The EU’s national governments are under attack from campaigners for allegedly backtracking on commitments to protect biodiversity.
Environment ministers are expected to approve a biodiversity strategy drafted by the European Commission when they meet in Luxembourg on 21 June. The strategy, which the Commission published in May this year, included targets for combating the loss of biodiversity in farming, fisheries and other policy areas.
During a discussion last Wednesday (8 June), national governments’ ambassadors to the EU said they needed more time to agree targets and other actions to achieve the goal of reducing biodiversity loss by 2020.
Tony Long, the director of European policy at WWF, said: “The implication is that it [the EU’s biodiversity strategy] is being kicked into the long grass.”
According to Long, ambassadors had said at the meeting that they dislike targets because they limit the scope for negotiations on the EU’s fisheries and farming policies.
One of the Commission’s targets is to limit fishing to the maximum sustainable limits by 2015, and Long fears that abandoning principles of this nature is “going back on targets [that] should have been agreed last year”. He questioned when the EU would return to discussing and agreeing targets. In his view, waiting until discussions on reform of farm and fisheries policy were concluded could mean a delay of up to two years, putting in jeopardy meeting the 2020 deadline.
? Environment ministers will next week discuss a water strategy for the EU and an action plan for transition to a low-carbon economy by 2050.
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