Crossing borders

Natura 2000 in the light of EU enlargement

Proceedings of an international workshop held in Dresden, 7 May 2004

Edited by Markus Leibenath, Sandra Rientjes, Gerd Lintz, Carsten Kolbe-Weber and Ulrich Walz

ECNC-European Centre for Nature Conservation and Leibniz Institute of Ecological and Regional Development, 2005

ISBN: 90-76762-20-1

There is no doubt that within Europe Natura 2000 is one of the strongest, if not the strongest, instruments for nature conservation. It ensures protection for a wide selection of habitats and species, the legal power behind it – the Birds and Habitats Directives – is strong, and the European Commission has shown that it is quite prepared to take Member States to Court if they do not meet their obligations under these Directives. Of course Natura 2000 is not perfect – nothing in life is. But its contribution to European nature conservation is great in that it gives governments no choice: protect nature, or else ….

The workshop on cross-border cooperation in establishing Natura 2000 organized jointly by the Leibniz Institute of Ecological and Regional Development and ECNC showed that there is a strong interest in the nature conservation world to move beyond the designation of sites – and to move beyond national borders. The proceedings of this workshop not only provide a good overview of the current state of thinking in this field, but also indicate directions for the way forward.

The workshop was attended by 70 participants from 8 countries. These proceedings try to find traces of the cooperative spirit and the sincere willingness to work together in Europe that was so noticeable during the workshop itself. 

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