The study on the costs and benefits of Natura 2000 undertaken by IEEP and partners was designed to support the European Commission in obtaining an accurate estimate of the costs of managing the network compared to its benefits. Building on the results of an extensive consultation process, the annual costs of implementing the Natura 2000 network were estimated at €5.8 billion per year for the EU-27.
Indicative information on the current level of support from the present EU budget indicates that these financial requirements are around four times higher than the likely annual contribution to biodiversity for the current financing period. On the other hand, a number of examples presented in the study demonstrate that the socio-economic benefits associated with Natura 2000 (e.g. tourism and recreation, water quality and flood control) can be by far larger than the associated costs, re-iterating so the importance of investing in the network and highlighting potential cost-savings.