Though Germany's Green party has welcomed the understanding reached between environment minister Jürgen Trittin and EU environment commissioner Margot Wallström as a "great victory" for Mr Trittin, the Commission stressed today that its offer was conditional.
The German government must guarantee that the full lists provided by some states will still be scientifically valid when the national list is completed, an aide to Ms Wallström told ENDS Daily. Second, those sites already designated must enjoy immediate full protection under the EU's habitats and birds directives, whereas sites in other countries will not have to comply with all directives' provisions until the Natura network is formally approved.
A "major problem" would be created if Germany failed to stick to these commitments, the source said. The crunch will come in May, when funding applications will be assessed for compliance. In previous years the Commission has withdrawn funding and even demanded reimbursement of funds for failure to respect nature protection laws in aid programmes.
Please enter your details
Not a subscriber?
Take a free trial now to discover the critical insights and updates our coverage offers subscribers.