”.
BirdLife Europe and the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) have warned that new proposals (1) made by Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan to revitalise rural areas and promote sustainable farming will be rendered useless by the current structure of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) which works against these new objectives.
New research, published in Conservation Letters, by a team of conservation researchers, including BirdLife Europe and its partners , shows that EU nature legislation and EU agriculture-environment schemes can help to preserve farmland birds, however their impact is weakened by the devastating impact of agriculture intensification.
BirdLife Europe welcomes that the Commission confirms closing the door on land guzzling, food based biofuels after 2020 in its communication on the decarbonization of transport but has serious concerns about new incentives for unsustainable land use in the proposals.
On Wednesday, 13 July, the European Commission adopted its first list of invasive alien species of EU concern. The list contains 37 species, the possession and trade of which in the EU will be restricted because of their risks and impacts on the economy and the environment.
Today, the European Commission announced the start of an infringement procedure against Poland relating to plans that would see an increase in logging in the Białowieża Forest – one of Europe’s largest expanses of primeval forest, and a Natura 2000 and World Heritage site.
The European Commission was supposed to present the results of its “fitness check” of the Birds and Habitats Directives (Nature Directives) at the Dutch Presidency conference “Future-proof Nature Policy” on 28-30 June. The document was supposed to serve as a basis for discussions, about the implementation of the Nature Directives in the Member States, at the conference which many governments and NGOs were planning to attend. However the European Commission, 20 days ahead of the conference, has still not published the results of its “fitness check” of these vital laws.
The RSPB (BirdLife’s UK partner) has assessed, by using pioneering mapping approaches, whether the UK’s 2050 climate targets can be achieved using high levels of renewable energy whilst avoiding sensitive species and habitats. The results presented in the new report ‘The RSPB’s 2050 Energy Vision’ show that the UK has the potential to deliver up to four times the UK’s current energy consumption from renewable sources with low risk to wildlife.
Civil society finally had the opportunity to officially voice its opinion about the sustainability of all forms of bioenergy as the European Commission in February opened a public consultation on a new EU policy on sustainable bioenergy for the period 2020-2030.
Scientists and NGOs are calling for an immediate ban of veterinary diclofenac after finding it could kill as many as 6,000 vultures per year in Spain, home to 95% of the Griffon Vulture population.
The European Parliament’s report on the collection of data in fisheries and aquaculture brings required transparency to the fisheries sector but fails to cover freshwater aquaculture.
13 April 2016 - EU nature laws need implementation, not overhaul: NGO report
BirdLife Europe Partners in the 28 Member States have published From Nature Alert to Action, a report anticipating the European Commission “fitness check” of the Nature Directives, expected in the coming weeks. The BirdLife report says EU nature laws are successful, but to realise their full potential they must be implemented, enforced and funded in full.
21 March 2016 - NGOs demand “Fitness check” of the Common Agricultural Policy
More than 100 NGOs active in farming, development, environment, climate, animal welfare, food systems and public health, have signed a joint letter, to the President of the European Commission to demand a review of the European food and farming system.
The just agreed “Baltic Plan” includes badly needed measures to stop the incidental by-catch of seabirds but fails to slam the door on overfishing.
11 March 2016 - The EU is one step closer to eliminating seabird bycatch
After years of dialogue, the European Commission has proposed that all relevant fishing vessels in the EU implement concrete measures to stop the accidental catching of seabirds in their fishing gear.
Analysis carried out by BirdLife Europe and the EEB has revealed a one billion Euro fall in the actual amount of funding for Rural Development measures meant to benefit the environment in farmland. More information on the event is available here.
04 February 2016 - European Commission fails to ban toxic ammunition
The European Commission has announced it will continue allowing the use of lead in ammunition, despite the chemical being responsible for thousands of bird deaths.
02 February 2016 - European Parliament Votes for Nature
The European Parliament’s stood up to defend key EU nature laws in a vote at its plenary session in Strasbourg.
14 January 2016 - EU Court condemns Bulgarian Government for failing nature
According to the European Court of Justice, Bulgaria is failing to protect nature and putting threatened species at risk.
