Biodiversity: a burning issue for the European Union

The European Union faces what Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy calls a “silent crisis” in the loss of biodiversity. It goes unheard and unreported, the Dutch MEP argues, because it is not accounted in the mainstream economy. In reality, he says, biodiversity loss costs the EU “…between 400 and 500 billion Euros a year.”



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On Friday, the European Parliament will debate and vote on a report from the environment committee (ENVI) for which Gerbrandy is rapporteur. In January, Gerbrandy’s first draft was critical of the EU’s failure to meet its own biodiversity targets. Two thirds of EU habitat types and more than half the species listed in the Habitats Directive “…have an unfavourable conservation status…” and a framework directive on soil is “crucial.”

Since agriculture is the largest single item on the EU budget, Gerbrandy argues that the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) must stop subsidising activities which undermine the environment and biodiversity. Not surprisingly, agriculture was the eye of a storm that dogged the committee stages of the report.

Last week, in the closing moments of an interview with Gerbrandy observed that the EU’s environment ministers defer to their agricultural colleagues. Instead, “…they should be ambassadors for biodiversity.”

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About Peter Crosskey 283 Articles

Peter Crosskey is based in the UK.