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 billions of euros to the European economy every year.
Brochure on Invasive Alien Species
Brochure on Life and Invasive Alien Species
The Regulation 1143/2014 on invasive alien species entered into force on 1 January 2015. This 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 detection and rapid eradication, and management.
A list of invasive alien species of Union concern has been adopted:
The list was drawn up together with the Member States, represented through the Scientific Forum and the Committee on Invasive Alien Species, on the basis of risk assessments and scientific evidence. According to Regulation 1143/2014, the list needs to be kept up to date and a first update of the list is under preparation. All risk assessments supporting the first list, as well as all material detailing progress towards the first update of the list can be found here.
Besides the European Commission, Member States can propose additional species for listing, according to Article 4(4) of the Regulation. Those proposals are submitted to the Scientific Forum for its opinion on whether the information is robust and fit for purpose, according to an agreed procedure that can be found here. This procedure foresees as well an opportunity for any concerned stakeholders to provide their input in relation to the proposals.
Proposals for which the underpinning risk assessments receive a positive opinion from the Scientific Forum, are forwarded to the Committee where the compliance of the proposed species with the criteria for listing are discussed (cf. Art 4(3) of Regulation 1143/2014).
PLEASE NOTE: the deadline for proposing species for the second update of the list is 10 February 2017.
The implementation of the Regulation is supported by a Committee made up of representatives of all Member States.
Furthermore, advice on scientific questions related to the implementation of the Regulation is provided through a Scientific Forum with representatives of the scientific community appointed by the Member States.
The Working Group on Invasive Alien Species (WGIAS), as sub-group of the Coordination Group on Biodiversity and Nature, has been reconvened and its membership renewed, so as to have an operational group providing concrete input to the implementation of the Regulation, while ensuring fair and representative participation.
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)
The European Commission is supporting action on invasive alien species through its existing financing instruments. Some examples:
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 .
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, economic 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.
Prioritising prevention efforts through horizon scanning – August 2015
In order to support the prioritisation of invasive alien species for future risk assessments, a horizon scanning methodology for the Europe was developed and implemented. The outcome was a list of 95 species, including all taxa (except microorganisms) within marine, terrestrial and freshwater environments, considered as very high or high priority for risk assessment. The results presented in its report cannot be in any way regarded as the list that the Commission will be proposing, nor to represent the opinion of the Commission.
Ad hoc scientific workshop to complete selected invasive alien species risk assessments – February 2015
This workshop has completed risk assessments that were nearly compliant with the minimum standards published in October 2014 (see below). While this workshop provided scientific support to the development of the list of IAS of Union concern, the results presented in its report cannot be in any way regarded as the list that the Commission will be proposing, nor to represent the opinion of the Commission.
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:
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.
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).