The EESC draws particular attention to the Commission's comments on the importance of protecting biodiversity, which it compares to climate protection. This is not just about conserving animal and plant species: it concerns the very conditions of human existence.
The EESC calls for immediate implementation of the Birds and Habitats Directives. The same goes for the Water Framework Directive, whose consistent and immediate implementation would in the EESC's view make a considerable contribution to improving biodiversity protection.
The Member States must finally determine actual financial needs arising from the implementation of EU law, and the Commission must make the necessary funding available. The financing of biodiversity through the second CAP pillar can be considered to have failed, and the EESC therefore calls for a separate budget heading to be introduced under which financing for the Natura 2000 network must be made available.
The strengthening of Green Infrastructure is explicitly welcomed.
The inconsistencies in EU policies have been criticised by Commission departments, the Environment Council, the European Parliament, the CoR and the EESC, and there has been no substantial change in this respect in recent years..
In hindsight, the EU's various biodiversity strategies and biodiversity programmes from 1998, 2001, 2006 and 2010, each of which accurately described the problems and set out appropriate tools, must therefore be regarded as largely futile.
The EESC therefore observes once again – as in a large number of its previous opinions on EU biodiversity – that it is political will that is lacking, not legal foundations. No change in the current legal basis is needed.