Wednesday

24th Apr 2019

EU court suspends seal ban, surprising Brussels

  • An anti-seal hunt protesters' mascot in Strasbourg: Inuit sealers appear to have won an injunction against the EU ban (Photo: EUobserver)

The European General Court has ordered a suspension of the EU's seal product ban just as the regulation was due to enter into force.

According to an order of the court obtained by the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, a Canadian Inuit organisation, and published on their website late on Thursday (19 August), the EU's lower court said it is to "suspend application of [the regulation] until the General Court has rendered judgement."

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The injunction was requested by the Inuit while a group of Canadian and Greenlandic Inuit organisations pursued a case against Brussels over last year's passage of a ban on seal products that was set to enter into force on Friday.

The lawsuit was launched alongside efforts by the Canadian government to have the law struck down by the World Trade Organisation in Geneva.

"In our view, the seal ban is both illegal and immoral. Although we are not sure what future action the EU Court will take in this case, I welcome the current decision by the Court to stop the implementation of the ban as scheduled," said Mary Simon, the ITK national leader.

"I can only hope that the EU Court will determine that the ban and its so-called Inuit exemption are illegal. That would be a fitting conclusion to this totally unjustified action."

However, confusing the issue, the court has yet to issue notification of the suspension, while the document posted on the ITK site is dated 19 August.

Additionally, contradicting the ITK statement, European Commission environment spokeswoman Maria Kokkonen told EUobserver that the regulation will enter in to force on Friday as expected.

The commission was surprised at the development, with officials saying they would have to check to confirm the court ruling.

The EU law provides an exception for Inuit seal products, but the groups maintain that when the market for seal products collapses, it collapses for them too.

In April this year ahead of the ban being implemented, most Canadian sealers stayed at home as they had been unable to find buyers for their product, while almost all of the country's seal processing firms were closed.

EU court upholds seal fur ban

The EU ban on seal fur will remain intact after the bloc's highest court threw out a legal challenge by the Canadian Inuit and the country's fur trade.

News in Brief

  1. Political deadlock looms at Sunday's Spanish election
  2. Le Pen in Copenhagen for talks with new key ally
  3. Trump to meet May and Macron on Europe visit in June
  4. Johnson's sister to run in EU elections on new list
  5. Weber pledges to 'block' Nord Stream 2 as president
  6. UK warns migrants not to cross 'dangerous' Channel
  7. Austria's FPO publishes racist poem
  8. Spanish party leaders spar over Catalonia

Feature

Romania enlists priests to promote euro switchover plan

Romania is due to join the single currency in 2024 - despite currently only meeting one of the four criteria. Now the government in Bucharest is enlisting an unlikely ally to promote the euro to the public: the clergy.

Trump and Kurz: not best friends, after all

The visit of Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz to the White House on Wednesday showed that the current rift in transatlantic relations is deepening by the day.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Weber vow to block Nord Stream 2 amid 'sue' threat
  2. 'Next Juncker' must fix EU's corporate power problem
  3. EU want Facebook pan-EU advert fix for May elections
  4. Ukraine comic-president invited to EU capitals
  5. Trump's Israel plan to 'test' EU resolve
  6. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  7. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom
  8. EU drafts $20bn US sanctions list in aviation dispute

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us