European Court of Auditors: Member States failed to use EU funds for nature protected areas | WWF

European Court of Auditors: Member States failed to use EU funds for nature protected areas

Posted on 21 February 2017
Valea Brazilor, Sit Natura 2000 ROSCI0092 Ignis
© Toomas Kokovkin
Brussels, Belgium - EU member states have not been managing their protected areas sufficiently well and failed to mobilise EU funds to support the management of the sites. This is the conclusion of a special report published today by the European Court of Auditors, the EU's independent external auditor of EU funds. WWF welcomes the findings of the report, further calling for stronger political action and better financing in line with its recent Preventing Paper Parks report.

The auditors visited 24 Natura 2000 protected areas, surveyed Member States and consulted with various stakeholders to examine whether the sites were appropriately managed, financed and monitored. Natura 2000 is the world’s largest network of protected sites, covering about one fifth of EU’s land and 6% of its seas. EU Member States have the legal obligation to effectively protect the designated sites and species under the EU Birds and Habitats Directives.

Andreas Baumüller – Head of Natural Resources at WWF European Policy Office said:

“This audit shows that EU Member States are failing to implement the EU Nature Directives properly. It also demonstrates that Member States are not making use of EU money that could be made available to invest in nature and that would also help create jobs in the countryside. It is a lost opportunity for both nature and people.  The Commission must soon publish a strong EU Action Plan to make sure that Member States fully use these existing opportunities to invest in nature!”

WWF welcomes the recommendations of the auditors to achieve the full implementation of the EU Nature Directives and improve accounting and investing in the Natura 2000 network.