Brussels Daily
21 Nov 2018


Brussels Daily


EU Nature Action Plan: revised guidance on managing protected Natura 2000 areas

As part of the EU Action Plan for Nature, People and the Economy the European Commission has published an updated guidance for Member States’ authorities, stakeholders and EU citizens on how to conserve and manage Natura 2000 network of protected areas. Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, said: “With today’s updated guidance document we’re helping to ensure that EU nature laws deliver for nature, people and the economy. The sound management of the Natura 2000 sites is essential for the maintenance and enhancement of our European biodiversity, ecosystems and the services they provide on which some 4.4 million jobs in the EU are directly dependent. I trust that this document will be of great use for the management of Natura 2000 sites, helping to better reconcile nature protection with different economic activities for the broader benefit of society.” Natura 2000 established under the EU’s Birds Directive and Habitats Directive is a EU-wide network of over 27 500 terrestrial and marine sites covering more than 18 % of land area and is the centrepiece of the EU’s nature and biodiversity policy. While national and regional authorities are primarily responsible for the implementation of EU nature legislation, today’s guidanceprovides added clarity to help Member States to improve application of provisions around permitting procedures (Article 6 of the Habitats Directive). Through clear and accessible explanations, the Commission anticipates to reduce administrative burdens, streamline procedures across Member States, and enhance overall implementation on the ground for the benefit of nature, people and the economy. More information is available in the news item.

Commission’s Structural Reform Support Programme is deliveringon its objectives

The first annual monitoring report on the implementation of the Structural Reform Support Programme was released today. In 2017, 159 requests from 16 Member States were selected for funding under the programme. The 2017 annual monitoring report shows that the programme can significantly contribute to the efforts of the Member States’ authorities to identify and overcome structural weaknesses in the design and implementation of reforms. Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, also in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, said: “The Annual Growth Survey, adopted by the College today, underlines that growth-enhancing reforms remain a key priority for the EU. Through the Structural Reform Support Programme, the Commission supports Member States’ reform initiatives while enabling them to share best practices and learn from each other’s experience.” The Structural Reform Support Programme entered into force in May 2017 and has a budget of €222.8 million until 2020. The programme is available to all EU Member States upon their request and provides tailor-made expertise on the practical aspects of reforms. The first monitoring report of the programme is available here. The programme is managed by the Structural Reform Support Service which supports Member States in the preparation, design and implementation of growth-enhancing reforms. Since 2015, the service has engaged, through the Structural Reform Support Programme or other sources, in almost 500 technical support projects in 25 EU Member States. An overview of the 3 years of the Structural Reform Support Service is available here

COLLEGE MEETING: European Semester Autumn Package: Bolstering inclusive and sustainable growth

Vice-President Dombrovskis, Commissioner Thyssen and Commissioner Moscovici presented today the European Semester Autumn Package that represents the beginning of the 2019 European Semester cycle of economic and social policy coordination. The Commission has set out the EU’s economic and social priorities for 2019, presented Opinions on Draft Budgetary Plans and confirmed the existence of particularly serious non-compliance with the Stability and Growth Pact in the case of Italy. Greece has been integrated into the European Semester for the first time. The 2019 European Semester cycle of economic and social policy coordination begins against a backdrop of sustained but less dynamic growth in a climate of high uncertainty. A lot has been achieved since 2014 but more must be done to support inclusive and sustainable growth and job creation while enhancing the resilience of Member States’ economies. At EU level, this demands taking the decisions required to further strengthen the Economic and Monetary Union. At national level, there is a pressing need to use the current growth momentum to build up fiscal buffers and reduce debt. Investment and structural reforms need to focus even more on boosting productivity and growth potential. These actions will provide the conditions for sustained macro-financial stability and serve EU’s long-term competitiveness. This will, in turn, create the conditions for more and better jobs, greater social fairness and better living standards for Europeans. Today’s package is based on the Autumn 2018 Economic Forecast and builds on the priorities set out in President Juncker’s 2018 State of the Union address. The press release and memo are available online.


Read the European Commission – Daily News in full here


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