P     
make up the Natura 2000 network. With the spirit of integration in mind, it indicates the various tasks
involved so that the nature conservation interests of the sites can be safeguarded.
This document aims at providing guidelines to the Member States on the interpretation of certain key
In the framework of the Action Plan for nature, people and the economy1, the Commission has
committed to ‘update the interpretative guidance document on provisions of Article 6 of the Habitats
Directive on the conservation and management of Natura 2000’. This document replaces therefore the
original version of this document that was issued in April 20002.
The present update incorporates the large body of rulings that have been issued by the Court of
JusticeoftheEUovertheyearsonArticle63. It also builds on a series of Commission notes addressing
Natura2000management,as wellasotherrelevantCommissionguidancedocumentsonArticle6
that should be read in conjunction with this one4.
The primary targets of the document are Member State authorities. It is however expected to also
facilitate the understanding of the mechanics of the Habitats Directive amongst anyone involved in the
The document has been draed following consultations with the nature protection authorities of
the Member States and stakeholders. It is intended to assist Member State authorities, as well as
application of the Habitat Directive. Only the Court of Justice of the European Union is competent to
authoritatively interpret Union law.
The interpretations provided by the Commission cannot go beyond the Directive. This is particularly true
for this directive as it enshrines the subsidiarity principle and as such lets a large margin of manoeuvre
to the Member States for the practical implementation of specif‌ic measures related to the various sites
of the Natura 2000 network. In any case, the Member States are free to choose the appropriate way
they wish to implement the practical measures provided the latter achieve the results of the Directive.
However interpretative, this document is not intended to give absolute answers to site specif‌ic questions.
Such matters should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, while bearing in mind the orientations
provided in this document.
4 Commission notes on designation of SACs, setting of conservation objectives for Natura 2000 sites, establishing conservation measures for

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