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Representation in Ireland
News article9 February 2022Representation in Ireland1 min read

Protecting biodiversity: EU takes action to prevent introduction of invasive alien species that would damage European nature

The European Commission is taking legal steps against 15 Member States, including Ireland, in order to step up the prevention and management of invasive alien species. 

The grey squirrel is an invasive alien species

Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czechia, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia have failed to establish, implement and communicate to the Commission by July 2019 their action plans under Regulation 1143/2014 to address the most invasive alien species of Union concern. Such species cause damage to the environment and health so significant that it justifies the adoption of measures applicable across the EU.

Preventing harm to European biodiversity

Invasive alien species are one of the 5 major causes of biodiversity loss in Europe and worldwide. They are plants and animals that are introduced accidentally or deliberately as a result of human intervention into a natural environment where they are not normally found. They represent a major threat to native plants and animals in Europe, causing an estimated damage of €12 billion per year to the European economy.

Regulation 1143/2014 on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species requires Member States to identify and manage the pathways by which invasive alien species are introduced and spread. Despite progress in the prioritisation of pathways, implementation is still lagging behind in most Member States. So far, only 12 Member States have drawn up, adopted and communicated to the Commission their action plans to address the most important pathways of entering of invasive alien species.

Enforcement action by the Commission

The Commission has been providing continuous support to the Member States to properly implement the existing laws, using its enforcement powers where necessary. This is crucial for protecting nature in the EU, so that citizens can rely on its services across the Union.

The Commission sent letters of formal notice on this issue to 18 Member States in June 2021. As the responses received from the 15 Member States mentioned above were unsatisfactory, the Commission has decided to issue reasoned opinions. The countries in question have two months to reply and take the necessary measures, otherwise the cases may be referred to the Court of Justice.


For More Information

Full Commission press release

Infringement procedure

Enforcing EU Environmental Law: Benefits and Achievements

Study to assess the benefits delivered through the enforcement of EU environmental legislation

Study: The costs of not implementing EU environmental law


Publication date
9 February 2022
Representation in Ireland