16 December 2015 - A real European union emerges to back nature
Environment Ministers of the EU have today stood up to defend nature, calling for more money for protected areas and opposing a re-opening of the Birds and Habitats Directives.
12 December 2015 - The Nature of Paris: what the climate Agreement really says
BirdLife International welcomes the adoption of the Paris agreement on climate change.
09 December 2015 - COP21 Latest - Nature forgotten in new text
COP21 President Fabius presents new draft text for Paris Agreement on climate change: “Ambitious targets remain at risk. Why is Nature being forgotten?”
27 November 2015 - The Messengers: what birds tell us about the threats from climate change
A new report, jointly published by BirdLife International and the National Audubon Society, draws on bird science showing that climate change is already affecting life, and that negative effects will increase in the future.
26 November 2015 - Europe’s wildlife needs renewables success
The transition from polluting energy sources to renewables needs to be a success in order to protect wildlife in Europe, according to a new study.
In person and online; people and industries from across Europe are in agreement on the need to enforce and fund current nature laws rather than tampering with them
Campaigners from across Europe are arriving in Brussels to tell the European Commission to drop its attack on vital nature laws and focus on their enforcement.
12 November 2015 - The verdict is in: Europe’s nature laws are fit for purpose
Key under-review European nature laws deliver far more benefits than they cost, according to a study carried out by international experts for the European Commission.
12 November 2015 - Better Implementation To Benefit Biodiversity
Birdlife Europe and CEMBUREAU have joined forces to identify ways in which the implementation of the Birds and Habitats Directives could be enhanced to the benefit of biodiversity and nature conservation across Europe.
04 November 2015 - ‘Better regulation’ doesn’t mean relying on voluntary measures
Using voluntary schemes to encourage ‘better regulation’ doesn’t work, a new report from a BirdLife Partner suggests.
29 October 2015 - MEPs call on Juncker and Timmermans to protect nature laws
Just days after nine major European Governments called for key nature laws to be safeguarded, MEPs from across the political spectrum have now also spoken out against European Commission proposals to weaken the legislation.
29 October 2015 - Conservationists warn Africa’s vultures are sliding towards extinction
Six of Africa’s 11 vulture species – the continent’s largest and most recognisable birds of prey – are now at a higher risk of extinction, according to the latest assessment of birds carried out by BirdLife International for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
27 October 2015 - Major EU countries block Juncker’s attempt to change nature laws
European nature laws have been given a massive boost as a number of major EU countries, led by Germany, call for them to be protected.
02 October 2015 - EU admits failing own targets on protecting nature
The mid-term review of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 published today by the European Commission shows only limited progress has been made on many of the key targets set at the start of this decade, with a complete failure to address unsustainable agriculture.
09 September 2015 - Top author backs call to end illegal bird slaughter in the Mediterranean
Hugely successful American author, Jonathan Franzen, is adding his voice to BirdLife International’s campaign to end the illegal killing of birds in the Mediterranean. The Pullitzer Prize finalist is unimpressed with arguments based on ‘tradition’, which form the basis for many examples of illegal bird killings.
There are warnings this year’s International Vulture Awareness Day (Saturday 5 September) could be one of the last to see these birds in Europe. A number of conservation organisations say it’s because European countries are failing to tackle the use of a dangerous drug which could cause the extinction of vultures across the continent.
Unlawfully shot, trapped or glued: tens of millions of birds are being killed illegally each year across the Mediterranean, according to the first scientific review of its kind to be carried out in the region by BirdLife International.
The European Union’s Birds Directive – often believed to be one of the world’s most progressive and successful nature conservation laws – has had a huge impact in protecting Europe’s most threatened bird species – says new research by the RSPB (BirdLife’s UK partner), BirdLife International and Durham University.
24 July 2015 - Record breaking number of EU citizens call to protect nature
Almost half a million people have called on the European Commission to save Europe’s nature laws in a public consultation – by far the highest number of responses ever reached in the history of the EU. The public consultation formally closes at midnight on Sunday.
The European Environmental Bureau, BirdLife and the WWF have welcomed the news that the EU Nature Alert campaign has now generated more public responses to an EU public consultation than ever before.
