EU moves towards bringing invasive alien species under controlEEB Reactions
[Brussels, 5 March 2014] Negotiators from the European Parliament (EP), European Commission and Greek Presidency have today struck a tentative deal on EU action to tackle the problems caused by invasive alien species. The EEB welcomed the agreement on the IAS Regulation, which if adopted would bring Europe one step closer to addressing the unintentional or deliberate introduction of invasive species outside of their natural range which causes significant damage to the environment, impacting human health and the economy as well. However, it regrets that rushed negotiations, which suffered in the countdown to the EP elections, have led to a considerable weakening of some of the main elements of the Commission’s initial proposal.
Martina Mlinaric, EEB Senior Policy Officer on Biodiversity, Water and Soil said “An injection of ambition will be needed during the implementations process, if the IAS Regulation as just agreed is to deliver on its objective of preventing, minimising and mitigating the adverse impacts of invasive alien species on biodiversity.”
Member States (MS) and the Commission dismissed exemptions which the Environment Committee had attempted to introduce to allow unilateral national derogations on the basis of non-invasiveness (‘incapables’) and disproportionality. However, a deal still foresees a possibility for commercial entities to continue activities involving species considered of being of EU concern, after prior authorisation from the Commission.
The negotiators decided it is not necessary to consult stakeholders when drafting the ‘List of species of EU concern’ or in any other EU level action pursuant to the IAS Regulation. This represents a serious step backwards in EU law-making and will compromise the transparency of the process.
Negotiators did however agree on some improvements to the Commission’s initial proposal. The cap of fifty species on the list of species of EU concern was removed, and the provision of independent scientific advice in the implementation process will be ensured through an independent ‘Scientific Forum’. 
The agreed amendments to the Commission’s proposal still need to be approved by the European Parliament at its plenary session in April 2014. Subsequently, before entering into force, the deal also needs to get formal backing from the Council of Ministers.
 In addition, the commercial use of already established invasive alien species will also be allowed temporarily if such a use is considered by MS to be a management measure (i.e. eradication, population control or containment) and further spread is avoided.
Other improvements include the possibility for species native to one part of Europe but alien and invasive and damaging in another part to be subject to an enhanced regional cooperation, if concerned MS so decide; the extension of the scope of the potential listing to such species will be part of the review of the legislation.