Get out the vote: European elections 2024

There is a lot at stake for nature: this year's European elections (6 to 9 June) will set the course for nature and climate protection in the coming years. There is a threat of a shift to the right in the European Parliament, which is why strong voices for Europe's nature are needed!

We asked some of our project partners and other people close to EuroNatur from different EU countries what they think about the European Union. Here are their answers:

For me, the European Union means freedom, community of values and development that respects nature. It enables Member States to work together towards shared, ambitious and far-reaching goals that our governments would never have set for themselves. Thanks to the membership, we can finance the achievement of these goals. Most of the financial resources obtained by our NGO for nature projects implementation come from EU funds. The last eight years of Polish politics have also shown how crucial the support from EU institutions is when populist parties with authoritarian intentions come to power.

Poland Magda Galus, CEO Centrum Ochrony Mokradeł

The European Union (EU) represents a collaborative effort among nations, which, although challenging at times, ultimately proves to be beneficial for all involved. In my perspective, actively engaging in environmental protection initiatives and securing financial resources for some of them are very important. Numerous nature conservation projects, which lack sufficient funding from national sources, find support through EU funding.

Slovenia Rok Černe, Slovenia Forest Service

Whether nature conservation, species protection or animal welfare – the voting of MEPs in the expiring legislative period clearly shows that it is anything but irrelevant who represents us in the European Parliament. If we want nature conservation in the European Parliament, we have to vote it in! We have the opportunity to do so from the 6th to the 9th of June.

Austria Clemens Purtscher, EuroNatur translator of many years

The EU is important because it enables us to collectively raise common issues we have and work on solutions; we have done this for a long time to raise the bar in terms of living and working conditions, equality, and better safety guards. However, we cannot become complacent with this – right now, several crises in the world require action from the EU, and therefore action by us, the European people. If we do not let it be known what we want from the EU, other stakeholders will take over the agenda, and the EU will cease to work in favor of the collective.

Denmark Asta Sørensen, EuroNatur trainee

In the environmental sector, the European Union provides countries such as Spain, with its 17 autonomous regions, with a binding legal basis that transcends the numerous administrative and political borders. Each region has its own interests, which often makes nature conservation at regional level difficult. What I don't like so much is the lack of flexibility in legislation, which can make sense in some EU countries but can sometimes cause damage in others. One example is the EU regulation on the removal of animal carcasses from the wild. For southern European countries such as Spain with large populations of scavengers, the regulation was a disaster as they lost an important food source as a result.

Spain Roberto Hartasánchez, Honorary President of Fapas

Saving species from extinction and preserving the last natural habitats on our continent is one of the EU's greatest successes. The Habitats Directive (Nature Directives), i.e. the European network of protected areas Natura 2000 and the EU's LIFE Program, are the reason why lynxes and wolves are back across Europe. But nature conservation remains an unfinished business due to poor enforcement of laws. Powerful lobbies are constantly trying to overturn the regulation of nature conservation and we have to fight against this.

Croatia Ira Topličanec, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine Zagreb

I am very grateful to be able to move freely between EU countries. For me as a musician, it's good to know how easy it is to give concerts in one country or another. Precisely because peace is currently under threat, I keep reminding myself of the past and the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012 to us 500 million EU citizens. If this value of creating peace is at the forefront, then we can overcome all challenges.

France Bérengère Le Boulair, Violinist and supporter of EuroNatur
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