Oceana: Mediterranean countries not meeting obligations
By Anne Eckstein | Tuesday 24 July 2012
The ecological organisation Oceana is concerned over the long delay by the EU’s Mediterranean member states in submitting management plans for Natura 2000 protected areas to the European Commission. Most of the states concerned will not be ready to meet the deadline of 21 September 2012 for submitting the plans and may find themselves facing financial penalties. The NGO warns: “They have 60 days to comply with the directive”.
“The administrative neglect of the conservation of the Mediterranean region is unjustifiable and inexcusable,” commented Xavier Pastor of Oceana Europe. “Member states have had six years to develop management plans for marine areas that they themselves have suggested. We seem to be facing a situation of massive non-compliance with the obligations of the Habitats Directive,” he added.
The Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) gave member states a six-year transitional period to draw up management plans for conservation areas included in the Natura 2000 network and to designate special areas of conservation. The first list of protected marine areas for the Mediterranean region was published on 21 September 2006, the date on which the six-year transitional period began. The Commission, notes Oceana, first warned in 2010 that the countries concerned had not proposed enough areas to protect the 18 species and five marine habitats covered by the Habitats Directive for European waters, a number “which is already insufficient given the current biodiversity and the daily significant increases in available information on their status and conservation needs”.