Europe and Central Asia
8 Dec 2015

Now The Netherlands joins fight to save Europe's Nature Laws

The Dutch Parliament in The Hague - Photo © Pieter Musterd / Flickr
By Finlay Duncan

The Netherlands is today the eleventh EU country to publicly stand up for Europe’s key nature laws, the Birds and Habitats Directives.

In a vote in the Dutch Parliament this afternoon, MPs called on the government to write to the EU and tell them to protect, rather than re-open, the laws and improve their implementation.

Ariel Brunner, BirdLife Europe Senior Head of Policy, said: “The adoption of a progressive position by the Netherlands really pulls the plug on the notion that the Birds and Habitats Directives should be revised. If nobody seems to ask for it, why would the Commission waste any more time on this idea?”

“Hopefully the ground is now clear for a constructive discussion about how to properly enforce these crucial laws and how to tackle the real problems of biodiversity, such as the lack of funding the disastrous consequences of intensive farming”.

It comes after the environment ministers of nine European governments (Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Croatia and Luxembourg) wrote in October to the EU’s Environment Commissioner, Karmenu Vella, calling on him to safeguard the directives and improve their implementation. They were later joined by Greece, who sent their own letter, with a similar letter following from seven of the European Parliament’s eight political groupings. More than half a million people, a record number, also backed the directives in a public consultation this summer.

The Birds and Habitats Directives, also known as the Nature Directives, are currently undergoing a ‘Fitness Check’ process by the European Commission, the results of which are due in April 2016. National ministers will discuss the issue next Wednesday (16th December) at a meeting of the EU Environment Council.

More information on the Nature Alert campaign to protect the directives is available here.

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. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.