Directives of the European Union

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Environmental policy instruments important for the establishment of protected areas in Europe.

Directives of the European Union

Directive 79/409/EEC on the conservation of wild birds (Birds Directive) *


The Birds Directive is the EU's oldest piece of nature legislation and one of the most important, creating a comprehensive scheme of protection for all wild bird species naturally occurring in the Union. Following numerous updates over the years, the codified version was published in 2009 (Directive 2009/147/EC).

Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (Habitats Directive) *


The Habitats Directive forms the cornerstone of Europe's nature conservation policy. It is built around two elements: the Natura 2000 network of protected sites and the strict system of species protection.

Directive 2008/56/EC establishing a framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy *


The Marine Strategy Framework Directive identifies spatial protection measures as a tool for achieving good environmental status.

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Note: * Instruments marked with an asterisk lead to a specific designation of protected areas.

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European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Phone: +45 3336 7100