Any proposals for natural restoration need to be ambitious but also realistic, so that small member states in particular can have room for flexibility to implement them, agriculture ministry permanent secretary Andreas Gregoriou said on Tuesday during his intervention at the Environment Council held in Brussels.
The main item on the Council’s agenda was an exchange of views in relation to the proposal for a regulation on nature restoration, which aims to contribute to the restoration of European habitats, 80 per cent of which are in poor condition.
Commenting on the proposed regulation, Gregoriou said that proposals must be both ambitious and realistic, and stressed that individual targets and the application of the non-deterioration principle should maintain the required degree of flexibility so that member states, especially small ones with limited resources such as Cyprus, can comply.
Gregoriou pointed out that specificities regarding Cyprus, such as the lack of data and the extent of unknown areas, particularly in relation to marine areas, should be taken into account.
During the discussion, the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU updated the ministers on the progress of the proposal to revise the Industrial Emissions Directive.
On this issue, Gregoriou said that there are provisions that will be difficult to implement in Cyprus, and expressed the country’s reservations regarding the proposed admission threshold for livestock units.
He pointed out that the proposed threshold is low and that this will result in the significant increase of the total number of units to be covered by the Directive, which will have negative consequences for the sector.
The European Commission also presented the new package of legislative proposals on the circular economy and the package of proposals on zero pollution.
Gregoriou commented in particular on the revision of the directive of urban waste water treatment, expressing Cyprus’s reservations regarding the large number of new obligations to be introduced, the increased implementation costs and tight timetables included in the proposed revision, as well as the reduction of the population threshold of the agglomerations that will be covered by the revised directive.