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Combat invasive alien species – Target 5

Alien species are animals and plants introduced accidentally or deliberately into a natural environment where they are not normally found. Such species can become invasive in their new environment if they start spreading and causing serious damage to native species and ecosystems.

Invasive alien species represent a major threat to Europe's native biodiversity and cause economic damage worth billions of euros every year. This threat and damage is likely to increase in the future unless decisive and coordinated action is taken to control the pathways of their introduction, prevent their establishment and spread, and manage already established populations. Prevention is priority because established populations can be expensive to manage and difficult or impossible to eradicate.

What the EU Biodiversity Strategy says

Target 5 requires that by 2020, invasive alien species are identified, priority species controlled or eradicated, and pathways managed to prevent new invasive species from disrupting European biodiversity. (Read the Strategy). It is accompanied by two specific actions to tackle the threat of invasive alien species.

  • Action 15: Make sure that the EU Plant and Animal Health legislation includes a greater concern for biodiversity.
  • Action 16: Provide a legal framework to fight invasive alien species

Some of the progress so far...

  • The IAS Regulation (Regulation (EU) 1143/2014 on invasive alien species) entered into force on 1 January 2015.
  • A list of invasive alien species of Union concern has been adopted, currently including 49 species that are subject to common action at Union level as set out in the IAS Regulation.
  • An information exchange mechanism supporting the implementation of Regulation (EU) 1143/2014 has been established. EASIN (European Alien Species Information Network) is a platform developed by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre which enables easy access to data on alien species reported in Europe.
  • The new Regulation (EU) 2016/429 on transmissible animal diseases “Animal Health Law” was adopted in March 2016 and the new Regulation (EU) 2016/2031 on protective measures against pests of plants "Plant health law " in October 2016.

To learn more about our work on invasive alien species and the implementation of Regulation (EU) 1143/2014 click here.

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