Europe and Central Asia

Why EU Policy Matters (Commission, Council, Parliament)

Working with the EU Institutions

For better or worse, the EU matters. It covers a large part of the European continent, has more than half a billion citizens and represents 20% of the world economy. In terms of our environment, policies and legislation adopted by EU institutions have profound effects on biodiversity and ecosystems across Europe and indeed around the world.

Most environmental legislation in EU Member States nowadays is shaped by EU law. Agriculture and fisheries, key sectors with an extraordinary level of environmental impact in terms of overuse of agrichemicals and unsustainable industrial fishing practices, are essentially managed through common EU policies. For instance, the EU Life Fund has probably been the most influential source of conservation funding in large parts of Europe.The EU Decision Making Process - How It Works - Source:

For more than two decades, BirdLife Europe has worked to improve EU policy making and to ensure proper implementation of EU environmental policies in Member States. Over the years, we have been instrumental in bringing improvements to hunting legislation and to the designation of the Natura 2000 Network - the largest network of protected areas in the world, covering 17.5% of EU territory.

We have been one of the main driving forces behind successive reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy and have been one of the first organisations to sound the alarm over the mistakes the EU has been making in relation to the development of biofuels.

On a wide range of policies affecting wildlife and the environment, we have been a constant voice of power, translating scientific understanding and hands-on field experience into policy solutions. Our dialogue with EU and national decision makers is based on a pragmatic approach, standing up for what our values and scientific evidence tells us.

Ariel Brunner, BirdLife's Head of EU Policy, explains our policy work:


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.