Brussels Daily
05 May 2015


Brussels Daily

EU Birds and Habitats Directives: Commission seeks views on the future of EU nature legislation

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the Birds and Habitats Directives to gather opinions about the Directives and how they work in practice. The evaluation is part of a broader “Fitness Check” due in early 2016, which takes stock of EU legislation to ensure that it is fit for purpose. The consultation consists of a range of questions, including whether the directives have met their nature conservation objectives, whether the associated social and economic benefits are appreciated and, if so, whether they are doing so at a reasonable cost. Interested individuals and organisations across Europe are invited to give their views on key issues through an online public questionnaire that will run for twelve weeks. “The Birds and Habitats Directives form a cornerstone of Europe’s nature conservation policy. It is crucial that any evaluation of the legislation is transparent and open. The best way we can get Europeans engaged in protecting nature is to show that we are open to their suggestions”,underlined EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella.

2015 Spring Economic forecast: Tailwinds support the recovery

Commissioner Pierre Moscovici has come to the press room to present the Spring economic forecast. Economic growth in the European Union is set to benefit from economic tailwinds. According to the European Commission’s Spring 2015 Economic Forecast, these short-term factors are boosting an otherwise mild cyclical upswing in the EU. Europe’s economies are benefitting from many supporting factors at once. Oil prices remain relatively low, global growth is steady, the euro has continued to depreciate, and economic policies in the EU are supportive. On the monetary side, quantitative easing by the European Central Bank is having a significant impact on financial markets, contributing to lower interest rates and improving credit conditions. With the overall fiscal stance in the EU broadly neutral – neither tightening nor loosening – fiscal policy is supportive of growth. Over time, the pursuit of structural reforms and the Investment Plan for Europe should also bear fruit. As a result, real GDP in 2015 is now expected to rise by 1.8 % in the EU and by 1.5 % in the euro area, respectively 0.1 and 0.2 percentage points higher than projected three months ago. For 2016, the Commission forecasts growth of 2.1 % in the EU and of 1.9 % in the euro area.The level of uncertainty surrounding the economic outlook remains high, but overall risks to the outlook appear broadly balanced. Commenting on the updated figures, Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, said: “The recovery of Europe’s economies is strengthening. While this is encouraging, we have to make sure economic growth is lasting – sustainable. This can happen by implementing the three priority approach endorsed at EU level – structural reforms, stepping up investment and encouraging fiscal responsibility, while addressing country-specific challenges. The country-specific policy recommendations to be presented by the European Commission in mid-May will be another important step in translating this approach into concrete growth-friendly policies.” Commissioner Moscovici added: “The European economy is enjoying its brightest spring in several years, with the upturn supported by both external factors and policy measures that are beginning to bear fruit. But more needs to be done to ensure this recovery is more than a seasonal phenomenon. Delivering on investment and reforms and sticking to responsible fiscal policies are key to obtaining the lasting jobs and growth Europe needs.” Read the press release.

Read the full edition: Daily News 04 – 05 – 2015

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