Sofia Echo


EU: Greece under pressure over environmental mismanagement

Author: Nick Iliev Date: Fri, Mar 19 2010 3844 Views
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The European Commission has reprimanded Greece for two failures to effectively implement biodiversity legislation. According to the report published on the commission's website, Greece has been ordered before the courts in the past for failing to comply with rules regarding protected areas for birds.

Greece is also singled out for failing to provide adequate protection for these nature parks once they have been set up.

Europe's nature is protected by two pieces of legislation, the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive, the report says.

The Birds Directive stipulates that all European Union countries are supposed to allocate suitable sites as special protection areas (SPA) where wild bird species can thrive and be preserved. Additionally, the Habitats Directive requires all member states to set up special conservation areas (SAC) to safeguard the well-being of certain natural habitat birds and listed species.

These two programmes, the SPA and SAC, constitute a vital part of the Natura 2000 scheme, the EU's most important instrument for conserving natural habitats and the animal and plant species they contain. Bulgaria also has to adhere to its legislation.

In the case of Greece, however, the European Court unearthed a series of glaring shortcomings. Should the Greek government fail to act accordingly and implement effective measures, another appearance in court is all but inevitable, followed by fines, the report says.

The European Court cited species as being in particular need of stronger protection, including the Bearded Vulture (Gypætus barbatus), an endangered species, and the Eastern Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca), a species described as "threatened" in Greece.

Bulgaria has also been found guilty of violating biodiversity habitats. Recent reports revealed that pending construction of a resort village on the Black Sea coast, in the protected area of Karadere, severely undermines the area's flora and fauna.

Dnevnik daily reported in November 2009 that the main investor in the planned construction was Darmatex Bulgaria, owned by offshore company Darmatex, registered in Malta. Construction was set to begin in Sveteritsa, immediately above a protected reserve.

According to the Regional Inspectorate of Environment and Water (RIOSV) in Bourgas, the proposed construction was perched in the middle of a protected area that was part of the Natura 2000 network in the Kamchiiska Mountain.

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