The European Commission is currently conducting a review of the Birds and Habitats Directives (FW 204). As much a political as a technical process, the European Commission’s actions and words are under intense scrutiny by environmental groups, never more so than at Green Week (3-5 June). In his opening speech where he addressed the review of these directives, First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said the Commission wanted to keep high standards in the two laws, but wanted to find a ‘more modern way’ of achieving them.
Open to interpretation, the ‘modernisation’ agenda is often viewed as seeking to introduce markets where regulation once prevailed, triggering fears that the Commission is trying to insert increased ‘flexibility’ mechanisms into EU Nature legislation, such as controversial biodiversity offsets.
To provoke thought and bring concerns over the ‘modernisation’ agenda of the Birds and Habitats Directives to the table, on 23 June, the European Parliament hosted a screening of the documentary Banking Nature, facilitated by Fern, which questions the role that markets play in protecting biodiversity, followed by a debate about the role the EU should play in supporting innovative financial mechanisms for biodiversity protection.
The outcome of the Birds and Habitats review will be unveiled early next year, at the same time as the announcement of the No Net Loss initiative.