Landmark report shows European biodiversity going lost at unacceptable rates: intensive agriculture main culprit. The Natura 2000 network of protected areas having a positive impact for conservation.
Today over 100 environmental NGOs across Europe will launch a joint online action to save European nature from Commission President Juncker’s deregulation agenda.
Today the European Parliament confirmed the deal that was agreed between the EU negotiators two weeks ago limiting the amount of crop-based biofuels that can count towards renewable energy targets in 2020.
Fisheries Ministers adopted today a general approach to the Baltic Multiannual Plan which fails to implement the objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy. The position from the council does not end overfishing, allowing catch limits to be set way above scientific recommendations, and it also does not set as a goal to minimise the impact of the fisheries on the wider environment.
After years of negotiations, the Dogger Bank, a unique and massive complex of Natura 2000 sites belonging to the UK, Germany and the Netherlands will finally get its needed fisheries management plan.
14 April 2015 - The beginning of the end for bad biofuels
The Environment Committee of the European Parliament confirmed a political deal with Council to cap the use of first generation biofuels. This vote concludes over 5 years of political wheeling and dealing on the pros and cons of biofuels. The deal is now two rubber-stamping exercises away from becoming legislation: first by the overall EP plenary and second by the Council of ministers.
BirdLife International launches Europe’s most ambitious bird species project to identify the conservation needs of 16 charismatic species across 10 countries. The Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF) and the hunters’ association FACE will also participate and contribute.
While the European Commission failed to uphold the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) in its proposed management plan for the Baltic Sea, with today’s vote the Fisheries Committee in the European Parliament has taken a step forward.
The SOER 2015 released today by the European Environment Agency sends a dramatic message of alert on the state of European nature.
The new Communication on the Energy Union has an inspiring preamble and vision but falls short on concrete actions to create energy systems that empower citizens and move to a low-carbon economy.
Today the Environment Committee of the European Parliament voted in favour of a strict 6% limit on land eating biofuels and a more comprehensive accounting of their emissions. MEPs gave a strong mandate to its rapporteur, Mr. Torvalds, to go and negotiate with the European Council.
With an estimated 200,000 seabirds accidentally killed every year during fishing activities, seabird bycatch is a critical environmental issue in Europe. In order to tackle this problem detailed knowledge of bycatch hotspots, the numbers of birds killed and a tighter cooperation with fishermen willing to work on solutions are necessary.
27 January 2015 - Saving birds from electrocution: Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BirdLife's Partner) receives RGI’s “Good Practice Award” in Brussels, today, for its work on power lines
Today the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds and the BirdLife International Partnership were rewarded with the Renewables-Grid-Initiative (RGI) “Good Practice Award” in the environmental protection category, for their work on preventing bird deaths due to electrocution and collision with power lines in Bulgaria and Sudan.
20 January 2015 - Biofuels reform back in European Parliament – view new web documentary
As the European Parliament’s Environment Committee Rapporteur tomorrow presents his report on the reform of Europe’s biofuels policy, a new web documentary explores how the EU has failed to decarbonise transport through biofuels. The web documentary can be found at www.biofuelsreform.org.
19 December 2014 - 9 Member States Rural Development Programmes adopted
After months of intense negotiations between Member States and the Commission, the first 9 Rural Development Programmes for 2014-2020 were adopted this week. BirdLife Europe and the European Environmental Bureau welcome the limited improvements to the approved plans, but stress that the overall direction is still worrying.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has supported the arguments expressed by BirdLife Europe regarding the risk that the veterinary use of the drug diclofenac represents to Vultures. In their scientific opinion on diclofenac and vultures, EMA is asking the European Commission to act immediately and outlines a series of possible measures to avoid poisoning of vultures.
11 December 2014 - American citizens to EU Commission: “Stop cutting our forests”
Over 50 000 US citizens are appealing to European Commissioners Arias Cañete and Vella for a change in the EU legislation that has caused a boom in the demand for wood pellets produced from Southern US forests. Their demand is today being delivered to the European Commission by BirdLife Europe and the European Environmental Bureau.
The 10 leading environmental NGOs in Europe appeal to Vice President Timmermans not to sink the air and waste packages: "Pollution kills 58,000 persons every year. Are they not European citizens? Shouldn’t the Commission protect their interest too?”
