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25 April, 2024
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Akamas biodiversity under threat, EU commission acts

European Parliament keeps watch on Cyprus environmental issues


The European Parliament's Petitions Committee (PETI) remains vigilant regarding complaints about EU environmental legislation in Cyprus's Akamas region, following a recent debate in Brussels.

The European Commission is scrutinizing judgments from the Court of Justice of the EU concerning similar cases involving Germany and Ireland before deciding on its next course of action. However, the commission maintains the option to escalate the matter to the Court of Justice of the EU if Cyprus fails to comply promptly.

During the discussion, committee members expressed varying viewpoints. Peter Yar (EPP, Germany) welcomed the commission's stance, while Dimitris Papadakis (S&D, Cyprus) attributed the situation to the Republic of Cyprus authorities' oversight failures. Ana Miranda (Greens, Spain) suggested seeking clarification from Cypriot authorities on their plans. Cypriot MEPs George Georgiou and Niazi Kizilyurek stressed the need for investigation and environmental preservation.

Despite Dimitris Papadakis's proposal for a fact-finding mission, it was not approved due to the imminent conclusion of the current European Parliament session and prior scheduling commitments.

During the session, representatives discussed petitions concerning alleged environmental violations in Akamas and development projects in Hersonissos.

Anastasia Korai, representing the "Friends of the Earth" Organization of Cyprus, highlighted violations of EU laws threatening the Akamas Peninsula's biodiversity. Korai noted failures in implementing national and EU legislation, resulting in illegal activities such as boat docking and road construction without proper evaluation.

Kyriaki Michail, speaking on behalf of Terra Cypria, addressed development projects in Akamas and the inadequate protection of Natura 2000 areas. Illegal installations and road constructions within protected areas were noted.

The European Commission acknowledged inadequate protection of Akamas and other protected areas in Cyprus, leading to infringement proceedings. Cyprus committed to setting conservation targets, but actions have not matched intentions.

The Commission awaits the EU Court of Justice's decision regarding Germany's appeal. Pending implications for Cyprus will determine the Commission's next steps, which may involve legal action if compliance isn't achieved promptly. Environmental impact assessments are necessary for projects potentially affecting protected areas, and national authorities must reject projects if adverse effects are identified.

[With information sourced from CNA]

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