Today, Commissioner Karmenu Vella, Adina-Ioana Valean, Chairwoman of the European Parliament's Environment Committee, Karl-Heinz Lambertz, First Vice-President of the Committee of the Regions and Neil Kerr, Deputy Permanent Representative of Malta signed a joint declaration proclaiming 21 May as the European Natura 2000 Day.
Commissioner Karmenu Vella said: "With the European Natura 2000 Day we pay tribute to this unique network and its value for people and our economy. For me it is one of the European Union's truly outstanding achievements: a network of over 27,000 protected sites, covering over 1 million square kilometres across the land and sea, made possible through the co-operation among all our Member States". With the proclamation of the European Natura 2000 Day, the Commission has fulfilled its first pledge from the recent Action Plan for nature, people and the economy with the aim to improve communication and outreach, engaging citizens, stakeholders and communities. Already this year, hundreds of local events and networking activities across Europe will mark the day. Today also saw the launch of the next round of the European Natura 2000 Award.
This is another Commission initiative dedicated to rewarding excellence in the management and promotion of the network and raising awareness about Natura 2000 and its benefits to European citizens. More information is available here.