Press Release – Looking back at the past 5 years with Commissioner Vella

Brussels, 23 May 2019 ‘We will be doing less, but we will be doing our work more effectively’, that was the promise of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, when he and his commissioners started their mandate. For the past 5 years, Karmenu Vella from Malta was the Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries. On 23 May, FACE had a constructive meeting with Commissioner Vella and his staff from DG Environment to look back at the past 5 years and how sustainable hunting can be promoted in the next 5 years.

With around 80% of environmental rules coming from Brussels, the EU is hugely important for Europe’s 7 million hunters. The cooperation between FACE and the European Commission is one of constructive dialogue. During the meeting, FACE reaffirmed its commitment to help to promote better implementation of the Birds and Habitats Directives and explained how these directives can work more effectively to promote sustainable hunting in Europe.

A major step from the Commission in the past 5 years is their commitment to implementing ‘Adaptive Harvest Management’, which entails international coordination for the conservation and sustainable use of species. This was one of the major demands of FACE during the past 5 years and we continue to stress the need for such processes to be properly structured and expert driven.

On the new European agriculture policy (CAP post-2020), Commissioner Vella agreed with FACE on the need for greater coherence between the CAP and the nature directives. FACE also welcomed the Commission’s new project on farmland bird’s habitat, which should help the recovery of small game populations.

On large carnivores, FACE referred to the need to develop an assessment procedure to correctly apply Article 19 of the Habitats Directive and to ensure greater flexibility in approaches to conserving and managing large carnivores. The Commissioner emphasised that, as set out in the EU Nature Action Plan, the priority is to make full use of the existing flexibility under EU legislation as well as the large number of supporting tools available at EU level such as funds for preventive measures and guidance on the legislation. FACE stressed the need to follow the European Parliament Resolution (November 2017) on the EU Action Plan for nature, people and the economy.

The current EU elections will play a very important role for the future of European hunting. FACE is looking forward to continue working constructively with the next Commission, and specifically with DG Environment, on the major topics for European hunters.

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