Europe and Central Asia
7 Dec 2016

Victory! - All for Nature, Nature for All

© Dagmar Cohnen -
By BirdLife Europe & Central Asia

Victory! Today, the European Commission finally announced that they will uphold the benchmark and hugely popular laws that protect Europe’s Nature – the EU Nature Directives. This moment of joy is the culmination of over two years of relentless campaigning while the Commission scrutinized these laws and deliberated silently on their fate. Meanwhile, the whole BirdLife family was busy making a whole lot of noise – a cacophony of squawks, chirps, cheeps, chatter and, of course, tweets (of the digital variety) from our tireless BirdLife partners ensured that not one member of the College of Commissioners that met this morning was left unaware of just how much Nature is valued by European citizens.

Throughout the NatureAlert! campaign, we worked incredibly closely with other environmental NGOs – WWF, Friends of the Earth, the European Environmental Bureau – and have also been helped along the way by countless groups and individuals; there has been unprecedented support from business, Members of the European Parliament, environment ministers and scientists. But the undisputed heroes of this happy story – Nature’s loyal musketeers – have been the public.

Two years ago, the watering down of these Nature laws was considered to be a fait accompli, a battle already lost, but half a million European citizens took the time to take a stand, to speak their mind and this has proved to make all the difference. Today’s result was not just a win for Nature, it was a victory for democracy and, in turn, a victory for Europe and her future.

Today, when the clock struck 12 noon, and Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for the Environment, tweeted his thanks to ‘all colleagues for full support of Birds & Habitats fitness check’, all the anxiety, all the worries transformed in a heartbeat into utter elation. And what is more, we celebrate and share Commissioner Vella’s very next point – ‘now we focus on implementation’. The decision today was a huge step forward but without better implementation of the Nature Directives, we could so easily take two steps back tomorrow. Let us build on this momentum, let us put these laws more effectively into action – let us continue to act as Nature’s brave musketeers and call out proudly ‘ALL FOR NATURE, NATURE FOR ALL!’

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If you would like to thank the European Commissioners for supporting Nature on Twitter and stress that we now expect them to better fund and better implement the nature laws, visit our Twitter action page here.


BirdLife Europe and Central Asia joint press release (with WWF, Friends of the Earth and the European Environmental Bureau) on the outcome Fitness Check on the EU Nature Directives can be viewed here.


To follow the whole story of the #NatureAlert campaign, right from the very start, see our Storify here.

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. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.