Monday

20th May 2019

Maltese hunters see red over EU bird ban proposal

  • The hunting lobby in Malta is very strong (Photo: EUobserver)

The European Parliament's petitions committee has adopted a report backing banning bird hunting in Malta during the spring season, attracting vitriol from the small state's big hunting lobby.

"The current derogation should not be renewed," MEPs said, after visiting the Maltese islands for two days in May on surprise inspections and seeing evidence of mass bird carnage, including of endangered species.

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

Malta obtained a holiday or "derogation" from EU law against spring-time hunting during its EU accession talks, getting a break until 2008 on seven species of finch. The derogation is based on the EU's 1979 "bird directive."

"There is too much circumstantial evidence of its abuse. Further derogations would lift the lid on spring hunting in other Mediterranean islands...and the price would be the likely extinction of many migratory bird species," the report added.

The European Parliament will debate the move in plenary later this year, but with about 18,000 licensed hunters in Malta, the hunting lobby makes up 5 percent of the small Mediterranean state's population and carries much clout.

The Council of the Federation for Hunting and Conservation in Malta - the FKNK - did not mice its words, saying "The committee's report seems to be full of misconceptions and insults and is totally discriminatory."

"What is necessary is a 'field hands-on fact-finding mission' and a considerable period of time, where true field experts can spend a lot of time with local hunters and trappers," the FKNK's chief Lino Farrugia added.

"Then, and only then, can a factual report be submitted anywhere, and, to anyone."

Meanwhile, Maltese wildlife charities welcomed the EU-level support, with BirdLife Malta president Joseph Mangion stating "this is in the interest of the Maltese public...[Malta] has knowingly and persistently infringed community legislation."

BirdLife Malta says Maltese hunters kill 1.5 million birds a year and that most Maltese people want to see the practice curbed, but the FKNK says the BirdLife figures are lies, using militant language in the Maltese press.

"BirdLife and co will feel the full weight of the wrath of FKNK and Maltese hunters and trappers," Mr Farrugia told The Times of Malta on Monday (10 July), adding that the anti-hunt group would have to step "over a lot of dead bodies" to succeed.

Last month the European Commission started a legal infringement procedure against the Maltese government over the spring hunting of two species of quails and turtle doves, which are not covered by the derogation.

Europol busts global cybercrime gang

A loose network of cyber criminals recruited from an online Russian forum managed to infect thousands of computers in an effort to steal online banking credentials. The gang has been dismantled, with some now on the run.

Stalling on VAT reform costing billions, says Commission

German media outlet Correctiv, along with other newsrooms, have revealed how criminals annually cheat EU states out of billions in VAT fraud. The EU Commission says solutions exist - but member states refuse to budge on tax unanimity.

EU justice 'barometer' hindered by data gaps

Some member states continue to impede the European Commission's annual attempt to define the state of Europe's justice system, by not providing data on their national situations.

News in Brief

  1. EU flies rainbow flag on anti-homophobia day
  2. EU to freeze money and visas of foreign cyber-attackers
  3. EU reassures US on arms sales
  4. Use euros over dollars in energy contracts, France says
  5. UK cross-party Brexit talks collapse
  6. Climate activists occupy German-Russian gas pipeline
  7. Farage got €515,000 of private perks
  8. French EU commissioner urges Italy not to overspend

Opinion

A fundamental contradiction in EU drug policy

The knock-on affects from a 'war on drugs' in Europe is creating problems in Albania - and as far afield as Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Bangladesh and the Philippines.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  3. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  4. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  5. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  6. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  11. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  12. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us