Under threat of legal action, Germany is finally to transpose the 1992 EU habitats directive into national law, the government having abandoned attempts to make a wider revision of national nature conservation law at the same time. Controversy has surrounded the planned amendment of a 1976 law since its proposal last June, centring on the government's intention to include compensation for farmers operating in protected areas. The states, which would have to pay, rebelled, and the Bundesrat, in which they are represented, refused to pass the law. On Thursday and Friday last week, the Bundestag and then the Bundesrat ratified a mediation committee proposal for a "small solution," which transposes just the provisions required under the habitats directive into federal law, leaving unresolved the question of compensation. On Thursday the government proposed a separate law on farmers' compensation, which will now begin its legislative journey through both Bundestag and Bundesrat. German policy makers were anxious to see the habitat directive transposed into national law because the European Commission won a court judgement against Germany last December (ENDS Daily 15 December 1997), and began further proceedings early this year for non-compliance with the judgement, a spokesperson for the German environment ministry told ENDS Daily.
Bundesrat, tel: +49 228 91000; Bundestag, tel: +49 228 161.
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