EU must be joking! Brussels slated for splurging £516k on ‘European list of moths’

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Eurocrats forked out more than £515,000 on the project to monitor whether species of the winged-insect living inside the bloc are at risk of going extinct. The bizarre scheme will review more than 2,200 species of moths, with experts expected to establish a special “Red List” to evaluate “extinction risks”. An official EU document, seen by Express.co.uk, says: “It will underpin a better understanding of the status and trends of moths and assist the setting of priorities for conservation measures and policy action.

“Moths represent one of the four major groups of pollinators, alongside bees, hoverflies and butterflies.

“The number of moth species in Europe is estimated at around 8,000.”

But the project was ridiculed as a waste of taxpayers’ money.

German MEP Nicolaus Fest said: “Numerous national and international organisations monitor and protect animals, so I fail to see the added value of EU funding when there is an abundance of information already available.

“Like a moth to a flame, taxpayers’ money heads in the same direction.”

Fellow German Gunnar Beck said: “The EU is wasting hurdreds of thousands on a study that will no doubt be used as an excuse to bring in more legislation and power over elected governments.

“As with all such initiatives at EU level it will be slow, bureaucratic and not address any of the real issues.

“The amount of trees felled to print these branded publications will probably do more harm to the environment.”

Romanian MEP Cristian Terhes added: “Instead of being concerned about moths, which survived millions of years, the science says, the EU should have spent this money on matters such as youth unemployment.

“But it not surprising to see that the eurocrats are more concerned about insects than people?

“In Romania, for example, they stopped the money for a motorway because they were concerned that it will affect the habitat of cockroaches on the route.

“This proves, once again, that everything else is more important to EU than the people.”

The Red List will eventually be published in a document of “approximately 35-45 pages” and be distributed to “policy makers and the interested public”.

A two-page flyer will also be produced, in English, French and German, to be handed out.

Initially, 500 of the EU-branded publications will be printed for distribution, as well as digital copies made available online.

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A database of the experts’ findings will also be created, and will include very specific “data that was collected and used in the assessment”.

The tender document sets out: “The information collected on each species within the assessment must cover at least: taxonomy, geographic range, distribution status in Europe (plus map), population, habitat and ecology, major threats, conservation measures, utilisation, links to other sources, bibliography, Red List category (EU and Pan-European) plus rationale.”

The information will be made available to the European Commission and be integrated into the European Biodiversity Data Centre hosted by the European Environment Agency.

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The contract was won by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Brussels expects the body’s review of European moths to be completed within three years.

A European Commission spokeswoman said: “The European Red List is the tool to assess the conservation status of species, especially important for those species that are not legally protected, covered by the Nature Directives.

It has been established to understand to what extent species are endangered at EU and European level, why they are endangered, and where to focus conservation actions.

The assessments of the European Red List enabled the Commission to identify the magnitude of the problem with the decline of pollinators in EU and provided the knowledge base for establishing the EU Pollinators Initiative.

“Red List assessments are undertaken every 10 years and cover the whole of EU. Moths are one of the key pollinator insect groups and the next Red List assessment will be used to analyse their status to understand if our policy actions have an impact in the mid and long-term.”

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