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Key issues on EU waters and nature discussed in Vilnius

2013-12-04

A meeting of EU Water and Marine Directors is taking place in Vilnius on the 4th and 5th of December to discuss the EU water and marine policy and its progress in the member states as well as plans for the future. The meeting serves as an informal consultation forum on EU draft legislation that the European Commission is planning to propose in connection with the water and marine policy. EU Biodiversity and Nature Directors also came to Vilnius today to discuss implementation of the Biodiversity Strategy until 2020.

The participants of both meetings will have one joint session where they will look at coordinated implementation of EU legislation and policies in these related areas, evaluation of the status and services of ecosystems, and financing. Up till now, progress with these policies was being addressed at separate meetings for water, marine, biodiversity and nature directors. As part of Lithuania’s presidency of the European Council, heads of these sectors will share a common table for the first time.

In Vilnius, EU Water and Marine Directors will have a separate discussion on the implementation strategy of the Water Framework Directive, reporting requirements, review of the Groundwater Directive, implementation of the Nitrates and Urban Wastewater directives, progress with transposing the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, initial marine environment status assessments carried out by the EU Member States, action plans for 2014 and other issues.

The meeting in Vilnius will help member states to improve efficiency in implementing laws on water and maritime protection and preservation, ensure that EU funds are used and facilitate achievement of the strategic goals on good water status.

The sessions of the Biodiversity and Nature Directors’ meeting will address implementation of the Birds and Habitats directives, financing of the biodiversity and Natura 2000 network, evaluation of the status and services of ecosystems and restoration of ecosystems, the green infrastructure initiative and management of the spread of invasive species. One of the sessions will be devoted to voice and discuss the approach of non-governmental and other environmental organisations to the current processes.

High officials from EU Member States, candidate countries, member countries of the European Free Trade Association, the European Commission and the European Environmental Agency gathered in Vilnius – 90 to address biodiversity and nature and 100 to look at water and marine issues. Separately, such meetings are held bi-annually in the EU presiding states, while the next common meeting for directors in charge of all the relevant areas will take place in Luxembourg two years from now.

Public information division
4 December 2013

Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas
Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas