The Birds Directive (79/409/EEC(1)) and the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC(2)) permanently come under pressure. It is fashionable to maintain that they stand in the way of economic development. However, the example of the port of Antwerp demonstrates the contrary. Almost the whole of the port area is designated as a special protection area under the Birds Directive, but nature conservation and development go hand-in-hand here with economic development, as the Commissioner himself recently ascertained. Given the pressure which exists to relax these directives, it seems to me appropriate in this Year of Biodiversity to ask the Commissioner what is his position on the Birds and Habitats Directives:
Does the Commissioner agree with President Barroso, who stated in a letter to Prime Minister Balkenende that revision of the aforementioned directives was not needed, but on the contrary stability in the relevant legislative framework, and that these directives allowed sufficient room for economic development?