“Shocking” lack of effort from EU Member States to protect marine environment revealed

Environmental lawyers have applauded a new report that highlights the lack of effort from several EU Member States in protecting the marine environment from pollution, biodiversity loss and unsustainable fishing.

The report from the European Commission on the implementation of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), warns that, because of a lack of commitment, Member States will not be able to achieve the goal of a ‘good environmental status’ for all EU waters by 2020, as set by the MSFD.

ClientEarth lawyer Klaudija Cremers said: “It is shocking to see that EU Member States still lack the ambition desperately needed to tackle the various threats that affect marine life and their habitats. The clock is ticking and now is the time to act to make sure we halt the further degradation of the oceans.”

The Commission also criticises some Member States for failing to comply with their reporting obligations. All 23 EU countries with a coastline were obliged to report actions they have taken to implement this Directive before 31st March 2016, in order for the Commission to carry out a comprehensive assessment.

However, due to a lack of response, the Commission had to start infringement proceedings and seven Member States (Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Lithuania, Romania and Slovenia) were even excluded from the assessment for failing to send their report on time.

Cremers added: “It is positive that the Commission is being more transparent in providing the names of the Member States failing to comply with their reporting obligations. We regret the lack of commitment from these Member States, which is jeopardising the quality of the Commission’s assessment.”

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