Commission, Parliament and Council optimistic on Invasive Alien Species proposal
Following an orientation debate on the draft regulation on prevention and management of invasive species in the Environment Council by EU ministers, there is optimism amongst the institutions that legislation can be approved before the European Parliament elections in May 2014.
The Commission presented in September 2013 a proposal to establish a framework for action to prevent, minimise and mitigate the adverse impact of alien species on biodiversity and ecosystem services. The Commission estimates that the cost to the economy of Invasive Alien Species are €12.5 billion/year, while the cost of action under the proposed legislation is €1.4 billion annually. The proposal has been put forward in order to implement target 5 of the European Biodiversity Strategy.
Both the European Parliament and Council have held discussions on the proposal and broadly welcomed the initiative. At a stakeholder workshop attended by ENEP, a spokesperson for the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council said that all delegations broadly support the need for a proposal, but that there was disagreement with the Commission over the details of the proposed list system of IAS. The majority of Member States also raised the need to recognise species that are native to one part of the EU but invasive to another. Member States also emphasised the importance of regional cooperation.
European Parliament rapporteur Pavel Poc (S&D) has also expressed concerns over the proposed cap of 50 on the list of Invasive Alien Species to be prioritised, arguing it will be impossible to know how many species to include in advance. The Parliament has also proposed the use of a dedicated scientific forum to consult experts and encourage public participation. Such a forum would provide broad scientific support to the European Commission on Invasive Alien Species.