Invasive species, threatening biodiversity in Europe
Invasive Alien Species are animals and plants that are introduced accidently or deliberately into a natural environment where they are not normally found. They represent a serious threat to native plants and animals in Europe, causing € millions worth of damage every year.
Recognising the increasingly serious problem of invasive alien species in Europe, the Commission is currently working on a dedicated legislative instrument on Invasive Alien Species which is due to be adopted in 2013. This is one of six key objectives of the new EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy adopted in May 2011.
The European Commission has been seeking 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 consultation are available here: 2008 and 2012.
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.
The Commission Communication has since been discussed in various EU institutions:
The Environment Council adopted conclusions on the mid-term assessment of implementing the EU Biodiversity Action Plan (the 2008 Report) and Towards an EU Strategy on Invasive Alien Species
The Committee of the Regions adopted its opinion "A NEW IMPETUS FOR HALTING BIODIVERSITY LOSS".
The European Economic and Social Committee adopted its opinion on Towards an EU Strategy on Invasive Species.
Common ragweed is an alien species which is highly invasive across Europe and has harmful impacts on a range of sectors, especially human health and agriculture. This Commission funded study synthesised and systematically reviewed information 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).
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:
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.