BirdLife Europe e-news, Vol XI, Issue 5, May 2015
Nature alert. Commission alerted
It’s a tale of two miracles. The first: over 100 NGOs, in 28 European capitals, are launching a campaign today to stop Juncker’s attack against the laws that protect Nature. The second? By re-reading the Directives we’ve rediscovered an idea of Europe we can love: one of a community that protects its nature.    
By Luca Bonaccorsi
People don’t care about EU politics, and European institutions are irrelevant to a citizens’ daily concerns. Right? Well… no, think again.
In fact, as you are reading this, over 100 NGOs across Europe are simultaneously launching a campaign to mobilise the population in defence of the rules that protect nature, the Birds and Habitats Directives
From Lisbon to Tallin, from Athens to London, to Paris, Berlin, Brussels, The Hague and all the way back south to Rome and Valletta, the environmental community will send the public and media a clear message: a very serious threat is coming from Commission President Jean Claude Juncker.
The first consequence (the first miracle!) of his declared intentions is probably not what he had in mind: a uniting of the varied and diverse community of Europeans who care about nature. Like the alarm bells calling farmers from the fields in old rural communities, Juncker’s plan to “merge and overhaul” the Directives has scared and set in motion the defenders of nature across the continent.
And even if this “initial push” comes from 4 large international networks of grassroot NGOs (BirdLife, the EEB, Friends of the Earth and WWF), one can be assured that more will join the battle. It’s just a matter of time before civil society, from the Vegan club in Stockholm to the eco-tourism associations, animal welfare groups, parents associations and other groups in Europe realise that their forests, beaches and animals are in grave danger. Not to mention the many responsible businesses, corporates and entrepreneurs that stand beside us (there is no economy on a dead planet, after all).
Then, there is the second miracle. In a time when bashing the European Union is so common and easy, in this (almost) decade of “austerity” and austerity-induced recession, in which European policy makers have managed to alienate citizens and have taken the “European dream” to a historical low point in popularity... there has been a rediscovery of the beauty of good European laws and good European policy-making. Because in fact, when taking an intimate look at the Nature Directives, one re-establishes a connection to something all citizens like: good governance.
You cannot shoot birds while they’re raising their chicks. You cannot chop down all trees. You cannot drain all peatlands, block all rivers, plow all grasslands and pour concrete over the little unpaved land that remains. European legislators agreed to these principles years ago. We love that Europe. We have, Goethe would say, an “elective affinity” with those politicians. That is why, even where Europe is quite unpopular today, EU-inspired nature protection is appreciated.
It’s a double miracle then and one, disarming, consideration: with all there is to do in Europe, why undo Nature laws that work?

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In this issue

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EU Policy news
Red herrings, Trojan horses and booby traps: debunking 5 myths and lies on the “need to overhaul” nature protection laws
Beneath a thin veil of “better regulation”, what is really happening is a concerted attack on nature conservation. Any reopening of the Birds and Habitats Directives would damage conservation. Anyone saying the opposite is either tragically naïve, or in seriously bad faith. By Ariel Brunner
Four good reasons to defend the Nature Directives
By the time the 1970s hit Europe, one had to go to remote corners to be surrounded by nature and see spectacular wildlife such as eagles, pelicans and large mammals. Centuries of persecution and habitat loss had taken its toll. But over the last decades the landscape has changed dramatically and species that were low in number are coming back. Why? The Birds and Habitats Directives. By Wouter langhout
BirdLife launches #itsmynature campaign
Today we launch our campaign, “It’s my nature” (#itsmynature). We have chosen this motto for a million reasons. Here are just three.
The challenge of bringing marine wildlife back in EU waters
Member States urgently need to implement the marine Natura 2000 network and underpin it with concrete measures that will give our seabirds a fighting chance against the growing threats they face at sea. By Bruna Campos
WATCH: Nature is under attack - #itsmynature
Nature is under attack - #NatureAlert
Partnership news from Europe and Central Asia

Show that you care: support your favourite nature sites!

Every day, many nature places are being degraded, deteriorated and destroyed across Europe, including some of the most iconic sites. Send in your “gesture for nature” to show that you care about Europe’s richest nature sites and to tell EU decision makers that you want to protect wildlife and natural spaces. Read more...

BirdLife Partners await your support for the Natura 2000 Award

May 21st is Natura 2000 Day, celebrating Europe’s largest network of nature areas protected by EU law. To mark the occasion, the European Commission is holding an awards ceremony in Brussels to praise best practices in nature conservation in Europe. A new addition to the event is the European Citizens’ Award, and until May 6th, EU citizens can vote online for their favourite project to decide the winner. Read more...

Hungary’s nature is in peril

Hungary is about to approve a law that will transfer land management rights from nature conservation organizations to a central Land Agency which has economic rather than conservation interests. If approved the new legislation is likely to damage centuries of nature conservation traditions and practices. Read more...

Romanian hunting law threatens wild birds and violates the Birds Directive

Romania is about to approve a law that will allow spring hunting and trespassing on private property. The legislation would clearly violate the Birds and Habitats Directives, but it also poses some serious implications for Romanian citizens. BirdLife Romania and other NGOs are on a mission to stop this. Read more...

Bird paradise in Montenegro now safe from developers

In a country where people flock to the seaside in waves in summer, it’s not surprising that developers had big dollar signs in their eyes when looking at the picturesque salt flats of Ulcinj Salina in Montenegro. Read more...

21 May 2015, Rome: Leaving is Living Conference on Illegal Killing of Birds, hosted by LIPU

3 - 5 June 2015, Brussels: Green Week 2015 Nature – our health, our wealth. Registration and further information

21 - 23 August, UK: This year’s theme is “Hope for migratory birds in the Eastern Mediterranean: action against illegal killing”. More details

January - June 2015: Latvian Presidency of the EU. Learn more about BirdLife Europe' s recommendations for a successful Presidency on our website

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