CoR - Celebrating nature protection: 21st May is the "European Natura 2000 Day"
(...) Natura 2000 is the largest coordinated network of protected areas in the world. It covers 18 % of the EU’s land area and almost 6 % of its marine territory and contributes between 1.7% and 2.5% of EU GDP through the provision of ecosystem services such as carbon storage, water purification, pollination and tourism. Natura 2000 was created 25 years ago through the Nature Directives which include the EU Birds and Habitats Directives . The Nature Directives are the cornerstone of Europe’s legislation on nature conservation, protecting around 2,000 of Europe’s most vulnerable species and habitats. While the cost of implementing Natura 2000 has been estimated at EUR 5.8 billion per year, its annual benefits are assessed at EUR 200-300 billion. (...)