Presidencies of the EU
From January to June 2014 the European Union Presidency is in the hands of the Greek Government
Greece takes over the Presidency of the EU amidst critical debates for the future of Europe's environment and climate policy. The Greek government will notably have the last chance to conclude vital political agreements before the current European Commission and Parliament reach the end of the term. BirdLife Europe and its Greek Partner, the Hellenic Ornithological Society (HOS; BirdLife in Greece) have sent a letter to the Greek government, explaining their key recommendations for a successful Presidency.
Provide a strong political leadership on the development of the Climate and Energy package for 2030. Progress is urgently needed to avert catastrophic climate change and to ensure that the EU does not fall behind the global process so that its credibility as a progressive force in the international scene is not jeopardized. This piece of flagship legislation must bring in binding targets as soon as possible to guide investments towards a secure and affordable energy system. Only strong political leadership with an eye for the long-term perspective can deliver the low-cost, low-carbon energy supply that Europe needs. Strong leadership will also be necessary in brokering a deal on tackling the Indirect Land Use Change of Biofuels. The recent collapse of Council negotiations runs the risk of leaving Europe with a broken system of subsidies that harms the climate and biodiversity, disrupts food markets and does nothing to promote innovative clean energy solutions. We call on the Greek Presidency to provide this leadership.
Encourage the decision making process of an EU regulation addressing the damages caused by invasive alien species. The European Commission’s regulation proposal on invasive alien species published last autumn is currently being discussed in the Council. Europe’s biodiversity and natural environment urgently need this important piece of legislation to be finalised and swiftly implemented before the European Elections cause delay. Invasive alien species are devastating Europe’s natural environment and costing Member States at least 12 billion euros a year. The problem can be fixed through prevention, control and co-ordination, but strong management will be needed from the Greek Presidency.
Ensure robust environmental measures in the Maritime Spatial Planning Directive. This will be crucial to guarantee that much needed infrastructure and energy investments are rolled out sustainably and with a long-term perspective in the marine environment.
Make swift progress on the implementation of European environmental legislation. There is likely to be an initiative on environmental inspections which will finally propose a solution to the poor implementation of European environmental legislation, as identified by the 7th Environmental Action Programme. The Greek Presidency will be key in guaranteeing that this file is taken seriously.
Prepare the EU’s position for the next Convention on Migratory Species later in the year. The Convention on Migratory Species is a critical body for ensuring protection for migratory birds and biodiversity.
Stichting BirdLife Europe gratefully acknowledges financial support from the European Commission. All content and opinions expressed on these pages are solely those of Stichting BirdLife Europe.