25 November 2014 - Birdlife report reveals shockingly poor protection of seabirds in the EU
Over 40% of marine Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (marine IBAs) in Europe are not protected, and 2/3 of EU countries only protect 3% or less of their marine area (Territorial sea and Exclusive Economic Zones).
15 November 2014 - Hundreds of important sites for nature threatened with destruction
More than 350 of the planet’s most important sites for nature are threatened with being lost forever according to a new report by BirdLife International.
Crucial negotiations are taking place today in Ecuador, at the Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Migratory Species, where countries are trying to reach agreement on a global commitment to stop poisoning of birds.
Angelo Caserta, Director of BirdLife Europe, and current Chair of the Green 10, stated: “Europe needs a new impetus in environmental policies. This is why we have compiled a brief for President Juncker with 5 urgent actions to be undertaken in 2015 and 10 priorities for his entire mandate.”
With today’s vote by the European Parliament a new political phase begins in the European Union.
Today the European Commission finished its public consultation on measures aimed at halting the loss of biodiversity in Europe. BirdLife Europe’s press statement: “We do not need new laws, but the implementation of the existing ones”.
After the power grid operators, RGI, more businesses call for a change in Juncker’s mandate letter on the Environment. A joint press statement by Birdlife Europe and the European Cement Association, CEMBUREAU follows.
07 October 2014 - The Green 10, the alliance of leading environmental NGOs in Europe, reiterates the call to reject
the Commission unless rigorous changes of mandates, job titles and re-allocation of posts are made
Read also today's Green 10 public appeal to the European Parliament
Vague and evasive, Designate Vice President for Energy Union Alenka Bratušek fails to convince, showing she is not the right person to lead Europe and the world in the fight against climate change. After the parliamentary hearing Birdlife’s appeal to Juncker to intervene and rebuild the environmental credential of his Commission.
02 October 2014 - Production and simplification trump sustainability in Hogan’s hearing
Commisioner-designate Hogan does not reasure on his plan for the Common Agriculture Policy. His references to environmental sustainabilty were prety weak and vague in comparison to his commitments to simplifying bureaucracy, increasing production and satisfying market players.
01 October 2014 - Despite an eloquent performance and environmental pledges, designate Commissioner Canete does not convince. His credibility is severely undermined by his political background and the opaque relationship with the oil industry. The European Environmental Bureau and Birdlife Europe joint statement.
Today Maltese designate Commissioner for the Environment and fisheries Karmenu Vella appeared in front of the Environment and Fisheries committees in the European Parliament.
22 September 2014 - Violence in Malta: BirdLife volunteers attacked by extremists protesting against hunting ban. The ban was imposed by the government in an apparent move to back the designation of Vella as Commissioner for the Environment and try to silence criticisms
After months of wrestling, the European Commission has given mandate the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to assess the risks to vulture populations of the use of veterinary medicines containing diclofenac.
10 September 2014 - Is the new European Commission side-lining the environment?
The new European Commission announced today by President Jean-Claude Juncker sparks fears in the environmental community.
Spain’s Agricultural Ministry officially established today 39 new marine protected areas under the European Natura 2000 network, marking a a very important day in marine conservation. The new sites are ‘Special Protection Areas for Birds’ (SPAs), designated under the European Birds Directive. The SPAs will offer protection to seabirds whilst they are at sea, complementing the existing network of sites on land.
“The EU failed to stand to the promises of greening the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)”: these are the conclusions of the academic paper published today in Science (EU agricultural reform fails on Biodiversity) authored by leading European scientists, conservation practitioners and agricultural policy experts, among which Birdlife’s Trees Robijns.
27 May 2014 - Anti-inflammatory drug kills eagles, scientists say
In a paper, published today in the journal Bird Conservation International, scientists present results of tests carried out on two steppe eagles found dead in Rajasthan, India. Both birds had diclofenac residue in their tissues and exhibited the same clinical signs of kidney failure as seen in vultures.
In the presence of EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, Birdlife Europe and CEMEX, S.A.B. de C.V. (“CEMEX”) (NYSE: CX) issued today a joint statement wholeheartedly supporting the European Union’s Nature Conservation Policy.
