On 7 December 2016, Commissioner Vella issued the following statement:
‘Our European Commission “fitness check” has recognised that the European Birds and Habitats Directives remain relevant and fit for purpose. They will not be “opened”. The Juncker Commission continues to look to connect in meaningful ways with European citizens. Protecting and investing more in nature is essential as so many depend on it also economically – it is literally a grassroots approach.
Our focus will now be on making sure that they are implemented in the most effective and efficient way to realise their full potential for nature, people and the economy.
I am delighted that we have delivered on an essential part of the mandate given to me by President Juncker”.