The European Commission has requested Malta to bring its hunting legislation into line with EU rules on the conservation of wild birds. The case concerns Malta's decision to apply a derogation to the EU Birds Directive (2009/147/EC), allowing the live capture (i.e. trapping) of seven species of wild finches as from 2014. Member States may derogate from the requirement of strict protection only in the absence of other satisfactory solutions, and provided that the population of the species concerned is maintained at a satisfactory level. As these conditions are not met in this case, the Commission sent a letter of formal notice in October 2014, urging Malta to refrain from finch trapping. Malta went ahead with the derogation as planned and does not agree with the Commission's position, so the Commission is now sending a reasoned opinion. If Malta fails to act within two months, the case may be referred to the EU Court of Justice.
(For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: +32 229 56172)