EU Puts Bulgaria on Notice Over Enviro Negligence

The Pirin mountains are among Bulgaria's threatened natural habitats. Photo by Marin Nikolov via Flickr.

Come December, the European Council will assess Turkey's slow, sometimes stumbling efforts toward EU accession. If the country gets a decent grade, the next chapter of negotiations to be opened is likely to be the one dealing with environmental issues. And if neighboring Bulgaria's recent experience is any indication, the European body won't be letting Turkey off easy.Last month, the European Commission issued four warnings against Bulgaria -- a European Union member since 2007 and something of a "black sheep" among nations in the bloc -- for not sufficiently protecting its natural heritage. As in Turkey, illegal construction is a blight on the Bulgarian landscape and environmental awareness in the country is fairly nascent.

Ski Resorts, Other Development Pose Threats
The building of a large ski resort in the Pirin mountains; development threats to a protected area in the southern Tsarevo municipality near the Black Sea; construction along the Vaya River in the Emine-Irakli protected area; and "failure to bring Bulgarian nature legislation fully into line with European requirements" were the subjects of the warnings, reports the Bulgarian newspaper The Sofia Echo, which has been keeping tabs on many of these issues itself.

"Despite covering only 2.5 percent of the EU's total area, Bulgaria is home to almost 70 percent of Europe's protected bird species, and some 40 percent of its protected habitats," said EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas. "This extraordinary biodiversity must be protected, because legal protection is the only sure way to safeguard future economic and social well-being." Via: "EC sends Bulgaria four warnings on environment issues," The Sofia Echo
More about Bulgaria and the environment:
Cook, Build With the Sun and Earth at the Permaship
Can Turkey's Trashy Coasts Be Transformed?
Bulgarian Bike Business Boom
One in Six European Mammals Faces Extinction

Tags: Biodiversity | Conservation | Turkey