EC Takes Bulgaria to Court over Insufficient Protection of Endangered BirdsBulgaria in EU | July 24, 2016, Sunday // 10:06| views
Black woodpecker. Photo credit: foropenforests.org
The European Commission is taking Bulgaria to the Court of Justice of the EU over the country’s failure to protect unique habitats and important bird species in the Rila Mountain.
“The Bulgarian authorities have failed to widen the zone classified as a special protection area in order to provide adequate protection to endangered species of wild birds,” according to a statement from the EU executive.
Under the EU legislation on the conservation of wild birds, member states are obliged to designate special protection areas for the conservation of species in danger of extinction, those vulnerable to specific changes in their habitat, or those considered rare or requiring particular attention.
Bulgaria has so far properly classified 72% of the zone as a special protection area but this action does not cover significant parts of the habitats of 17 endangered bird species, including the black woodpecker, the white-backed woodpecker, the Eurasian pygmy owl, and Tengmalm's owl, according to the Commission.
“Despite the Commission's reasoned opinion sent in October 2014about the need to extend protection areas in the Rila Mountains, Bulgaria has not complied with this obligation,” the statement reads.
Referral to the Court of Justice of the EU is the last step in the infringement procedure for non-compliance with the EU law. The judgement of the Court of Justiceis binding.
If a member state fails to comply with the judgment, the Commission may ask the court to impose a penalty payment.