Member states must be forced to protect their coastlines, say MEPs

The European Parliament has voted 392 to 101 with nine abstentions to approve the Commission’s draft recommendation on integrated coastal zone management, but emphasised that it must only be a first step in protecting Europe’s coastal areas from environmental degradation, which should culminate in legally-binding obligations for Member States.

Green Party MEP from Dublin, Patricia McKenna, stated that Member States must be forced to take measures to protect their coastlines as they will otherwise evade their responsibilities. A joint approach by all States is essential and must involve all layers of national, regional and local government, as well as residents, businesses, holidaymakers and developers, she said.

Parliament has also accused the Commission of ignoring the threat from global warming and climate change and wants specific references to this, as well as the uniqueness of coastal zone biodiversity and the decline of fishing activity in the Commission’s recommendation.

A deadline has been set for a stocktaking exercise for the planning and management of coastal zones by Member States of the end of December 2002, with national strategies required to be submitted by the end of December 2004.

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