Europe launches fight against alien species
Last Updated: 2014-04-18 09:39 | Xinhua
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The European Parliament (EP) approved legislation Wednesday to stop invasive alien species of plants, animals or insects getting into the European Union (EU).

The legislation bans species declared to be of "Union concern" and requires more and better coordinated action by member states to tackle the threat.

Even if some species cannot be fully stopped, Europe's politicians want stronger measures to limit the ecological and economic damage they can cause.

"Invasive alien species cause damage worth at least 12 billion euros (about 16.56 billion U.S. dollars) every year in the EU and many member states already have to spend considerable resources in dealing with them," said Czech MEP Pavel Poc, who steered the legislation through Parliament.

The legislation, which must now be formally approved by the EU Council, was passed 606 votes to 36, with four abstentions.

If approved, the legislation would require EU member states to ascertain the routes of introduction and spread of species, and set up surveillance systems and action plans. Official checks at EU borders would also be stepped up. In some cases, member states would have to draw up management plans to cope with widespread invasions.

Invasive species enter different regions through human activity, such as being carried on aircraft or cargo ships. The Asian tiger mosquito, for example, entered the EU via the used tyre trade. The insect is particularly aggressive and is believed to be capable of transmitting more than 20 tropical diseases, including West Nile fever, dengue fever, yellow fever and two types of encephalitis.

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