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Incomplete protected nature list threatens EU subsidies to Czechs

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Prague, Jan 20 (CTK) – The Czech Republic has to extend its list of protected nature areas that, together with bird areas, are part of Europe’s Nature 2000 system, otherwise the EU might sanction Prague or even cut its subsidies to it, the Environment Ministry says in a document submitted to the cabinet.
The ministry would like to extend the list also to include 50 new localities with protected wild species. Out of these localities, the European Commission insists on the listing of seven, but the plan has been challenged by other ministries and the towns concerned as going against their interests.
Negotiations between the ministry and the entities concerned have been underway.
The cabinet will discuss the list at its meeting on Monday.
The EC demanded the listing of the seven localities for a long time but none of the previous cabinets approved the step.
The localities concerned are the Labe (Elbe) Valley in north Bohemia, the Slavik Islands and the Labistata area in east Bohemia, the Zdanicky les and the Jihlava River Meanders in south Moravia, Dobrany in west Bohemia and Vidnava in north Moravia.
The EC has already launched “pilot proceedings” which precede regular proceedings over a Czech breach of European law.
The Czech list was completed in 2005 and has been extended twice since. Last time the EC assessed it four years ago.
The planned listing of the above areas has been mainly disputed by water and land managers. They demand a reduction of the respective areas before their Natura 2000 listing.
At present, the Czech list of protected nature areas consists of 1,075 localities with a total area of 7,856 square km.
After the planned extension, it is to increase by 170 square km, but still it will be smaller compared with those in other European countries.

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