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Document 32014R1143

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Protecting biodiversity from invasive species

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  • Date of last review: 19/05/2015
  • Initial creation date: 19/05/2015
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  • Author: Publications Office

Protecting biodiversity from invasive species

The European Union has adopted a law which seeks to prevent, minimise and mitigate the adverse effects of invasive alien species* (IASs) on its biodiversity and ecosystems, as well as on human health and the economy.


Regulation (EU) No 1143/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2014 on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species.



It sets out rules to prevent and manage the introduction and spread of IASs in the EU.



By 2016, the European Commission is to draw up a list of IASs of ‘Union concern’, accompanied by a risk assessment in their regard. This will be updated regularly and reviewed every 6 years.

Species on this list may not be intentionally brought into the EU’s territory. Nor may they be kept, bred, transported to, from or within the EU, sold, grown or released into the environment.


Certain activities based on IASs are subject to a permit. The IASs in question must be kept in and handled in contained (sealed) holding and transported to and from that contained holding under conditions that preclude their escape.

IASs of regional concern and native IASs

IASs may originate in one EU region and create issues in another EU region. Here the European Commission has a role to play in ensuring that the EU countries involved work together to deal with the problem.

National action plans

Once the list of IASs of Union concern is drawn up, EU countries have 3 years to prepare action plans to address the priority pathways and to prevent the unintentional introduction and spread of IASs of concern in their territory and in their marine waters.

Restoring damaged ecosystems

EU countries should carry out measures to assist the recovery of an ecosystem that has been degraded, damaged or destroyed by an IAS of Union concern unless a cost-benefit analysis demonstrates, on the basis of the available data and with reasonable certainty, that the costs will be high and disproportionate to the benefits of restoration.

Surveillance system

Within 18 months of the publication of the list of IASs of Union concern, EU countries must set up surveillance systems and measures for rapid eradication. They must also introduce penalties in the event of non-compliance with the rules (seizure of the IAS in question and withdrawal of permit).


Alien species: plants or animals that have been transported outside their natural ecological range by humans (whether intentionally or unintentionally). While many of these species do not survive, some do and, due to their invasiveness, cause significant ecological and economic damage.

For more information, see the European Commission’s web page on invasive alien species.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EU) No 1143/2014



OJ L 317, 4.11.2014, pp. 35-55

last update 20.05.2015