Cyprus Mail

Cyprus taken to EU court over precious sites

comment les the rezoning of nature areas such as on the akamas peninsula all reflect the corruption of government officials
According to the European Commission, conservation measures for 28 of Cyprus' 37 Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) have not been established and the conservation objectives for five sites are deemed inadequate, leaving species and habitats vulnerable.

The European Commission has referred Cyprus to the EU Court of Justice (ECJ) due to its failure to fulfil obligations under the Habitats Directive, which aims to protect over a thousand animal and plant species in the EU.

According to the European Commission, Cyprus has designated 37 sites as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs). However, conservation measures for 28 of these sites have not been established and the conservation objectives for five sites are deemed inadequate, leaving species and habitats vulnerable.

This decision comes after the Commission issued a formal notice to Cyprus in June 2021, followed by a reasoned opinion in April 2022.

Responding to the developments, the agriculture ministry said since the case opened, the government “has been in constant contact with EU authorities” and kept the Commission informed at all times over Cyprus’ legal framework for environmental protection.

With the new minister’s appointment a few months ago, working groups between different government departments were set up “for the first time” with specific timetables to complete the framework on managing the Natura 2000 sites.

Despite some progress regarding SAC designation, Cyprus has not adequately addressed the concerns raised by the Commission, leading to the referral to the ECJ.

The ministry nonetheless underlined it was committed to protecting Cyprus’ nature, species and habitats, while fully complying with EU directives.

The Habitats Directive is a crucial component of European biodiversity protection legislation, mandating the establishment of Natura 2000, an extensive EU-wide network of protected natural areas comprising SACs and Special Protection Areas (SPAs) for birds.

According to European law, member states identify and propose sites crucial for the conservation of native species and habitats, which are subsequently adopted as Sites of Community Importance (SCIs) by the Commission.

Member states are then required to designate these as SACs within six years, implementing necessary site-specific conservation objectives and measures to maintain or restore the species and habitats present.

The Commission’s actions aim to protect and restore biodiversity in line with the European Green Deal’s Biodiversity Strategy for 2030. Infringement cases have been pursued against 16 member states regarding SAC designation, conservation objectives, and measures.


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