BirdLife Europe e-news Volume X, Issue 7, September 2014
Previous issues here.

One rude awakening
Here’s Juncker’s Commission. The bad news is that it’s unpalatable for anyone who cares about the planet. The good one: it can be fixed.

by Luca Bonaccorsi

The day Jean Claude Juncker announced his designated Commission has been a rude awakening for the environmental movement.

It’s a long list of sorrows the one that took our sleep eversince: some, the main ones, are listed in the open letter to Juncker and in the brief to European Members of Parliament written by the Green 10, both attached to our newsletter.

But more painful than the individual parts, the whole: the approach of the new Commission, in terms of political and economic culture. “Growth and deregulation” are just two of the many totems resurrected from Jurassic politics. Decades of research, scientific and public debate on development and sustainability, as opposed to the obsession for growth and GDP, have been wiped out overnight. Years of analyses on the importance of institutions and rules after the devastating banking crises erupted in 2008, a crises caused by deregulation, cancelled by the most ideological and trite rethoric against “red tape”.

Regressive interest groups like Business Europe have hailed the new Commission and the mandates as a victory. The bottom line, therefore, simply being that, as it stands, Juncker’s Commission is unpalatable for anyone who loves nature or cares about human health. 
The wake up call has been perceived with different degrees of shock and outrage across environmental NGOs. And yet eventually, following different “paths” and thoughts and emotions, we’ve all converged to the same conclusions: this Commission must be rejected.
The good news is that it can be fixed, the solutions are spelled out clearly in our brief to the MEPs, but in order to do that Juncker must aknowledge that there are serious problems with the environmental credential of his team.
For us, the biodiverse family of eco-warriors, nature lovers, climate experts down to the last fan of woodpeckers, one important public/private reflection and one action point.

The intense meditation should regard this frightening reality: how little media coverage the announced annihilation of EU’s environmental policies has gotten so far. True, we’ve only just started to denounce Juncker’s “faux pas” and yet the efforts required to get stories out is scary. “Can you call environmental/nature journalists and tell them it’s important? Well, actually –replies my portuguese collegue - most of them have been fired during the crisis”. Not the guy who covers politics, or business, or sports.

Clearly one of the reasons why Juncker’s Commission took environmental and health issues so lightly is just a reflection of what has happened to the public discourse during the recession. Jobs vs. nature and rights is the unacceptable trade off that jurassic politics has managed to reinstate in the public narrative. We have a lot to meditate on this.
The action point is simple: go out and tell the world. Tell everyone you know that Europe cannot go backward. That the age of coal and iron belongs to Dickens pages. Tell your friends, the journalists you know, your local politician, the man in the street.
Tell them that Europe has good laws to protect nature and our health. Laws that only have one problem: they’re poorly implemented. Tell them that this Commission wants to “overhaul” these rules and that we all must stop it.   

Cause being “the one in the right, fighting those with the might” is simply not enough.

EU Policy

The Green 10 open letter to President Juncker
Problems and solutions explained: the alliance of leading environmental NGOs write to Juncker.  Read more...

Why the European Parliament should block Juncker’s attempt to undermine EU environmental policies 
The Green 10 appeal to the new European Parliament to block Juncker's Commission in its current format Read more...

Is Europe closer to saving its vultures and eagles? European Medicines Agency must rule on killer drug by November 30.
The European Commission opens an assessment of the risks of veterinary diclofenac to vultures - BirdLife appeals to all parties involved to submit evidences. Read more...

EU Biomass Policy: from denial to action
At last, the European Commission recognizes the sustainability risks of increasing bioenergy use in the EU. Read more...

Rural Development Plans being prepared under CAP to protect farmland wildlife
There is still one last chance to save farmland biodiversity: this is how you do it.  Read more...

Acting as nature's voices

France: LPO takes direct action to liberate poached Ortolans 
Every year in France, thousands of Ortolan Buntings are poached, mutilated and killed in breach of EU and national laws. Read more...

Violence in Malta: BirdLife volunteers attacked by extremists protesting against hunting ban
The ban was imposed by the government in an apparent move to back the designation of Vella as Commissioner for the Environment and try to silence criticisms. Read more...

Urgent change in law is needed to protect Common Quails and Turtle Doves in Serbia
Both species are being victims of an uncontrolled hunting for which the laws seem not to be sensitive enough. Read more...

Ireland’s new Rural Development Programme comes as a lifeline for farmland birds
Conservationists can rejoice: Irish farmers undertaking actions to conserve critically-threatened farmland birds will get priority access to substantial EU funding. Read more...

Engaging with businesses

Israel’s BirdLife partner and Hanson cooperate to tackle invasive weeds
SPNI (BirdLife in Israel) cooperates with the aggregate company Hanson Israel to control the spread of invasive alien species in Israel's quarries. Read more...

BSPB cooperates with power companies to secure bird-killing power lines in Bulgaria 
Electrocution by badly designed electricity poles is one of the most serious threats to birds in Bulgaria. Our Partner BSPB has engaged with the energy sector to develop sustainable solutions. Read more...

Award for "Good Practice of the Year" in grid development - submit your best practices

The Renewables-Grid-Initiative will award a prize for the “Good Practice of the Year” for the first time this year. The call for submissions is open until the end of September. Read more...


BirdLife International Admin/Event Intern
• Location: Brussels, Belgium
• 6 month paid internship

The intern will assist the administration and event departments in the BirdLife Europe secretariat office. If you are interested, please contact Jessica Redaelli for application information.


2nd - 5th of October 2014: Portugal’s Sagres Birdwatching Festival The 5th Sagres Birdwatching Festival will be held in the southern Portuguese region of Algarve, the perfect place to witness the beautiful phenomenon of bird migration in a festive atmosphere. Don't miss it!

4-5 October 2014EuroBirdwatch - BirdLife’s biggest birdwatching event. Join us to explore the beauty of birds and experience the magic of bird migration!

7 October 2014: EU Launch of the Report "Connecting Energy, Protecting Nature" at the EU Parliament - The Renewable Grid Initiative, BirdLife Europe and EEB present their ideas on how to protect nature when planning and investing to become a low carbon society.

23 October 2014: The 2nd BESTGRID Workshop "Innovation through Collaboration" will take place in Berlin with the aim of sharing some of the lessons learned from almost 20 months of collaboration between grid operators and environmental groups.


Video of vultures at a feeding station in the Spanish Pyrenees.
New documentary on climate change by Kelly Nyks & Jared P. Scott.
Stop vulture poisoning now!

A drug which killed 99% of vultures in India, Pakistan and Nepal is now being distributed in Europe.

We need your support to get this drug banned!
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