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Invasive Alien Species

Invasive Alien Species are animals and plants that are introduced accidently or deliberately into a natural environment where they are not normally found, with serious negative consequences for their new environment. They represent a major threat to native plants and animals in Europe, causing damage worth millions of euros every year.

images/new.gifNew EU Regulation to address invasive alien species and protect biodiversity

The new Regulation on invasive alien species was published in the Official Journal on 4 November 2014. It will enter into force on 1 January 2015. The new regulation seeks to address the problem of invasive alien species in a comprehensive manner so as to protect native biodiversity and ecosystem services, as well as to minimize and mitigate the human health or economic impacts that these species can have.

The regulation foresees three types of interventions; prevention, early warning and rapid response, and management. A list of invasive alien species of Union concern will be drawn up and managed with Member States using risk assessments and scientific evidence.

The Regulation is available below:

Regulation on Invasive Alien Species

More information:

Brochure on Invasive Alien Species English français Deutsch español

Brochure on LIFE and Invasive Alien Species

Commission Proposal for a Regulation on Invasive Alien Species

The original Commission proposal was launched on 9 September 2013 and all related documents can be found below:

The EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy adopted in May 2011 announced a dedicated legislative instrument on invasive alien species, hence the new proposal.

In formulating its policy, the European Commission has sought citizens' and stakeholders' views on invasive alien species (2008) and on the specific choices to be made when setting up dedicated legislation on invasive species (2012). The results of the 2008 and 2012 consultations are available here: 2008 and 2012.

All other working material related to the EU invasive alien species policy is accessible here. For further information or comments please mail:

Commission Communication "Towards an EU Strategy on Invasive Species"

On 3 December 2008 the European Commission adopted a Communication presenting policy options for an EU Strategy on Invasive Species. The Communication examines the evidence regarding the ecological, economical and social impact of invasive species in Europe, analyses the effectiveness of the current legal situation for tackling this problem and describes 4 possible options for a future EU strategy.

Information support system

The European Commission is working together with several partners to develop an information exchange mechanism to facilitate the implementation of the EU policy on invasive alien species: the European Alien Species Information Network (EASIN) is an online platform that aims to facilitate the exploration of existing information on alien species from distributed sources.

To access data and information on alien species in Europe through a network of interoperable web services click on European Alien Species Information Network (EASIN)

Preparatory studies

Framework for the identification of invasive alien species of EU concern – October 2014

This study has reviewed existing risk assessment methodologies, developed minimum standards and assessed the compliance of available risk assessments with those minimum standards. While this study provides scientific support to the development of the list of IAS of Union concern of the new IAS Regulation, the results presented in the study report cannot be in any way regarded as the list that the Commission will be proposing, nor to represent the opinion of the Commission.

Assessment of existing policies on invasive alien species in EU Member States and selected OECD countries – September 2011

This Commission funded study provides an overview of the existing policies on invasive alien species in the 27 EU Member States, as well as in four OECD countries - Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States.

The report includes two parts:

  • Final report - summarising the findings of the study
  • Country assessments - summarising the existing policies in each Member State and country considered.

Assessment to support continued development of the EU strategy to combat invasive alien species – November 2010

This Commission funded report sets out a suggested outline for key components of the future EU Strategy on Invasive Alien Species. The report also provides an initial assessment of the possible level / scale of costs associated with EU policy action on IAS.

Recommendations on policy options to minimise the negative impacts of invasive alien species on biodiversity in Europe and the EU – September 2009

Other technical studies aimed at support the development of an EU strategy are list below. Their contents and views are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the European Commission.

  • Recommendations on policy options to minimise the negative impacts of invasive alien species on biodiversity in Europe and the EU
  • Assessment of the impacts of invasive alien species in Europe and the EU
  • Policy options to minimise the negative impacts of invasive alien species on biodiversity in Europe and the EU
  • Analysis of the impacts of policy options/measures to address IAS

Other research

Other research was conducted focusing on common ragweed, an alien species which is highly invasive across Europe and has harmful impacts on a range of sectors, especially human health and agriculture.

Complex research on methods to halt the Ambrosia invasion in Europe – May 2014

This Commission grant supported a team of scientists from the fields of agronomy, weed science and ecology to design and perform joint experiments and create guidelines and recommendations on the control of ragweed.

Assessing and controlling the spread and the effects of common ragweed in Europe – October 2012

This Commission funded study summarised and systematically reviewed data and utilised modern modelling methods to quantify the current extent of ragweed infestation in Europe, its economic, social and environmental harmful effects in all sectors and possible future scenarios (according to control efforts and climate change).


Invasive species, threatening biodiversity in Europe

Invasive Alien

LIFE and invasive alien species

LIFE and invasive alien species

Invasive Alien Species

Invasive Alien Species

Invasive Alien

Invasive Alien Species