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Invasive alien species

Preventing and minimising the effects on invasive alien species on Europe’s biodiversity.


Invasive alien species (IAS) are animals and plants that are introduced accidentally or deliberately into a natural environment where they are not normally found, with serious negative consequences for their new environment. They are a major threat to native plants and animals in Europe and are one of the five major causes of biodiversity loss. They can also cause significant adverse impacts on the economy (their economic impact in the EU was estimated at around EUR 12 billion per year) as well as human health, such as severe allergies and burns.


The EU aims to prevent, minimise and mitigate the adverse impacts posed by these species on native biodiversity and ecosystem services. Rules also aim to limit social and economic damage.

The EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 contains the commitment to manage established invasive alien species and decrease the number of Red List species they threaten by 50% by 2030.

In the EU

invasive alien species are strictly regulated
animal species of Union concern
plant species of Union concern


The Invasive Alien Species Regulation (Regulation (EU) 1143/2014) includes a set of measures to be taken across the EU in relation to invasive alien species. The core of the Regulation is the list of Invasive Alien Species of Union concern (Union List). The species included on this list are subject to restrictions and measures set out in the Regulation. These include restrictions on keeping, importing, selling, breeding, growing and releasing into the environment.

Member States are required to

  • take action on pathways of unintentional introduction (i.e. prevention)
  • take measures for the early detection and rapid eradication of these species
  • manage species that are already widely spread in their territory

Secondary law

Union list

The third update of the Union list entered into force on 2 August 2022. A consolidated version of the Union list is available here.

This brochure includes a short description of all invasive alien species of Union concern, offering brief, non-technical and informal summaries of their origin, their present distribution in the EU, how they threaten our native biodiversity, and how the applicable restrictions and obligations will help mitigate their negative impacts.


In 2021, the Commission published the first report on the application of the Invasive Alien Species Regulation. The report finds that the Regulation is delivering on its objectives - prevention and management measures, information sharing and awareness of the problem have improved. Yet implementation is a challenge in several respects. Find out more in the press release.

The Commission is assisted by a number of bodies in implementing the IAS Regulation.

  • The Committee on IAS assists in the preparation of implementing acts foreseen by the IAS Regulation, mainly the adoption and updates of the list of invasive alien species of Union concern. It consists of representatives from all Member States.
  • The Invasive Alien Species Expert Group (IASEG) supports the implementation of the IAS Regulation beyond the Commission’s implementation powers. It consists of representatives from all Member States. More information on its activities can be found here.
  • The Scientific Forum on IAS provides advice on scientific questions related to the implementation of the IAS Regulation. It consists of representatives of the scientific community appointed by the Member States. More information on its activities can be found here.
  • The Working Group on IAS assists the Commission and facilitates coordination. It consists of interested stakeholders and Member State representatives. More information on its activities can be found here.

Support to implementation

Several information documents have been developed to support EU countries to implement the Regulation. These do not necessarily represent the views of the European Commission.


Early detection and rapid eradication



IAS notification system

For EU countries to inform the Commission about new observations of IAS of Union concern and measures taken.

Invasive Alien Species Europe App

For Europeans to help monitor invasive alien species in their region and become ‘citizen scientists’. Download the app here: Apple iTunes StoreGoogle Play Store

Related links


For questions about EU action on invasive alien species, please contact