Invasive alien species: "The damage and costs continue to increase"
One of the worst threats to Europe's biodiversity and ecosystems is plant and animals species coming from other countries and continents, which often cause the near extinction of native species. On 16 April MEPs approved new rules to tackle this issue. "Invasive alien species are the second most significant threat to biodiversity after habitat loss and they are also recognised as a major cause of species extinction," said Pavel Poc, the MEP responsible for steering the proposal through the EP.
Globalisation and the increased use of international transport have made it easier for species to spread to other areas. Some of these are harmless, but others prove detrimental to local animal and plant life and unbalance the ecosystem. The Parliament voted on Wednesday 16 April on new legislation to deal with this issue. Mr Poc, a Czech member of the S&D group, commented: "The new measures should prevent new invasive alien species from entering the EU and to deal more effectively with the ones that are already established in Europe."
Under the proposal a list of invasive alien species that could prove damaging would be established and those species should not be introduced, transported, placed on the market, offered, kept, grown or released into the environment. "Efforts to minimise the impact of the invasive alien species will be coherent in the member states, cover all of the EU and will be better coordinated, which means that their overall effectiveness will be improved," Mr Poc said.
Some of these species can also prove a threat to human health, as they can cause health problems such asthma or allergies and are potential carriers of various diseasesa like the Dengue fever propagated by the Asian tiger mosquito, which first emerged in Europe in 1979 through a shipment of goods from China.
"Invasive alien species are estimated to cost the European Union at least €12 billion per year and the damage and the costs continue to increase," said Mr Poc.