By encouraging dialogue between stakeholders in the frame of the Large Carnivores Platform while at the same time pursuing an infringement procedure against a Member State with a wolf population in favourable status, the European Commission is assuming a contradictory and ambiguous policy on large carnivore management, creating at the same time the cause and the solution to the conflict. Five years after initiating an infringement procedure against Sweden, the European Commission has sent yet another reasoned opinion about how the wolf population is being managed. The Commission suggests that the ‘local’ wolf population has not yet reached favourable conservation status (FCS), despite the fact that the legal obligation is FCS at Member State level, which has been reached in Sweden according to the results recently published on the Habitats Directive.
Why FACE supports the Birds and Habitats Directives. FACE remains fully committed to the support of both the Birds and Habitats Directives, which has been demonstrated by its engagement in stakeholders Agreements under European Commission initiatives. It calls upon the EU institutions and Member States to join this support and recognise the valuable role of hunting in meeting the objectives of the Nature Directives. As a stakeholder taking part to the consultations in the frame of the Fitness Check of EU Nature Legislation FACE states that the Directives are very appropriate to sustain the strategic objectives for protecting nature in the EU. FACE calls on the EU for more recognition of hunters in their role in delivering environmental objectives. This was highlighted at the conference marking 35 years of the Birds Directive and 10 years of the BirdLife-FACE Agreement, which was held in September 2014 . Equally FACE calls for greater understanding of the importance of hunting for 7 million Europeans, and that their role in delivering the strategic objectives of the directives is better recognised.
FACE is organizing a European conference on wolf management to be held by the “Biodiversity, Hunting, Countryside” Intergroup at the European Parliament in Brussels on September 15th, 2015. Wolves are making their comeback to the European landscape. While the increase of the European wolf population is certainly a success story due to the good implementation of the Habitats Directive, the presence of this large carnivore raises new challenges in places where it had not been sighted for almost a century and asks for solutions to the growing number of conflicts it is causing. Hailed by some and feared by others wolves are contributing to a heated debate between those whose livelihoods are affected by wolves, those who welcome them and policy makers involved in the governance of their populations. Against this backdrop the Intergroup on “Biodiversity, Hunting, Countryside” of the European Parliament will organize a conference on September 15th 2015 on the Return of the Wolf to the European Landscape: Challenges and solutions.