Today is Natura 2000 Day, which celebrates Europe’s largest network of nature areas protected by EU law. This is a good opportunity to recall that these sites, home to rich and unique wildlife are still threatened by habitat deterioration and destruction as a consequence of the lack of EU law enforcement.
21 May 2014 - New studies reveal severe flaws in EU biomass policies
New studies released today show that EU plans for bioenergy are not sustainable. Planned biomass demand is likely to exceed the availability of wood and land for energy crops in the EU.
20 May 2014 - Seabird sanctuary threatened by luxury hotel
Sa Conillera island, one of the best preserved seabird colonies in the Balearic archipelago and home to the Critically Endangered Balearic Shearwater, is under severe threat.
15 May 2014 - European Court of Justice confirms illegality of damaging Natura 2000 sites for narrow economic gains
Today the European Court of Justice confirmed in the Case Brielse and others that EU Member States cannot authorise damaging developments in Natura 2000 sites for narrow economic gains.
16 April 2014 - After 10 years of debate, Europe stands up to growing alien species threat
After 10 years of research, discussion and debate, the EU institutions are finally taking legal action to address the damages caused by non-native species. The EU Regulation on Invasive Alien Species was approved today by the European Parliament and should be rubber-stamped by the Council in May. Once implemented, it will allow for significant improvements to environmental protection across the European continent.
16 April 2014 - European Parliament approves final deal on Fisheries Fund - with potential to support more sustainable fisheries if well used by the Member States
The European Maritime Fisheries Fund deal offers improved opportunities for investment in fisheries recovery and the environment, but still includes too many options for perverse subsidies.
16 April 2014 - After 10 years of debate, Europe stands up to growing alien species threat
The EU Regulation on Invasive Alien Species was approved today by the European Parliament and should be rubber-stamped by the Council in May. Once implemented, it will allow for significant improvements to environmental protection across the European continent.
04 April 2014 - BirdLife asks Commission to take legal action over loss of farmland birds
Today BirdLife Partners in Slovenia and Germany submitted three formal complaints to the Commission, asking for legal action against their respective governments. In both countries, evidence shows widespread loss of farmland birds, even in protected areas such as Natura 2000 sites.
03 March 2014: Diclofenac: drug causing wildlife catastrophe in South Asia is available on EU market
Diclofenac is a powerful anti-inflammatory drug extremely toxic to vultures and its use on cattle has wiped out vulture populations in South Asial. Despite alternative safe drugs readily available, veterinary Diclofenac is now becoming widely available on the EU market.
25 February 2014: Waste-based biofuels sector needs smarter EU 2030 package to realise its high potential
Europe has a significant untapped potential for converting wastes from farming,forestry, industry and households to advanced low - carbon biofuels, but only if it sets a strong sustainability framework and ambitious decarbonisation targets for transport fuels in 2030, finds a new report.
20 February 2014: Commission review gives Member States a "must do better report" for Marine Strategies
Poor implementation, poor coordination, poor integration. This, in a nutshell, is the Commission’s view of progress in implementing the Marine Strategy Framework Directive so far. NGOs are dismayed by the low level of ambition most countries take on achieving Good Environmental Status of their marine waters in 2020, the overarching goal of the Directive.
30 January 2014: Invasives: MEPs give in to fur industry, gutting the proposed regulation through far reaching derogation
Today Members of the Parliament Environmental Committee have approved an amendment allowing Member States to derogate virtually the entire regulation and allow any type of enterprise to breed dangerous plants and animals within the EU.
28 January 2014: Will the Invasive Species Regulation be rendered an empty shell?
Efforts to tackle problems caused by Invasive Alien Species across the EU risk being derailed by MEPs in the Environment Committee when they vote on Thursday on whether or not to allow Member States to freely pick and choose exemptions from a law proposed by the Commission in last September.
22 January 2014: New European Commission 2030 climate and energy goals will not prevent damaging climate change
The white paper on EU’s 2030 climate and energy framework released today presents the European Commission’s disappointing proposal for the future of the EU climate and energy policies - too weak to prevent climate change.
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