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Europe and Central Asia
6 Jul 2016

European Commission expert study confirms that EU Nature laws are fit for purpose

Evaluation Study to support the Fitness Check of the Birds and Habitats Directives
By Zeynep Karasin

On 5 July the European Commission made public its expert study on the EU Nature Directives. The study was completed in March 2016 but was only made public yesterday thanks to an official access to document request made by the WWF.

The study is a detailed evaluation of the EU Birds and Habitats Directives, Europe’s nature laws that are recognised as some of the strongest in the world to conserve animals, plants and habitats. The laws protect over 1,000 key species and over 27,000 natural sites in Europe.

The study was prepared by a group of experts led by Milieu Ltd on the request of the European Commission in the framework of its “fitness check” of the Birds and Habitats Directives. It confirms, what NGOs, SMEs and citizens as well as the European Parliament and EU Member States have been stating and calling for; the fact that the Nature Directives are fit for purpose and should be implemented as soon as possible.

It states in its conclusions that “The balance of the evidence shows that the Directives are fit for purpose, and clearly demonstrate EU added value. The Directives have generated many important benefits for nature conservation and sustainable development overall. They provide a balanced and workable framework for addressing the varying interests of stakeholders while respecting nature conservation objectives. Overall the costs of implementation are reasonable, and outweighed by the benefits, although they do impact some stakeholders more than others.”

Now that even the European Commission’s own expert study confirms that the EU Nature Directives are fit for purpose, we at BirdLife Europe believe that the duty of the European Commission is to publish the results of its “fitness check” and start the implementation of these vital nature laws.

You can access the study here: Evaluation Study to support the Fitness Check of the Birds and Habitats Directives

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Stichting BirdLife Europe gratefully acknowledges financial support from the European Commission. All content and opinions expressed on these pages are solely those of Stichting BirdLife Europe.