The European Union (EU) updates its list of invasive alien species of Union concern

Date Released: Friday, September 1, 2017

Invasive alien species are one of the major causes of biodiversity loss across the EU. They can also cause significant damage to human health and the economy - the cost to the European economy is estimated to be at least €12 billion per year.

The list of invasive alien species of Union concern (“the Union list”) comprises species whose potential adverse impacts across the European Union are such that concerted action across Members States is required. Member States are expected to carry out the following measures with regard to species on the list:

  • prevention;
  • early detection and rapid eradication of new invasions, and;
  • management of invasions that are already widely spread.

The publication of Commission Implementing Regulation 2017/1263 on 12 July brings to 49 the total number of species on the Union list. The 12 species included in this update are:

  • Alopochen aegyptiacus– Egyptian goose
  • Alternanthera philoxeroides  – Alligator weed
  • Asclepias syriaca  – Common milkweed
  • Elodea nuttallii  – Nuttall’s waterweed
  • Gunnera tinctoria  – Chilean rhubarb
  • Heracleum mantegazzianum  - Giant hogweed
  • Impatiens glandulifera  – Indian/Himalayan balsam
  • Microstegium vimineum  - Japanese stiltgrass
  • Myriophyllum heterophyllum  – Broadleaf watermilfoil
  • Nyctereutes procyonoides (*) – Raccoon dog
  • Ondatra zibethicus  - Muskrat
  • Pennisetum setaceum  – Crimson fountaingrass

* The inclusion of this species on the Union list is subject to a transition period to allow completing the procedure of Article 9 of Regulation (EU) No 1143/2014 for alleged compelling public interests of a social or economic nature. As such, its inclusion shall apply as of 2 February 2019.