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EU warns France over protection of mammal, extension of port
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09:40, June 06, 2008

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The European Commission is sending two final warnings to France for insufficient implementation of nature protection legislation, said the commission Thursday.

The first case concerns the dramatic decline of one of Europe's most threatened and strictly protected mammals -- the great hamster of Alsace, which is significantly also known as the European hamster. The warning letter notes that rapid and substantial action is needed to prevent the animal from becoming extinct.

The other case concerns a planned extension to the port of Saint Nazaire on the Loire River, which would destroy protected wetlands. More ambitious compensation measures will be required before the development can be sanctioned, said the commission, the executive body of the European Union (EU).

Any failure to respond within two months could see France taken to the European Court of Justice.

"When a European mammal like the great hamster approaches extinction, nature is sending a message. We are beginning to damage our ecosystems beyond the point of repair. France must heed this warning and implement our nature protection legislation in full as soon as possible," said EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas.


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