EU biodiversity will now be protected from invasive alien species, says S&D MEP Pavel Poc
Animals, plants, fungi and micro-organisms that come from outside European territory are considered 'alien species' and in many cases they can pose a threat to our local biodiversity and ecosystems when they arrive in Europe.
So far, there is little legislation and there are few preventive measures in place, and this is why the European Parliament will today pass a regulation to prevent and manage the introduction and spread of those invasive alien species which can have a negative impact, either on the environment, human health or socio-economic development.
The author of the parliamentary report, S&D MEP Pavel Poc, said:
"With globalisation and a more interconnected world, biological invasions will increase and the problem is far from under control. Only 11% out of more than 12,000 alien species recorded in Europe have an impact on biodiversity and ecosystems, but they are considered to be a serious factor in the loss of biodiversity – second only to habitat loss – and a major cause of species extinction. So the S&D Group is firmly committed to taking measures to protect biodiversity.
"Alien species can also be carriers of diseases or directly cause health problems. For example, the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) has been linked to more than 20 diseases, including yellow fever and dengue fever. Invasive alien species can also damage infrastructure and recreational facilities, and hamper forestry or cause agricultural losses.
"I have been working on this issue for more then 20 years now and I am very pleased to see the EU fighting biodiversity loss. Efforts to minimise the impact of invasive alien species will now be coherent across the EU member states and there will be better co-ordination, which means that the overall effectiveness will be improved. Early warning and rapid response systems will help the member states to reduce the costs and further prevent the negative impacts related to new invasions.
"The cost of invasive alien species in the EU is estimated to be at least €12 billion per year over the past 20 years, whereas the cost of preventing dissemination, strengthening regulation and eradication of invasive species in the EU varies from €40 to 100 million per year."