The Guardian: Birds & Habitats Directive The European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, has been forced to abandon an overhaul of flagship nature laws after an unprecedented campaign that mobilised over half a million people in protest. The popular birds and habitats directives protect almost a fifth of Europe’s landmass, about 200 wetlands, meadows and marine habitats, and more than a thousand animal and plant species. But shortly after taking office in 2014, Juncker began a review to overhaul the nature laws (pdf) and make them more business-friendly, sparking an internal battle at the commission. But on Wednesday the laws were declared “fit for purpose” without a vote and as campaigners celebrated, the environment commissioner, Karmenu Vella, hailed what he said was a win for nature in Europe. “We have listened to public opinion very carefully,” he told the Guardian. “The main message sent is that these two directives are a milestone when it comes to environmental habitats and species [protections]. We need better and smarter implementation but these problems can be solved with non-legislative action. The directives will not be reopened.” Click here to read more.

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