Nature Trust – FEE Malta expressed its disappointment at the low regard of the environment as shown by MEP candidates’ disinterest. It stated that upon approaching candidates by means of an open letter regarding the importance of European Union laws which regulate the environment, only seven candidates acknowledged the email and just five took the opportunity to discuss.
The MEP Candidates who acknowledged and replied to the email were Carmel Cacopardo and Mina Tolu from Alternattiva Demokratika, Michael Briguglio from Partit Nazzjonalista, Josef Caruana from Partit Laburista and three independent candidates – Arnold Cassola, Antoine Borg and Stephen Florian. However, only Cacopardo, Tolu, Briguglio, Cassola and Borg met with the council.
The letter expressed a number of worries, such as climate change, air quality, the protection of unique natural places, plastic pollution, and toxic chemicals reaching the market. However, these are worries which have been fought against by EU laws, which may be threatened by deregulation. Nature Trust stated that EU regulations drive up standards, encourage competition, and give confidence in the products that are bought.
According to Nature Trust, from the perspective of biodiversity, this is the situation:
- the cost of biodiversity loss due to the current over-exploitation of global fisheries is estimated at $50 billion
- pollinators (bees) are being decimated, where the estimated economic value of insect pollination within the EU has been calculated at €14.2 billion a year (https://cordis.europa.eu/news/rcn/120220/en)
- three-quarters of land surfaces, 40% of the marine environment, and 50% of inland waterways across the globe have been “severely altered” (EU Draft Report).
- nearly half of land and marine ecosystems have been profoundly compromised by human interference in the last 50 years. (EU Draft Report).
The NGO then stated that instead of stripping back or cutting regulations, the EU must take the lead again regarding the environment. It stressed that an ambitious European Parliament would tackle climate change and air quality, but also ensure that EU money is spent responsibly, and that biodiversity is being safeguarded. Furthermore, the EU Parliament can step in regarding chemical regulation as related to antibiotics, pharmaceutical pollution and health.