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Record public response to consultation on Birds & Habitats Directives reaffirms support for EU role in protecting nature
More than half a million European citizens have contributed to a public consultation on the Fitness Check of the Birds and Habitats Directives, a record number of submissions for a Commission consultation. A total of 552,471 citizens and organisations responded to the Commission questionnaire.The input received is a mixture of detailed responses from stakeholders and statements submitted by citizens through web-based campaigns such as the Nature Alert NGO campaign, which accounted for over 520,000 responses and generated over 50,000 tweets. This mass participation helps to provide the Commission with an idea of the public interest in the issue, in complement to the detailed input provided by other stakeholders.
Commission First-Vice President Frans Timmermans and Commissioner for the Environment Karmenu Vella welcomed the response: “We’re very grateful for the active participation and degree of engagement with our consultation.We’ll bear all the input received in mind as the Fitness Check continues. As we have said many times before, this exercise is about making sure that legislation that was introduced a generation ago remains fit for purpose for the next generation. This includes looking at issues of implementation and enforcement. This is about finding the best way to keep our standards to protect birds and other wildlife high, and making sure they are effectively applied, not about weakening them.
In the Autumn the Commission will organise a High-Level Conference to review the first results of the Fitness Check evaluation. Fitness Checks are one of the tools under the Commission’s REFIT programme which aim to assess the performance of the existing EU legal framework with respect to its policy objectives. Under the Commission’s Better Regulation strategy, EU policies should be reviewed regularly to make sure that they are still fit for purpose, without lowering the EU’s high standards of environmental, social and consumer protection.
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