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Netherlands becomes 11th EU country to defend vital nature laws


08 Dec 2015


Climate & Environment

The Netherlands is today [Tuesday 8th December] 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 in Luxembourg next Wednesday [16thDecember] at a meeting of the EU Environment Council.


For further information, please contact: 
Luca Bonaccorsi, BirdLife Europe Head of Communications:
+32 (0) 2 238 50 94 - Out of hours: +32 (0) 478 206 284

Finlay Duncan, BirdLife Europe Communications and Media Officer:
+32 (0) 2 238 50 81 - Out of hours: +32 (0) 485 873 291


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