The Special Protected Areas (SPA) are established in accordance with the EU Birds Directive.

Member States designate Special Protection Areas (SPAs) according to scientific criteria such as „1% of the population of listed vulnerable species“ or „wetlands of international importance for migratory waterfowl“.

While Member States may choose the most appropriate criteria, they must ensure that all the ‘most suitable territories’, both in number and surface area, are designated.

Site specific data are transmitted to the Commission using Standard Data Forms.

Based on the information provided by the Member States, the European Commission determines if the designated sites are sufficient to form a coherent network for the protection of these vulnerable and migratory species.

These sites then become an integral part of the Natura 2000 network.

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