A few months ago I wrote about Bleker in connection with his standpoint on the Ecological Main Structure. Henk Bleker: Secretary of State for Economy, Agriculture, International Trade, Nature and another couple of topics.
Bleker writes (point one) that a different level of ambition is now in order for Nature 2000, so that efforts in the next few years will mainly be focused on the conservation of threatened nature and less on improvements or expansion. And this even though the European Union requires every member state to make efforts to restore target species and habitats to a healthy state. Many of these sorts of habitats in the Netherlands are in a sorry state and alarm bells are ringing. The catch is that the European Union doesn't give any indication of deadlines for achieving the target situation. Some time in the future, and certainly after my time in office, I can hear Bleker thinking.
The word nature wasn't mentioned in the queen's speech on budget day. A sad fact, if you ask me, and a failure to do justice to all ‘that grows and blossoms and never fails to delight us', as biologist Fop Brouwer put it. Our government sees nature above all as a problem and an obstacle to further economic development. I would advise Bleker to explore the Wieden or another waterland area in a rowing boat, go cycling in the wooded hills and chalk grasslands of South Limburg, or take a long walk in the Drowned Land of Saeftinghe. Not to restore nature, but to restore ambition.