On Monday 30 January, the Benelux Directors of Nature, Hunting and Forests held the Strategic Consultation. Overall, this meeting aimed to:
Oversee the proper implementation and updating of the Benelux Conventions on Nature and Landscape and on Hunting and Birds (legal instruments for cooperation);
Oversee the implementation of the current Benelux annual plan and give direction to the working groups that implement this plan;
Align positions on European issues.
Mr Jean-Claude Meyer, the new Luxembourg member of the College of Benelux Secretaries-General, opened the meeting by recalling that Benelux cooperation aims to build bridges to European affairs, and in this context he welcomed the presence of a representative of DG ENV of the European Commission.
Mr Jean-Claude Meyer also said: 'I think I can say on behalf of everyone that we do not want Benelux exchanges to take place in a bubble; what we want is for there to be interaction between our work and that within the EU that benefits both.'
The latter presented an update on the preparation of national commitments as part of the implementation of the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030.
There was also an exchange of views on certain aspects of the current proposal for a European regulation on nature restoration.
Finally, the Belgian delegation gave an outlook on its future Presidency of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2024 in the field of nature, biodiversity and forests.
Last but not least, attention was drawn to the recent Council Regulation (EU) 2022/2577 on renewable energy and certain aspects of its interpretation.