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2000 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 225 E/189

The Commission is currently preparing, in co-operation with Member States nature authorities, a
document called ‘Interpretation guide to Article 6 of the Habitats Directive  92/43/EEC’. Its main
purpose will be to suggest a legal interpretation of terms and concepts used in this article. This document
will reflect only the views of the Commission and will not be of a binding nature. As soon as the
document is finalised, it will be available to all interested parties.

(1) OJ L 103, 25.4.1979.

(2000/C 225 E/211) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2666/99

by Francis Decourrière (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(12 January 2000)

Subject: Directive 92/43/EEC

With regard to the application of Annex III of Council Directive 92/43/EEC (1) of 21 May 1992, Stage 2,
paragraph 2(b) provides that the assessment of the Community importance of a site shall take account of
the ‘geographical situation of the site in relation to migration routes of species in Annex II and whether it
belongs to a continuous ecosystem situated on both sides of one or more internal Community frontiers’.

Socio-economic activities on either side of a frontier are sometimes completely different, since frontiers are
governed by national law. For example, hunting and fishing are lawful and traditional activities in France
in publicly-owned coastal land, whereas they do not exist on the other side of the frontier, in Belgium.

1. Since economic, social and cultural requirements and regional and local characteristics have to be
taken into account (Article 2 of the directive), how does the Commission intend to reconcile managing
these border sites of great ecological value (classified as nature reserves or biogenetic reserves), linked with
an Annex II species (Phoca vitulina), with such variations in activity?

2. Should these sites be managed by a single body?

3. Will these cross-border sites benefit from special conditions, particularly financial conditions, in the
introductory phase of Directive 92/43/EEC and in the context of its main application in 2004?

(1) OJ L 206, 22.7.1992, p. 7.

Answer given by Mrs Wallström on behalf of the Commission

(4 February 2000)

Site management is the responsibility of the Member States, under the terms of Article 6(1) of Council
Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora.
It is for each country to establish the conservation measures which correspond to the ecological
requirements of the Annex II species present on the sites. The Commission is involved in the selection of
sites but not their management.

The Directive does not provide that cross-border sites should be managed by a single body. Each Member
State and its neighbours must assess the degree of cooperation necessary to ensure that the Directive’s
objective is achieved.

Under Article 8 on the cofinancing of conservation measures for sites hosting priority habitats or species,
the Directive does not give priority to cross-border sites. However, several Community instruments enable
special attention to be given to these sites. The Commission encourages the Member States to use these
instruments for Natura 2000 cross-border site management.