This chapter discusses the gradual movement in the period 1980–1987 towards the development of a broad-based nature conservation directive at EEC level extending beyond bird conservation to cover other groups and habitats.

Topics addressed include: clear plans within the European Commission as early as 1980 to develop what would later become the Habitats Directive; the relationship between the EEC’s nature policy/law and the Council of Europe’s Bern Convention (1979); the role of the European Parliament, including MEPs Stanley Johnson and Hemmo Muntingh, from 1979–1984; the significance of the first major treaty revision in the form of the Single European Act (1986); legal actions taken by the European Commission during the 1980s in respect of the Birds Directive, including a significant case in respect of Duich Moss on the Isle of Islay in Scotland; the importance of financing for nature conservation at EEC level, and Member State resistance to extending the availability of EEC financing beyond bird conservation; Stanley Johnson’s return to the European Commission in 1984; and the significance and role of the European Commission’s CORINE (Coordination of Information on the Environment) programme.