Sunday 21st May is Natura 2000 Day - a day to celebrate the EU and UK’s continued commitment to nature protection.
Natura 2000 is an ecological network of conservation areas across the EU and is crucial in halting species decline.
The South East is home to a number of threatened species, including the Turtle Dove, which depends on the Natura 2000 nature protection sites and funding.
Notable Natura 2000 sites in the South East are Arun Valley, Dungeness, and the Thames Estuary and Marshes.
A recent Eurobarometer survey showed that around 8 out of 10 people think biodiversity loss is a serious problem.
The Brexit negotiations will certainly put the future of the Natura 2000 sites into question.
Lib Dem Euro MP and RSPB Turtle Dove Champion Catherine Bearder said:
“The vote to leave the EU was not a vote to jeopardise Europe’s nature protection.
“It was Boris Johnson’s father who helped set up these nature sites when he was an MEP and since then other British MEPs have continued the work.
“We demand the new government protects these sites and other environmental protections in the Brexit negotiations.
“The Turtle Dove is a threatened species, its very survival depends on the UK’s commitments to EU nature protection long term.
Catherine Bearder MEP European Parliament speech 17th May 2017:
Today the EU Commission announced that the EU will ban raw ivory exports from July 1st.
Today the EU Citizens Task Force are delighted to host the hearing on the situation and rights of EU citizens in the UK.
Please see below the full schedule and the link to watch the hearing on European Parliament TV.
Order of business
15:00 - WELCOME WORDS
Claude MORAES, Chair of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs,
Cecilia WIKSTRÖM, Chair of the Committee on Petitions
Renate WEBER, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs
15:15 OPENING REMARKS
Mr Guy VERHOFSTADT, European Parliament's Chief Brexit negotiator
15:35 - PANEL SPEAKERS
Ms Anne-Laure DONSKOY, representative of « The 3 million » group
Mr Jan DOERFEL, Immigration barrister in the UK
Mr Charlie JEFFERY, Professor at the University of Edinburgh
Ms Julia ONSLOW-COLE, Partner, Legal Markets Leader and Head of Global Immigration, PwC, London
Mr Jonathan PORTES, Professor of Economics and Public Policy, Department of Political Economy, King's College, London
16:45 - BRIEF PRESENTATION BY TWO PETITIONERS
Ms Leona Bashow (British) on the involuntary loss of EU citizenship following the result of the UK referendum
Ms Anne Wilkinson (British) on the Inalienability of EU Citizens' Rights.
17:05 - QUESTIONS AND ANSWER SESSION
18:00 - CLOSING REMARKS
The high court has ruled that the threat air quality poses to public health constitutes “exceptional circumstances”, meaning purdah rules for UK ministers can be waived.
This week Catherine Bearder MEP met with the Chinese mission to the EU regarding her letter to President Xi Jinping on the Chinese ivory ban.
Mrs Bearder was presented with an informal progress report on the ban. Interestingly the report says: ““It is hoped that the EU as well as countries in Europe also take credible steps to effectively ban illegal trade in ivory and their products.”
MEPs For Wildlife have written to Commissioner Vella asking for his thoughts on the position presented by China.
Today the EU has released its long-anticipated EU Action Plan on Nature. The Action Plan calls for EU governments, including the UK, to step up their financial commitment to protect nature across Europe.
Yesterday Catherine Bearder, Liberal Democrat MEP for the South East, opened the Go International Conference on the importance of Erasmus.
She called for safeguarding access to the Erasmus scheme, for both students from the UK and EU universities, hailing its achievements in the opportunities it has offered young people across the continent.
Mrs Bearder also stated that those wanting to fight to save the scheme should push for it to become an issue with their local candidates in the upcoming elections.
The Conservative government has made a last-minute application to the Court of Justice of the European Union to delay the publication of its new plan to tackle the air pollution crisis.